“After Symphony No. 1 by Brahms, the audience broke into rapturous applause as if they were at a rock concert. I’ve already played in front of an enthusiastic audience, but I haven’t experienced anything like that before. Is this when you hear people say that it was good to be Hungarian? Good to be a musician? Yes.”
Concerts in New York, Washington, West Palm Beach and San Francisco were sold out, and greeted by resounding applause from standing audiences during the Budapest Festival Orchestra’s American tour, where a total of seven concerts were given in less than two weeks.
Critics were in perfect harmony with the audience. The orchestra is seemingly welcomed home in New York as a distant relative living abroad. It is no coincidence that The New York Times reported on the BFO’s second concert in New York by saying “All in a night’s work for what might be the best orchestra in the world. Not a bad choir, too”. According to the article, it was “a stupendous performance of Brahms’s First Symphony. Its brilliance was a mix of the humdrum and the visionary.”
The orchestra is especially talented at creating an atmosphere, and able to play passionately, subtly and softly at the same time, details the article. Part of the reason is that – as the article says – “Mr. Fischer has a restless, inventive mind, and his players seem game for anything. So even in the ordinary, you can count on them for something extraordinary” – explains The New York Times, which published several articles on the orchestra’s American concerts.
The Washington Post also describes the Festival Orchestra’s concert as appealing and quite joyful, while regarding Iván Fischer as someone who is able to achieve a new sound for classical pieces.
Vitality, power, precision, infinite colour palette, fineness and thoroughness, warmth, humour, splendour, romantic fragility, musical inventions and commitment to chamber music performance style – all this is present in the orchestra’s play at the same time, reads the article.
Not only the leading American journals contain superlatives, but also the audience’s feedback. A letter from San Francisco summarises the “timeless” concert experience as follows: "We were honored to witness the magic crystal of music, with its unsurpassed might, beauty, richness and uncompromising taste."
The Budapest Festival Orchestra’s next tour will be in the United Arab Emirates, where it has never played before. Following the Hungarian premiere on 7 March, the newest opera performance to be staged by Iván Fischer, i. e. The Magic Flute by Mozart, will be performed there too.