wgbh.org When you think of the world's great orchestras, history is inevitably part of the equation. Whether it's the Leipzig and Dresden ensembles that trace their origins to the 18th Century, or comparitavely younger American orchestras that came of age in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, it's easy to think that it takes decades and decades, if not centuries, to forge the legacy of a great orchestra.
But then there's the Budapest Festival Orchestra. With its home base in a city rich in history and culture but, largely because of its Communist past, is still overlooked by Americans, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is widely considered to be among the very best ensembles to be performing today, on par with the Berlin Philharmonic (founded in 1882), the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam (founded in 1888), and, yes, our own Boston Symphony Orchestra (founded in 1881).
And yet, the group played its first concert in 1983, after being founded by Iván Fischer (pictured) and Zoltán Kocsis. It's impossible to say what accounts for the meteoric rise of the orchestra, but it's safe to assume that visionary leadership, incredible dedication on the part of all involved, and that deep cultural legacy of Budapest have all played a part.
Now Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra bring their short but powerful legacy to New York City's Carnegie Hall, and you can hear the concert on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 3pm on Classical New England. The program includes music by the orchestra's countryman, Béla Bartók, for which they're joined by the remarkable pianist András Schiff (another Hungarian), and Franz Schubert.
Bartók: Hungarian Peasant Songs
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2
Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C, the "Great"
Full program information and audio samples available at Carnegie Hall