Unusually, Fischer keeps the leash tight during the white-knuckle first movement, husbanding his forces for the work’s later stages. But there are enough hints of the power they can unleash to keep you on the edge of your seat. At the same time, he reveals textures and details usually submerged.
The result is a performance that builds to an awesome climax, while looking deep into the work’s spiritual heart. You might compare it to Giulini’s famous rethink of Verdi’s Requiem. But for those who like their Mahler Two to blow them out of their seats, fear not: this Budapest band have reserves aplenty, and the cumulative effect is overwhelming.
Classical CD of the month
Name Mahler Symphony No 2, Resurrection
Composer Gustav Mahler
Artists Lisa Milne (soprano), Birgit Remmert (alto), Hungarian Radio Choir, Budapest Festival Orchestra / Iván Fischer
Label Channel Classics
James Inverne is editor of Gramophone