Fischer’s Micro-Managed Mendelssohn

Review by: David Hurwitz


Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 9

Iván Fischer seems to have caught a severe case of Micro-Managitus, not that we couldn’t see it coming. The symptoms are evident in the Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture: the oddly slow tempo to be able to “expressively” shape passagework designed to flit by as swiftly as possible; the super duper pianissimos; the affected and cutesy violin slides for the “heehaw” motive in the closing theme’s rustic dance–so it goes. The result sucks both the energy and fantasy out of the music and replaces it with generic “special effects.” It’s depressing.

After the overture the remainder of the incidental music goes well enough, although the scherzo has no special dazzle, and the Wedding March little feeling of celebration. When the conductor insists on exercising this kind of control over his ensemble, the first quality to vanish is usually joy. The program concludes with three attractive Fanny Mendelssohn songs quite beautifully sung by soprano Anna Lucia Richter, although the name of the orchestral arranger isn’t given. There’s no point in wasting time here: Fischer needs to take a good, hard look at himself and snap out of it.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: A Midsummer Night's Dream: Ozawa (DG)

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