ADAM FISCHER about MAHLER
(from his remarks in the booklet)
“I am delighted to perform and record the complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker. The result, we hope, should be something special: a rendition that stems from an active collaboration in which we mutually inspire one another. This should not be “my” Mahler, but “our” Mahler……..
Gustav Mahler premiered his First Symphony at the age of 29. For personal reasons I feel a close bond with that 29-year-old Musical Director of the Hungarian State Opera. 120 years later, I was named General Music Director of the same opera house. We both hastily abandoned the institution after 2 1/2 years. I would still like to relate a personal reminiscence of one of the performances of “my” First Symphony. The First Symphony was the first occasion I ever heard music by Mahler live on stage: in Vienna when I was nineteen years old, and the experience marked me for life.
At the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Adam Fischer was appointed Principal Conductor of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker and Artistic Consultant of the Düsseldorf Tonhalle. He is also Honorary Conductor of the Austrian-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, founder of the Eisenstadt Haydn Festival, and founder and director of the Wagner Festival in Budapest. Well-known for his courageous political commitment, Adam Fischer has spoken out often in favor of human rights. Together with András Schiff he initiated and signed a petition against racism and discrimination, which they submitted to the European Union.
Born in 1949 in Budapest, Adam Fischer studied composition and conducting in the Hungarian capital, and with professor Hans Swarowsky in Vienna.
After appointments as Kapellmeister in Helsinki, in Karlsruhe and at Munich State Opera, Fischer held the post of General Music Director successively at the opera houses of Freiburg, Kassel and Mannheim, and was also Music Director of Hungarian State Opera in Budapest. Since 1999 he has been Chief Conductor of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra in Copenhagen. Regular engagements have led Adam Fischer to perform in the great opera houses of Europe and the US, including Vienna, Milan, Munich, Covent Garden, the New York Met and Bayreuth Festival. In orchestra appearances he also conducts the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, the Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the London Philharmonic (LPO), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Chicago and Boston Symphonies and the NHK Symphony in Tokyo.
Fischer’s award-winning CD releases include the complete symphonic works of Haydn (distinguished with the German national prize “Echo Klassik”) as well as of Mozart. He has also been awarded the Grand Prix du Disque twice: for his recordings of Die Königin von Saba (Goldmark) and of Bluebeard’s Castle (Bartók). In 2017, Adam Fischer was named Honorary Member of Vienna State Opera.
“An orchestra for Düsseldorf”: that is the objective and the high standard that the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker set for themselves – 250 times a year. This orchestra has an uncommon profile, since it performs not only in the Tonhalle, but also for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and in Duisburg. On its regular tours to Holland, Austria, China and Japan, the orchestra carries Düsseldorf’s reputation as a city of culture out into the world.
Already in the 1700’s, internationally celebrated artists such as Handel and Corelli collaborated on occasion with the “Düsseldorf Court Orchestra” until the court was dissolved. A century later, in 1818, orchestral culture was re-introduced into Düsseldorf when the Municipal Music Society (Städtischer Musikverein) was founded, attracting celebrated musicians of the likes of Mendelssohn and Schumann to serve as conductors. The orchestra became truly “municipal” in 1864, and after Aachen it is thus the second oldest civic orchestra in Germany. Throughout the following decades it became one of the leading and largest orchestras in the country. Its conductors in the postwar era have been Heinrich Hollreiser, Eugen Szenkar, Jean Martinon, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Henryk Czyz, Willem van Otterloo, Bernhard Klee, David Shallon, Salvador Mas Conde, John Fiore and Andrey Boreyko. Starting in the 2015 season, Adam Fischer has taken up the post of Principal Conductor. The orchestra went on tour to Spain in 2011, guested at the Beethoven Easter Festival in Warsaw in 2012, and enjoyed resounding success in Moscow that same year. In 2014, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker gave a superb début performance at the Musikverein in Vienna, and were likewise well-received at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In May 2015 they made nine acclaimed appearances in Tokyo.
During his own time, Gustav Mahler was considered as one of the major conductors of Europe, but nowadays he is considered to a major composer who bridged the Late Romantic period to the modern age.
Few composers are so connected with the symphonic repertory as Gustav Mahler. Composing symphonies was his "core business": in every aspect he developed the symphony towards, and sometimes even over, its absolute limits. Almost all of Mahler's symphonies are lenghty, demand a large orchestra and are particularly great in their expressive qualities. With rustic and mythical atmospheres (the start of the First Symphony), daunting chaos (the end of his Sixth), grand visions (end of his Second), cheerful melodies (opening Fourth), romantic melancholy (the famous adagio of his Fifth), evocations of nature (his Third), megalomanic eruptions in the orchestra (his Eighth), and the clamant atonality of his unfinished Tenth, Mahler's musical palette seemed inexhaustible.
His symphonies are captivating, but some could find it a bit 'over the top' at times. For those, his orchestral songs could undoubtedly show there is an incredibly subtle and refined side to his compositional style as well.
In the Netherlands, Mahler is particularly popular due to its close bond with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which was already established during his lifetime!