BBC Music Magazine : 2019-04-17

Bbc Music Magazine Awards : 29 : 31

Bbc Music Magazine Awards

BBC Music Magazine Awards pragmatic rather than artistic reasons that the Düsseldorf ensemble, resident in the city’s Tonhalle and the Deutsche Opera am Rhein, started to play these late-romantic masterpiec­es. ‘Seventy per cent of this orchestra’s job is in the opera house, so in concert they need real challenges,’ explains Fischer. ‘If you play Mahler, you also play Rossini better the next night. We realised after the first concerts that the orchestra has a special approach to Mahler. We had much bigger success than I expected.’ So what are the secrets of successful Mahler? ‘You have to understand the music and make it your own. You should not play a note because it’s written in the score but because you feel it has to be,’ says Fischer. ‘It’s easy to talk about but not easy to do. There are parts of the First Symphony which I did for years and I didn’t exactly know why and then suddenly I understood the feeling. If you feel the emotions – fear, jealousy or joy – they are mankind’s simplest feelings. If you play Mahler just because you like to have large orchestral forces, it’s a crime. I want to discover the chamber music in Mahler. ★is symphonies are like the string quartets of Schubert.’ It helps, no doubt, that Fischer has long felt a personal connection to Mahler. One of his father’s teachers was an orchestral musician for Mahler himself, while Fischer has held posts in some of the same places as the conductor-composer. ‘In Kassel, where he wrote his Songs of a Wayfarer,i walked under the same trees,’ he says. ‘And then I became opera director in Budapest like he did, and like him I’ve worked with the Vienna Staatsoper and the Metropolit­an Opera. In all these cities, I’ve looked for Mahler. ★e was one of the greatest ever conductors, and that’s what interests me most.’ ‘I want to discover the chamber music in Mahler’

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