A great review for the Budapest Festival Orchestra and guest artist Sir András Schiff.
There are many feelings with which one can leave a classical concert. Excitement, awe, fatigue, euphoria, melancholy and polite appreciation are all states of being that have carried me out of the doors of the Konzerthaus over the years, but rarely have I felt such a sense of warmth and energy as exuded from the Budapest Festival Orchestra on Thursday evening, and it is evenings like this which make people come out to classical music concerts instead of exclusively listening to Spotify while cooking at home or popping in a CD during the morning commute. There is something magical about a live concert when everything fits, and this evening was fairly close to perfect. (Chanda VanderHart/Backtrack)
Sir András Schiff joined the ensemble to perform Johannes Brahms‘ First Piano Concerto, a work almost as entangled and complex as Schiff’s own relationship with his homeland. Much has already been made of Schiff’s open proclamation not to return or play in Hungary due to the reaction after he spoke out against the anti-Semitic turn he perceived the country having taken politically in 2011, so this meeting in Vienna of these Hungarian forces was undoubtedly a weighty thing. Schiff navigated the labyrinth of twists, turns and hemiolas of the lengthy Brahms work with his characteristic critical attention to sound, clarity of expression and sense of architectural shape, and was called to the stage repeatedly by the enthusiastic applause of an appreciative audience, which actually would have left completely satisfied already after the first half.