Sinuously pungent strings, rustic woodwinds, rhythms with a kick and a lilt; from the start of Friday’s concert even a Martian visitor would probably realise that they were listening to the Budapest Festival Orchestra – writes Geoff Brown, the critic of The Times after the performance of the Budapest Festival Orchestra in London, Barbican Centre.
Yet no instruments at all were involved in the opening piece – he continues. Iván Fischer’s merry band started by suavely singing Dvorák’s setting of a Moravian folksong Nepovim — not a stunt most bands could bring off. After that, however, came Dvorák more conventionally delivered. Who could resist the idiomatic colouring of the Slavonic Dance sampler (Op 46, No 2) or the melodic sweep of the Op 59 Legend? Not me. Equally notable, throughout the night, was the benefit gained in texture and ballast from letting double-basses sound forth from the orchestra’s back.