Today's Classical Music Video

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ivan Fischer Conducts Schubert

Ivan Fischer is a conductor who spends most of his time with the orchestra he created, the Budapest Festival Orchestra. And together they have produced scores of memorable concerts and recordings. But Fischer is also active as a guest conductor. He is generally a welcome guest wherever he goes because he always brings fresh ideas. In this video he conducts the Berlin Philharmonic - or a reduced version thereof - in the first movement of Schubert's Symphony No. 5. The performance is full of beauty and charm but perhaps its most interesting feature is the way he has seated the orchestra. In the traditional orchestral seating arrangement the strings are in front and the winds and brass behind. Not so here. The wind players - one flute, two oboes and two bassoons - are seated in a semi-circle right in front of the conductor. Why? Because even with a reduced string section it is often difficult for the winds to be heard when they are seated in their usual places. Stokowski did this sort of re-seating all the time in order to get the best possible balances in his orchestra. Would that more conductors had his imagination. Fortunately, in our own time we have Ivan Fischer and a handful of other conductors willing to experiment with ways to serve the composer better.

 Paul E. Robinson

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