Iván Fischer, the Budapest Festival Orchestra and András Schiff are wrapping up a key tour, taking them around Europe. As a resident orchestra, the BFO gave two concerts at the Barbican Centre, London and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; they filled the legendary Musikverein in Vienna twice, and also performed in Baden-Baden. Local media spoke of the orchestra’s brilliance, a “triumphant parade” of Europe and flawless performances; The Times even said “Heaven’s gates opened” for the BFO.
“If we hear better Beethoven playing during the next year, we will be very lucky indeed,” commented The Guardian following the concerts of the Budapest Festival Orchestra in London, adding that pianist András Schiff’s performance was filled with “surprises and delights.” The critic also noted that Dvořák’s symphonies were presented “immaculately, lovingly” by the orchestra.
The Art Desk carried a review of the BFO’s London performance under the title Generosity and geniality, while The Times described the concert as “fresh, surprising, witty and humane.” The critic claimed “even a Martian visitor” would recognize the characteristic style of the orchestra’s playing. The concerts in London reached their climax with the two Beethoven piano concertos. As the author put it: “Heaven’s gates opened” for András Schiff’s performance, joined by the BFO as an ideal partner. Similarly, Seen and Heard International’s review described a heavenly musical experience, concluding that “words are inadequate to convey this ultimate musical experience” of Beethoven’s pieces.
The title of the Wiener Zeitung’s review called the orchestra’s performance in Vienna a “Triumph” in Europe. “The concert was pure enjoyment for the eyes, the ears and the body,” wrote the author. According to the Kronen Zeitung, the audience of the Musikverein loved the intensity of the orchestra’s performance, and said the BFO once again proved that it is a world-class ensemble. In its review of the concert in Hamburg, Welt called the BFO a Hungarian “top orchestra,” whose performance of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 managed to “bring time to a standstill” and create an illusion of eternity.
The orchestra’s concert in Baden-Baden featured Elisabeth Leonskaja as the soloist; audiences also had the opportunity to see her in November at Müpa Budapest. Local reviews described a “grand” concert experience.
No article failed to mention that on this tour, it was not only during the encores that the Budapest Festival Orchestra took to singing: their world-class act has now been made a part of the official concert program.
Iván Fischer and his orchestra will return to London and Hamburg in May as a resident orchestra; the performances will once again feature András Schiff as the soloist.
In Hungary, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will perform next on December 12, 13 and 15, led by Sir Mark Elder, featuring solo performances by Vilde Frang (violin) and Truls Mørk (cello) at Müpa Budapest.