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Ionarts-at-Large: Muscular Lyricism. A Stupendous Budapest Festival Orchestra Visit to Vienna

A week after Riccardo Chailly had been in town with the Filarmonica della Scala – a curiously disappointing affair, it was time to listen to Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, this time over at the Musikverein, in a triple-B program.

Bach’s Fourth Orchestral Suite, individual glitches aside, was a gorgeous rendering that reminded, how badly missed Bach is in such orchestral concerts, ever since the composer has been left to the HIP-specialists, except for the high holidays when the choral works get wheeled out. And in fact, it was the BFO’s own early-music wing that entered onto the stage of the Golden Hall, outfitted with a set of age-appropriate instruments. Stately yet driven, this set the auspicious tone.

Harpsichord went, Steinway came, and with it András Schiff for the lyrical Third Piano Concerto. From the first note, the noble power, stately restraint, and again the brimming forward momentum, stood out. Schiff’s matter-of-factly lyricism was coupled with a sweet, forceful touch and the orchestra was full of verve and color.

It seemed hard for Brahms’ Third to better this. But the tight, propelling way Fischer had with it, leaving no chance for rhythmic confusion in that tricky first movement, just about did that. It’s rare to hear an orchestra play with such purpose, concentration, and beauty of tone – and on this evening, all those elements were in place, in spades. But then, this almost shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore, with the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Or maybe any orchestra from Budapest, for that matter.

Wiener Zeitung

Muskulöse Lyrik

Das Budapest Festival Orchestra mit einer Sternstunde.

...Brahms‘ Dritte Symphonie musste da schon zum Ereignis werden, um mithalten zu können. Wurde sie: Dominant, musikalische Rufzeichen, treibende Bässe und gezügelte Kraft. Energie wurde hier zu Masse, nicht Geschwindigkeit. Alles spielte mit gleicher, fast ungehöriger Intensität, gerne laut, aber ebenso konsequent in leiseren, lyrischen Momenten. Zu guter Letzt transformierte sich das Orchester noch zum Chor für die Zugabe von Brahms‘ "Liebe Schwalbe, kleine Schwalbe". Fünf Sternchen? Fünf Herzchen! [weiterlesen]

Photo: © Sonja Werner

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