As part of its community programmes, the Budapest Festival Orchestra visited three Hungarian churches, over and above the synagogues and homes for the elderly, to make a gift of music for the lovers of Baroque and those who find it difficult to visit a concert hall. The churches were filled to capacity on each occasion, and thus the music of Bach could touch almost a thousand souls.
The churches provided an authentic environment for the liturgical compositions, which were played on period instruments, making the experience all the more complete. “Historical performance is a tremendous experience because the period instruments clear an obstacle out of the way. We do not need to make any compromises with regard to the sound, and can consequently get closer to the will of the composer. The music sounds the way Bach probably wanted it to sound,” highlights the strength of the concert series the leader, Eszter Lesták Bedő.
It also conveys a significant message that after it filled the spaces of the Evangelical church on Deák Square, the “homeland” of Bach’s cantatas, the music went on to enthral the Protestant community of Hedrehely, and the audience of the Catholic church on Bakáts Square.
The foundation of the BFO’s Baroque ensemble fulfils a long-felt desire and ambition of the orchestra and its leader. Iván Fischer is no newcomer to the historical performance of old music. As first a pupil, and then an assistant, of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, he learned the tricks of making old music straight from an authority.
The Budapest Festival Orchestra will continue its community projects next year, of which the synagogue concerts are still ongoing.