Brahms Fourth Symphony

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2012/13… more events…

Friday 26 April, 7:30pm

Symphony Hall

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Iván Fischer conductor

Bartók   Concerto for Orchestra 36’
Brahms Symphony No 4 in E minor 40’
Encores – Brahms Hungarian Dance 11
… folksy string quartet (inc Adam Romer from the CBSO dragged from audience)

Fischer and his remarkable orchestra are one of today’s most exciting musical partnerships. The Guardian spoke of ‘this extraordinary ensemble’s apparently limitless ability to take us by surprise’. Judge for yourself in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra – a dazzlingly colourful showpiece – and Brahms’s stirring Fourth Symphony, resolute but mature and reflective.

For sheer blinding energy, nothing has come anywhere near the Budapest Festival Orchestra The Telegraph.

Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine, explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:

Who better than an all-Hungarian team to capture the spirit of their compatriot Bartók’s attractive and audience-friendly Concerto for Orchestra? And with Brahms’s greatest symphony completing the programme, what’s not to like?




Article by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full article

…     “Formed only 30 years ago, the Budapest Festival Orchestra is now one of the top  three in the world, according to Esquire magazine. If you would prefer to trust  the judgment of a more specialist publication, Gramophone puts the BFO in the  world’s top 10.”     …



Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click here for full review

…     “Both performances had the presence and clarity that are among the hallmarks of an outstanding orchestra. Fischer took the concerto briskly. With hardly a pause between the movements, and a marvellous, laconic casualness to the interlude-like second and fourth movements, he managed to make the whole work seem urgent yet not driven; efficient without becoming perfunctory. The BFO’s excellence is founded upon its large body of wonderfully disciplined strings, so the fugue at the heart of the last movement was launched on a marvellously sinewy violin line. As that finale drew to a close, it was startling to hear the detail – every voice precise – in the spectral slithering that provides the calm before the storm of the final climax.”     …



Review by Peter Marks, BachTrack:

Click here for full review

…     “Fischer took all the movements without pauses between, making the work feel much more like a coherent whole than I have considered it previously. Furthermore, his fluid beat and the refined playing gave this angular work many more smooth edges than I am used to hearing in it. The second movement, “Play of the Couples”, ushered in by the tapping of a snare-less side drum, could not have been much more playful. The bassoon couple, in particular, had riotous fun with their parts, raising more than a few smiles in both the orchestra and audience.

These players wore their virtuosity lightly. This was most evident in the famously vulgar Shostakovich “Leningrad” Symphony quotation (which may have nothing to do with that piece, of course) in the fourth movement. Except here it was played without forced vulgarity, more knowingly tongue-in-cheek, with Fischer almost dancing along to the gaudy tune.

The frantic fugal writing in the whirling finale was easily discernible by virtue of the levity in the string playing as well as their enlightened seating arrangement. By the time we reached the headlong rush to the coda, it was obvious that Fischer had meticulously prepared and paced all the preceding sections expertly. I doubt I will hear a more colourful, more finely judged and performed rendition of this piece for some time.”     …




Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra was stunning, its rhythms and textures vibrantly  detailed with a wonderful spatial identity and timbre and the musical lurches  from one idea to another delivered with an almost insouciant sleight of hand –  the Shostakovich-inspired raspberries in the ‘Intermezzo interrotto’ were  especially delicious, as were the squeals of delight of the whirlwind Finale.  After such a signature Hungarian work (albeit one composed for American  audiences) Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 offered something totally different, and it  was clear from the songlike grace of the opening that it would be an intensely  lyrical interpretation.”     …

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