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Musical notes

Iván Fischer's Budapest Festival Orchestra prove that Bartók was the 20th century's greatest. And why is Radio 4 encouraging us to fast-forward Beethoven's 9th?

By Stephen Everson   January 2006

Beethoven at the Barbican

The Barbican saw the end of one Beethoven cycle and the beginning of another in November. Bernard Haitink came to begin his performances of the symphonies with the LSO, while Iván Fischer returned with the Budapest Festival Orchestra for two concerts to complete the series of the Beethoven piano concertos begun in June, coupled with Bartók’s major orchestral works. The LSO play at their best for Haitink, and his concerts inaugurated what is destined to be a genuinely distinguished cycle. He galvanised the strings, with the second violins and violas playing with an unusual alertness that…

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