This concert saw the Budapest Festival Orchestra reduced to a period ensemble of fewer than ten musicians plus soloists for Bach’s cantata ‘Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht’, and after the interval packed closely together as they filled the large stage of the Konzerthaus with forces well in excess of the not insignificant minimum required for a big Bruckner symphony. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but after the rather scrappy Bach it was a rare delight to hear a fresher sound working to unexpectedly magnificent effect in Bruckner’s Seventh.
It was hard to put the unusual sound of the BFO’s Bruckner into words – the trombones sounded distinctively theirs but the Wagner tubas as if they’d been cued by Thielemann, and though these oddities of timbre made for a mishmash, I couldn’t fault the balance of it. An dose of, um, monumental irony came courtesy of PORR, one of Austria’s biggest construction firms and sponsor of this concert. To read more of the review, click here.