Monthly Archives: April 2003

National Philharmonic Orchestra, Zoltán Kocsis, Joshua Bell

It is curious to observe how certain experiences from years ago return, seemingly unchanged and yet still different. When Joshua Bell was the soloist in Brahms's Violin Concerto as a guest of the Festival Orchestra in February 1997, I was astounded by his perfectly conceived playing, immaculate technique, stamina and discipline. But I also sensed […]

If something is not true, then it does not hurt

The real danger is that in fifty years' time, perhaps our audiences will have dwindled. During its two month marathon tour of America, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra performed seven different programs of works. According to their general music director, Zoltán Kocsis, the musicians can now play these works faultlessly in their sleep. He regards […]

“Zoltán Kocsis’s orchestrations”

“Zoltán Kocsis's orchestrations” – states the CD cover slightly bombastically. The truth is actually that of the seventy minutes of material, nearly a half was perpetrated by the high priest of orchestration, Maurice Ravel. The mere fact that Kocsis is prepared to step into the ring with perhaps the greatest genius of orchestration of all […]

Katalin Károlyi was the weak link at the latest concert of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, which is primarily surprising because audiences generally react better to concert pieces featuring a human voice. The orchestra's concert otherwise comprised of rarities: Stravinsky, a barely known Bartók (Four Orchestral Pieces), Rachmaninov orchestrated by Respighi, all things to alarm audiences. […]

Kocsis reads Berlioz

The Romeo and Juliet Dramatic Symphony: I don't know if I've ever heard a live performance. Berlioz was an honourable revolutionary artist, he wrote difficult things for orchestra which exceeded the capacities of 19th century ensembles. Little wonder that he experienced more failure and indifference than success. He would have been 200 this year – […]

Closing words on this year’s spring festival

(…) French composers also enjoyed a prominent position at the festival, strengthened partly through the Berlioz Jubilee and partly the resonances of FranciaArt. In my opinion, the performance of Romeo and Juliet by the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Choir was a premiere event not just of the festival but of international concert life. […]