Another triumphant success for director Joseph Swensen and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Under Swensen's powerful command the orchestra gives a fantastically spirited performance: a thoroughly appealing disc
Ivan Fischer’s latest Budapest Festival bull’s-eye realizes the full breadth of Liszt’s vision, focusing to near-perfection Faust’s anguish (starting with the Allegro impetuoso at 2'28''), Gretchen’s tender modulations (try from 3'38'' on track 2) and the cynical thematic transformations that keep Mephistopheles alive and kicking. It is, above all, a profoundly authentic – or should I say authentically ‘lived’ – production, consistently animated (lightning shifts from piano to forte and back again are meticulously gauged), vividly recorded (note the tuba’s presence at 3'06'' into track 1) and with heavily scored tutti passages granted maximum impact…
For me, Fischer’s Faust Symphony is a clear front runner – more spontaneous than Rattle’s, more agile than Bernstein’s and better focused than Sinopoli’s.
Reviewed: Gramophone 4/1998