LA Phil Blog

A Warm Reception in Chilly Budapest

A Warm Reception in Chilly Budapest

It's below freezing cold in Budapest, but we are playing with such warmth and vigor. Last night's concert was a big success. In fact, even at intermission the audience started to clap in unison. This is the ultimate “bravo” from a European audience. (Feel free to do the same at home!)

Bartók National Concert Hall
The exterior of the Bartók National Concert Hall at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest (photo courtesy of KUSC's Brian Lauritzen).

During our rehearsals on this tour, Gustavo has been preparing us for the last two concerts in Vienna. We have not played at the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic, since I have been in the orchestra (24 years, believe it our not). Obviously the standards are very high from audience and critics alike and Gustavo is trying to find the right sound and approach to playing in this very small jewelbox of a shrine to the orchestral art.

This is what touring is all about - giving ourselves new challenges every night and becoming so familiar and secure with each other and Gustavo that we build our musicianship to even higher levels.

The work paid off last night. The Adams was played with exceptional brilliance, the Bernstein with poignancy and flexibility. And the Beethoven with a depth and exuberance that took my breath away.

Tonight's Mahler 9th performance will be all that and more. And afterward, a bunch of us will celebrate by going to hear Hungarian gypsy music!