A concert by the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) has made it into The Daily Telegraph’s top 30 artistic highlights of 2016, as compiled by the critics. This in a week when the BFO also found great success in some of Europe’s most prestigious concert halls. Even the normally conservative and critical audiences at the Vienna Musikverein and the Frankfurt Alte Oper gave the orchestra, and soloist Leonidas Kavakos, a standing ovation.
“Mysterious and intimate” was how critics at The Daily Telegraph described Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra in their entry to the 30 most memorable artistic performances of 2016. The BFO’s ‘triumph’ at the BBC Proms was ranked 18th, ahead of a work by Nick Cave and the new theatrical rendition of the Harry Potter story, among others. (Read the full list here)
2,700 people filled the Dohány utca Synagogue to capacity when they came to watch Grammy Award winner Daniel Barenboim play alongside the Festival Orchestra. The orchestra then performed four sold-out concerts at the Liszt Academy, with Leonidas Kavakos, and went on a European tour to Frankfurt, Vienna, Antwerp and Zagreb. The Guardian reviewed the BFO’s Synagogue concert, saying “this remarkable orchestra must also be the world’s most versatile”.
A standing reception met the orchestra in Frankfurt, while even the always-critical listeners at Vienna’s Musikverein were enchanted by the BFO. “At the end of the concert, when the musicians from Budapest assembled themselves into a choir and sang Franz Schubert’s ‘Chor der Engel’ with divine tenderness, the audience stood up to celebrate” wrote Musik Heute, while Frankfurter Rundschau spoke of an “enchanting” and “captivating” experience.
A reviewer at the Antwerp concert referred to conductor Iván Fischer as a ‘musical Messiah’, and the Zagreb programme notes read: “This guest appearance by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, conducted by Iván Fischer, is a perfect musical celebration for any city of music lovers, such as Zagreb with its musical temple, Lisinski.”
In February 2017, the Budapest Festival Orchestra will be embarking on their next tour of the USA. In January, they’ll be playing a series of four concerts in Müpa Budapest with Paavo Järvi and Truls Mørk, and they’ll be giving the first concert of the Back to Nature series in the orchestra’s rehearsal hall. The BFO’s annual co-production with Müpa Budapest takes place on 22 January with the Brahms Marathon, while they’ll be bringing January to a close with Iván Fischer and Richard Goode, also at Müpa Budapest.