The music of his Hungarian countryman Béla Bartók is very close to Iván Fischer’s heart. Just before Christmas in 2017, he conducted two of the composer’s early works with the Berliner Philharmoniker: the Hungarian Peasant Songs for choir and orchestra and his First Violin Concerto. In addition, Fischer himself constructed a suite of excerpts from the incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn. In this interview with the Philharmoniker’s principal flute Emmanuel Pahud, Fischer talks about the almost incomprehensible ease with which Mendelssohn was able to compose. He also discusses Bartók’s conviction that the folk music of a country becomes richer and more complex through encounters with other cultures.