One of the secret magic weapons that catapulted the Budapest Festival Orchestra to the pinnacle of the world is the amount of opportunities their musicians have to perform in smaller, chamber setups. The necessary fine-tuning and constant attention to one-another mean they respond immediately to the slightest change, and this persists throughout their symphony orchestral concerts to create an extraordinary unity.
Why is this necessary? “Imagine the flute section is playing slower than the violas. We can tell the violas to “play more slowly”, or the flutes to “kindly hurry up”. This way is boring. But if I tell the violas, “here, pay attention to the flutes”, then I put them in a creative mood and they themselves will notice if something is too slow or fast. When you are learning to play an instrument, your creativity evolves and you must develop your own areas of interest; you need to be interested in everything. After that, when you become part of a symphony orchestra, very little creativity is expected of you. You can stop thinking about how to play, about what to play, about developing your personality – nobody is interested in your ideas. Creative teaching and non-creative work lead to dead ends. We must embrace the creativity of the musicians, clerk-like playing is the death of music” – says Iván Fischer, who manages the BFO accordingly.
Chamber music is based on being active and creative, which also encourages the musicians and helps develop their personal ambitions. They have maintained the exceptionally high standards of the Sunday Chamber Music series for decades. The players have full control over the material and the musical concept, giving them greater individual responsibility; it is the musicians who research the pieces, meld them into a programme and perform them. The orchestra’s Rehearsal Hall in Óbuda hosts the series; this where the grandiose symphonies are born, from where the musicians set out on tours to the farthest-flung corners of the world and where we introduce youngsters to classical music through our Cocoa Concerts. As such, the surroundings bring the listener closer to the BFO’s secret and to the junction where the musical process begins.
The 2016-17 season has something new in store for chamber music enthusiasts. Our rehearsal hall will also be hosting our new Back to Nature series. These concerts will see our musicians play pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, Brahms and Mozart, on period instruments. The orchestra’s adherence to using period instruments is how the Graf piano, the viola da gamba, the natural horn or the lute can make it on stage, to name but a few.