The Budapest Festival Orchestra toured the iconic concert venues of Europe with the greatest of their generation, András Schiff and Zoltán Fejérvári. The one-week tour concluded with two concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna. To accommodate the overwhelming demand, spectators were even seated on the stage.The audience was left “completely stunned” when the BFO’s musicians, in an unprecedented moment, laid down their instruments and began to sing.
Last week, the Budapest Festival Orchestra toured the most prominent concert venues in Frankfurt, Munich, Baden-Baden, Warsaw and Vienna with a Beethoven-Dvořák programme, part of which was previously performed in November at Müpa Budapest.
A reviewer from the Frankfurter Rundschau admired the freedom and innovation of the performance at the Alte Oper, saying, “Overall, the concert gave the impression that the musicians had been freed from their chains, presenting the audience with an unfamiliar but exquisite experience. […] András Schiff’s exemplary performance moulded the multitude of sounds into a unity rich in meaning”.
“The classical music industry can still manage to surprise us after all - tonight’s concert was simply glorious,” wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung after the Festival Orchestra’s concert in Munich. The review described members of the orchestra as “inspiring ambassadors of the joy of music”, and the sound as bright, clear and silvery, adding that “The blend was a magnificent and delicate fabric.” The review called the unique feat - in which the Festival Orchestra’s musicians laid down their instruments and started to sing - a “complete stunner”.
It’s no accident that the review in Die Presse opened with the line, “Whoever wants to play in Iván Fischer’s orchestra needs to be able to sing”. Schiff’s unflagging enthusiasm, his incredible technique and virtuosity, and the power and vibrancy of the orchestra’s performance also earned much praise. The Wiener Zeitung extolled the originality, musical tenderness and subtlety of the orchestra’s performance, while the Badische Zeitung highlighted the “appealing and sweet string sounds” and “powerful momentum” of the orchestra’s concert in Baden-Baden, and described Schiff’s playing as “sensitive and poetic, natural and deep at the same time”.
Warsaw has now hosted its first Eufonie Festival, the closing concert of which was given by the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Zoltán Fejérvári as soloist, rivalling the success of András Schiff. After the concert, the local press featured an article entitled, “The Hungarians have reinvigorated us”. According to the article, “the concert made the temperature rise in the concert hall”.
Budapest audiences will have the chance to see the Budapest Festival Orchestra in four different concerts in December this year. On 8 and 9 December, Gérard Korsten will lead the BFO in a concert at Müpa Budapest featuring Academy Award-winning film music. On 14 and 15 December, the orchestra will provide the spirit of Advent with an Italian Baroque concert at the Liszt Academy. They will treat their audience to mulled wine and hot chocolate after their chamber music concert on 16 December, and finish the year with a sold-out Christmas concert at the Budapest Congress Centre. This concert will also be a celebration of the orchestra’s 35th anniversary.