31st January 2017
Semyon Bychkov’s ‘Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky and his World – A Philharmonic Festival’ with the New York Philharmonic continues this month with performances of Piano Concerto No. 1 (1879 version) with Kirill Gerstein and Manfred Symphony on 2, 3, 4 and 7 February, followed by the Pathétique Symphony and Francesca da...
24th January 2017
Under Bychkov’s baton, the musicians were perfectly relaxed. Perfect, not in the sense of an absence of errors demanded by the live situation and this legend of legendary orchestras, but perfect because the Orchestra breathed as one in Brahms’ musical language, claiming the North German as if one of their own. You only need to have heard the Viennese to understand the extent to which they understood the idiom.
This evening was great because Mahler’s artistry took the music to its very limits. At the beginning, at least 16 of the first violins played what sounded like nothing but quivering air – almost inaudibly quiet and inaudibly high. Then gradually, the composer seemed to pluck remembered images from the air: here the bird-like call of the clarinet, and there the distant rumble of thunder from the timpani, and entwined them in the seemingly carefree melody from “Liedern eines fahrenden Gesellen”. Ultimately driving the work forward at full throttle unabated until it reached its conclusion and climax.
The audience was remarkably attentive. In the moments of introspection, when it felt as if the music’s desolation moved the ground beneath Mahler’s feet, the silence was palpable.
23rd January 2017
Semyon Bychkov formed the delicate transitions in Mahler’s First Symphony with a long breath. The 64 year old conductor with greying curls exuded a tremendous calm as he created undulating curves with his hands and drew the fine sounds of Vienna from the Philharmonic Orchestra. And then, all of sudden, with the twitch of the baton, the sound exploded.
4th January 2017
Lots to look forward to in the New Year when Semyon Bychkov returns to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Mahler and Brahms/Glanert from 13-15 January in Vienna and 22 January in Hamburg for the opening festival of the city’s new Elbphilharmonie. In between these dates, the Maestro will lead the...