Monday, January 11, 2010

Sensational Budapest Festival Orchestra at Pleyel

I listened to various orchestra conducted by Iván Fischer, but this was my first time listening to him conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Yes, it is a completely different experience and the memories from that Saturday, January 9 2010, will stay with me for quite some time.
You could feel a symbiosis of the conductor and his orchestra, a global technical prowess mixed with joy of all the musicians - the joy to play and share that moment in which the most sublime music is being produced. We shared that unique moment with them too, for which I am grateful to this  orchestra, its astounding conductor, and -of course- to Pleyel for making this all possible.

On the program: Richard Wagner - Siegfried Idyll, Wesendonck Lieder (with our fave Petra Lang), Igor Stravinsky - Petrushka.

They first played The Siegfried Idyll with such a silky ease that you could feel the moment when you're let in on that extra dimension, where the time stops and only the beauty of musical expression talks [Boy am I being cheesy! ;) ]. The Idyll never sounded so smooth, so tender and yet so powerful. Many conductors make horrendous mistakes by interpreting the Idyll with dramatic tags: "It's Wagner - it must be dramatic."  Hell, NO! Fischer just gave a lesson on how this should be played if you're to unveil the full depth and beauty of this music. That of course wouldn't be possible if the musicians weren't all so brilliant. You could tell from the looks on their faces, from their movements, from the concentration which was almost materialized up there, on the stage, that each one of them gave his absolute best that night.  It is rare to see such a devotion to music, and the result is nothing short of a miracle: the Siegfried Idyll to die for. It was recorded by the Radio Classique, and I'll try to find out the date when it will be available on their website.

Then they called Petra Lang to join in and made us live through 5 Wesendonk Lieder.  I love Petra Lang, the way she sings Ortrud, Venus, Brangane, Sieglinde, Cassandre. She even made me fall in love with the Schumann Lieder, which I thought was impossible. Her voice is clean, voluminous and opulent, and that was exactly what was needed to click with this splendid Orchestra, and give us a memorable interpretation of these Lieder.  She alone is amazing, but the whole treat wouldn't be nearly as big if there was a chemistry between her and the Orchestra. BRAVI!

In the second part, the Budapest Festival Orchestra completely changed the style and went for the hard-to-execute festive music from Petrushka. It was, of course, sensational and the crowd went wild. As for me, I was so stunned by the atmosphere and the musical perfection of the first part of the concert, that I couldn't really dive into Stravinsky's masterpiece. I was amazed by the dexterity and brilliance of the Orchestra but didn't really vibrate with the music altogether.

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