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The numbers 46 and 49 proved good mascots for the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The reason for this is that the wind musicians of the orchestra played Bach’s Chorales with these serial numbers on conductor Iván Fischer’s request at the rehearsal of the most recent concert in Rome in the building of the elegant Auditorium Conciliazione. A rehearsal reveals almost everything about the particular musicians. The world-famous Festival Orchestra take rehearsals before concerts especially seriously. (Népszava)

It makes no difference whether they have been on tour extensively or that they have played a piece many times – they still rehearse a piece of music intensely and with close attention over and over again. In addition, every concert hall has distinctive acoustics, and the different groups of instruments always sound different. It is always worth adjusting and adapting the sound to the concert hall that is being used at that time.
First, Iván Fischer conducted the rehearsal himself, and then switched the conductorship to his assistant, while he, as music director, took a seat in the audience and listened from there.  ‘The bassoon and the clarinet are OK, but not magical enough; the last eight beats are lovely – by accident – yet there is too much of a hurry beforehand.’ He also made a remark to the percussionists: ‘set it off just like a gunner does a mortar cannon,’ he called out peremptorily.

He added after another musical part: the sounds waggle randomly. However, the audience did not hear any superfluous waggling of sounds at the evening concert. The concert was one of the highlighted events of the programme series of the Hungarian-Italian cultural year. The programme featured pieces of music from Dohnányi, Prokofiev and Brahms. After the audience’s great ovation, there followed the much-awaited encore: the prelude to Rossini’s opera, L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), announced by Iván Fischer in Italian.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra, which celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this year, had conquered Rome, too! This proved once again that this orchestra’s performances are among the most sought-after and deservedly renowned items of Hungarian culture all over the world. At the reception after the concert only a few thought of the morning’s rehearsal – though the well-earned success could have hardly been achieved without it.

Gyula Balogh