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  • (c) Marco Borggreve
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Budapest Festival Orchestra: Haydn‐Mozart — 1

Budapest, Liszt Academy Concert Center — Grand Hall

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About the Event

Immerse yourself in the stunning architecture of Budapest's breathtaking Liszt Academy Concert Center for the ultimate concert set to awake your understanding of classical music.

Austrian music performed by an Austrian conductor and soloist is akin to buying shoes straight from a shoemaker in Austria. The vast and timeless collections of Haydn and Mozart never run dry, and as a result, new symphonies and concertos continue to be introduced to the BFO series. This time, Gérard Korsten takes the baton, with a dynamism likened by a Telegraph journalist to a fencer's swift movements. The orchestra seamlessly matches his tempo.

The concert unfolds with a symphony from a young sixteen‐year‐old Mozart, followed by a then‐uncommon cello concerto. Taking center stage for Haydn's piece is Kian Soltani, a cellist with Persian roots. A Washington Post critic once wrote of him, 'the orchestra follows him as if he were a candle leading a procession of lights.' Post intermission, the audience is treated to Haydn's playful symphony, culminating in a transformed serenade by Mozart.

During his Italian sojourn, Mozart absorbed many local musical flavors. However, upon his return to Salzburg, he began distilling his style. His Symphony No. 16 emerged from this period. The first movement, bearing echoes of C. Ph. E. Bach, immediately engages the listener with a triad theme that playfully shifts rhythmic expectations. This is followed by a strings‐only slow gavotte, and the piece rounds off with an elegant yet spirited rondo.

Haydn, while not a performing virtuoso, had an innate understanding of instruments. One only has to listen to the Cello Concerto in D major to recognize this. The soloist traverses the instrument's full range, employing double stops, octaves, and swift fingerboard transitions. 'Leisurely' best describes this piece. Haydn generously spaces out the themes, allowing for introspective moments in the slow movement and a finale that's both rustic and virtuosic.

Haydn's penchant for playful nuances is evident in many of his symphonies. In his Symphony in C major, the jest is in the structure: the two sections of the final movement are like twin mini sonatas. This subtle joy might only be discernible to the seasoned listener it seems Haydn was amusing himself. Noteworthy moments include the elegant dance of the menuet spotlighting the trumpet and violin, the Mozart‐like tenderness of the slow movement, and the effervescent introduction powered by brass.

In the midst of a bustling period in Vienna, Mozart received word from his father: the Haffner family was set to be ennobled and wished to commemorate the occasion with his music, reminiscent of a wedding serenade he'd composed for them six years prior. Adapting this serenade, Mozart transformed it into a symphony months later, shedding some movements. Its origins as a serenade are evident — from the drama‐free opening to the sprightly finale urging 'the fastest possible' rendition.


  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphony No. 16 In C Major, K. 128
  • Joseph Haydn – Concerto for cello and orchestra No. 2 In D Major, Hob. VIIB:2
  • Joseph Haydn – Symphony No. 20 in C Major, Hob. I:20
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Symphony no. 35 in D major, K. 385, 'Haffner'
Program is subject to change


Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra
Conductor: Gerard Korsten
Cello: Kian Soltani

Liszt Academy Concert Center

The Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music was founded in 1875 by Liszt himself, and was initially called the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music. Today, the building is home to a prestigious conservatory and fine concert hall, and houses the Liszt Collection, comprising the composer’s manuscripts and books. The institution's dual objective - to provide cultural education and cultural entertainment - makes it unique. The 'New Academy' is located in a grand Art-Nouveau building dominated by the statue of Liszt, one of Budapest’s architectural gems. The season offers not only classical concerts, but also jazz, folk, and contemporary music performances.


Liszt Academy Concert Center, Liszt Ferenc tér 8., Budapest, Hungary — Google Maps

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