Home listening: Bruckner, Mahler and Schubert

New releases from Robin Ticciati and his Berlin band, Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, plus Roderick Williams’s travels with Schubert

Bruckner’s Symphony No 6 in A major has always been an outsider: surprising and boldly melodic, less freighted with the editorial complexities (and popularity) of the Fourth, the contrapuntal knottiness of the Fifth, or the massive ambitions of the Eight and Ninth. Robin Ticciati has tackled this core German Romantic work with his new (since 2017) ensemble, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, each player lovingly listed in the Linn CD booklet.

On this evidence, they have already forged a bond. The performance is transparent, expressive and, considering the composer, light-footed, with exhilarating, clean-edged brass and tightly rhythmic strings in the first movement. The sumptuously melodic slow movement unfolds with grandeur and introspection, before the short, intense scherzo. The majestic finale progresses with powerful momentum but no undue pressure or urgency.

Watch a trailer for Bruckner 6.

• Bruckner never heard the symphony complete. Mahler conducted the premiere of the work in its entirety in 1899, nearly three years after Bruckner’s death. In Mahler’s case it’s his Seventh Symphony, premiered in Prague in 1908, that has the odd-man-out reputation. Iván Fischer, conducting his Budapest Festival Orchestra (Channel Classics), is an eloquent champion, celebrating the work’s eclecticism – cow bells, courtly dances, folk song – in a blaze of aural invention. His players, as ever, are lithe, spirited, virtuosic. Watch the documentary Fischer made with the BFO to get a sense of his commitment to every nuance and accent, and to the multiplicity of styles found in this expansive work.

Watch Iván Fischer and the BFO recording Mahler’s 7th

• Having spent the past three years performing Schubert’s song cycles (Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang), the baritone Roderick Williams describes his discoveries, the reactions of audiences and how it feels to sing this music, both in German and in English. Roderick Williams: Three Years With Schubert continues tonight on Radio 3, 11pm, then on BBC Sounds.

Contributor

Fiona Maddocks

The GuardianTramp

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