Triumphal march à la BFO
Though barely a month has passed since the resounding success of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) in the USA, the Hungarian ensemble, billed as one of the world’s top symphonic orchestras, went on another tour, this time around Europe. In the course of a little over a week, Iván Fischer and his ensemble have visited six different cities. In the days to come, they will give three concerts at Müpa, as well as an Autism-friendly Cocoa Concert in addition to regular Cocoa Concerts, and finish this intense period with a recording.
Bern, Zürich, Genoa, Paris, Cologne and Lugano have warmly welcomed the Budapest Festival Orchestra over the last couple of days, and, according to the reviews, the ensemble has more than delivered on high expectations.
The performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 and Mahler’s symphony Das Lied von der Erde in the Philharmonie de Paris concert was heralded as “an extraordinary night”, where Iván Fischer “dazzled and amazed the French audience”. According to another French account, the ensemble “stands up to uniformity” and “strongly and proudly protects its cultural identity”.
The concert in Zurich earned them a five-star review from the author of Bachtrack, who wrote of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony: “quintessentially perfect work”, praising the performance as “rousing and infinitely jolly and uplifting” and remarked that it “showed the conductor working with bracing enthusiasm and precision that delighted even the stodgiest audience member”. Referring to the second half of the concert, the author observed: “That Leonard Bernstein called Das Lied Mahler’s ‘greatest symphony’ made every bit of sense, for the BFO’s concert was an absolute triumph.”
According to Seen and Heard, “from the very first notes, we strongly suspected this was going to be a polished, refined performance”. The author went on to say that “Fischer has an elegant conducting style, which his players of course can read like a book”, and that “he likes to avoid a sense of routine”, resulting in “a unified level of virtuosic sound” and “very loud cheers” from the audience, which “rang out for the woodwind, who were simply amazing”, though he was quick to add that “the orchestra impressed in every section” and concluded with the recommendation “Do catch them if you can”.
Audiences in Budapest will have a chance to do so on March 16, 17 and 19 at Müpa. In addition to regular Cocoa Concerts, Iván Fischer and his orchestra will give Autism-friendly Cocoa Concerts on March 18 to children living with autism and their families, in collaboration with the Nemzetközi Cseperedő Alapítvány international foundation.
Budapest Festival Orchestra will present its programme for the 2017–18 season to the general public on 29 March with season ticket sales for the new season starting on 3 April.