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“Iván Fischer and his Hungarian band join the most august company in this wonderful repertoire.
As both sets of dances amply demonstrate, Fischer's Budapest Festival Orchestra is no less virtuosic than Ormandy's dazzling Philadelphians or Ferenc Fricsay's exemplary Berlin RSO, and its impassioned playing melds an earthy physicality, tangy exuberance and improvisatory flair to consistently telling effect. Add to the mix Fischer's wittily observant direction (an abundance of affectionate rubato in the opening section of the Marosszék Dances especially, allied to a generous quotient of 'gypsy' slides from the strings elsewhere), and the results are irresistible.
Similarly, their Háry János Suite is immensely engaging. After a spectacularly good introductory 'sneeze', Fischer sees to it that Kodály's great arcs of melody are truly espressivocantabile as marked. Napoleon's battlefield antics are hilariously depicted (splendidly bolshy trombones), while Fischer's thrusting 'Intermezzo' has joyous swagger. Moreover, for all the giddy festivities of the brassy 'Entrance of the Emperor and his Court', Fischer still manages to extract plenty of ear-burning detail. Five miniatures from the original Singspiel are also included, programmed separately from the suite; in 'The two gypsies' Fischer shares fiddling duties with Gábor Takács-Nagy. Last but not least we get three choral offerings from 1925-9, which are delivered with captivating freshness and charm by the two admirable children's choirs here.
A peach of an issue, complemented by an irrepressibly vivid recording.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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A Treasury of Gypsy Inspired Music
Anthony Goldstone (piano)
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