THE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA PLAYed FOR TEN THOUSAND EUROPEANS
Ten days, five cities, over ten thousand listeners and 6,400 kilometres travelled – these are the figures from the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s last tour, where they performed in Europe’s most prestigious concert halls; in London, Paris and Vienna, among others. The orchestra received a standing ovation at every venue.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra has put another important European tour behind it, during which audiences at the Royal Festival Hall, the Philharmonie de Paris, the Vienna Musikverein, the Bruges Concertgebouw and Prague’s Smetana Hall all rewarded Iván Fischer and his orchestra with standing ovations.
This was the BFO’s first performance at the Philharmonie, which opened its doors in January this year. Iván Fischer called the experience a “great adventure”. The Musikverein in Vienna is considered one of the best and most important concert halls in the world, so it is an honour for every musician to be able to perform there. As the German conductor Bruno Walter once said, “in [that] hall, even the instruments sound golden.”
The Festival Orchestra gave seven concerts in ten days, playing to a total of over ten thousand people. But it wasn’t just the audience that enjoyed the performances, the critics too were full of praise. “Fabulous” with an “immense radiant sound” wrote The Daily Telegraph, while questioning whether musicians who complain about the Royal Festival Hall’s acoustics aren’t simply looking for excuses. Each and every critic mentioned the vocal encore which, according to The Telegraph, was “the most moving moment, in an evening that was full of them.” This season, Iván Fischer has introduced his innovation of having the BFO give vocal instead of instrumental encores, a feature with which the musicians are having great success.
The Times did not spare their accolades either in referring to “the grandeur, the mystery, the unanimity of tone and attack.” According to a Czech review the violin solo was a joy to the ear, the woodwind section played brilliantly, while the brass, strings, and flutes complemented each other perfectly. Bachtrack’s reviewer emphasised how the orchestra’s musicians breathe as one, with a faultless sense of inner balance and homogeneous sound.
The Festival Orchestra will be leaving for their next tour straight after the free Dancing on the Square Concert on 18 June in Heroes’ Square. That tour will see them playing music in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.