The Budapest Festival Orchestra and Müpa Budapest are organising their tenth grand joint Marathon on 22nd January 2017, the Hungarian National Day of Culture. Besides Johannes Brahms’ four symphonies, the all-day event includes his piano compositions, chamber orchestra and chamber music works, and choral pieces. The performers are all outstanding musicians on the Hungarian music scene. Iván Fischer and the BFO will bring the day to a close with a surprise concert.
Every year since 2008, Müpa Budapest and the BFO have been organising day-long marathons of concerts devoted to the oeuvre of a single composer. After Bach and Beethoven, the tenth, jubilee Marathon is devoted to the third of the three Bs to have been reinterpreted by the legendary 19th century conductor Hans von Bülow. Following last year’s Schumann–Mendelssohn Marathon, we’ll now be getting even closer to German Romanticism.
Over the course of one of this season’s most eagerly awaited events, all four of Brahms’ symphonies will be performed on 22nd January 2017, which in itself will provide a comprehensive picture of the composer’s oeuvre; starting with the First Symphony with its heavy influences from his great role model, Beethoven, to the almost programme music-like motifs of the latter symphonies. Besides the symphonies, there will also be piano compositions, chamber orchestra and chamber music pieces, as well as choral works, where seriously grave melodies will alternate with those of a light and airy but – characteristic of Brahms – always emotional tone.
The concerts will begin hourly, on various stages, from 10.30 am to 9 pm. The symphonies will be performed in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall by renowned guest ensembles and conductors: Concerto Budapest, the Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, the MÁV Symphony Orchestra and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra, respectively conducted by András Keller, Kálmán Berkes, Csaba Péter and Zoltán Kocsis.
The Festival Theatre will be the venue for the chamber orchestra and chamber music pieces; the Kelemen Quartet, along with Maxim Rysanov and Dóra Kokas, will be performing the String Sextet in B-flat major, while the Budapest Strings will be playing Serenade No.1 in D-major. The Cantemus Mixed Choir, with renowned performers of the piano four-hands, Károly Zentai and Dóra Bizjákthe, promise a real treat with their triplet of performances: Three Motets, the Five Songs for Mixed Choir and the Liebeslieder Waltzes.
The BFO’s Chamber Ensemble will be making an appearance at the Marathon with Brahms' Clarinet Quintet, while Ferenc Rados will be evoking the oeuvre of the great German composer and pianist through eight piano pieces and the Variations on a Theme by Schumann. The BFO’s surprise concert, at 9 pm, will bring down the curtain on the day with Iván Fisher, the artistic director of the concert series, conducting the orchestra.
In addition, students of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music will be performing free concerts in the Glass Hall throughout the day. Audiences of the Brahms Marathon can attend screenings in the Auditorium of Müpa Budapest and visit the exhibition in the lobby.
Tickets go on sale on 27th October 2016.