BUDAPEST FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA IN PARIS
The concert given in Paris by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and violinist József Lendvai on the evening of 26 September comprising works of Bartók and Mahler was a massive success.
After the last movement of Symphony No. 5 finished, some of the almost two thousand strong audience in the Salle Pleyel began shrieking their appreciation, everyone giving the Hungarian orchestra rapturous applause lasting several minutes.
“For us, the whole of September was about Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, we played it at the Budapest Mahler Festival, at the Edinburgh Festival, and a few weeks ago we also made a recording. This piece is now in its element, and was a fantastic success at the Paris concert” – said Iván Fischer, music director and conductor, to the Hungarian new agency MTI after the concert. He added: “It was incredible how the audience followed the whole piece, giving ovations after the long silences, which doesn’t happen very often”.
The Festival Orchestra took to the stage in one of the most prestigious concert halls in Paris for the second time this year, where it has been a returning guest for many years. “We always enjoy massive success here. Here there is a certain je ne sais quoi in the people, a kind of celebration every time when we visit Paris, and it really lifts the musicians too” – emphasised the music director.
The first part of the concert comprised Béla Bartók’s Hungarian Peasant Songs and Violin Concerto No. I., with violinist József Lendvay on solo, who regularly tours with the orchestra. “He is one of our favourite soloists. He is an instinctive musician who plays the violin phenomenally well with a lovely tone, but also grips the audience immediately” – said Iván Fischer.
The Paris concert was the first stage of the Festival Orchestra’s 9-day European tour, during which it will play a total of 8 concerts in 6 cities and 5 countries (besides Paris, Dortmund, Bruges, Grenoble, Bratislava and Warsaw), led by Iván Fischer.
Iván Fischer’s composer evening will be held in the Belgian town of Bruges on 30 September, with members of the Festival Orchestra, soprano Nora Fischer and the Kobra Ensemble. “This is a huge and rare event for me because something like this only takes place every two or three years”.
When asked by MTI, the conductor said that he does not normally hold his own composer evenings in Hungary, but the Belgian organisers asked him specifically because “we often visit with the Festival Orchestra and the audience is very interested in the type of music I offer” – he added. The Orchestra has already performed nine of the ten pieces on the programme in various countries around the world, while there will be one world premiere in the Belgian town.
The musicians of the Festival Orchestra will next be playing in Hungary on 7 October at the Cocoa Concert in Budapest.