WDR European Tour (Nov / Dec 04)
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln
In the Leningrad Symphony, the WDR orchestra was on even finer form and showed that it is a band to be reckoned with on the international front.
The Independent, December 04
At their Festival Hall concert on Wednesday, Semyonh Bychkov and the Cologne Symphony Orchestra proved what their recent recordings have led us to believe - that they are a formidable musical partnership.
Sunday Telegraph, December 04
Now in their sixth year under Bychkov, the WDRSO play with absolute commitment. I don't believe I've seen another orchestra take such pleasure in the role of accompanist - to Sayaka Shoji's dark, focused account of Bruch's First Violin Concerto - or show such confidence in their conductor's vision.
Independent on Sunday, December 04
If this work [Shostakovich 7] has seldom been performed with greater musical integrity, that is not altogether surprising: the Leningrad-born Bychkov has a special way with problematic pieces and a command of huge scores. His Westdeutscher Rundfunk forces played with the blazing conviction and tonal depth that marks them out as one of the great German orchestras.
The Times, December 04
The Cologne based group is a formidable ensemble that puts many of its better-known competitors to shame. Associated in the past with such towering figures as Erich Kleiber and Joseph Keilberth, the orchestra now has as its chief conductor Semyon Bychkov, a musician whose approach combines intelligence and insight with grandeur and emotional sweep.
The Guardian, December 04
The intense passion which Bychkov brought to his highly emotional interpretation of Shostakovich's Tenth was so forthright that the audience even forgot to cough after the infernal witches' Sabbath of the second movement. Well done, that hit the nail right on the head... Bychkov conjured up first-class music from his orchestra while also allowing the story to unfold.
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, November 04
The conductor and his orchestra revealed this theme transcending whole eras to the very best of their artistic ability, with an undisguised skill for creating sweeping arches and an electrifying tension of extraordinary degree, even for Bychkov. Bychkov was in control of the proceedings, pulled the threads together carefully, initiating gradations through to their unfettered release, always keeping an eye on the overall effect. Certainly the musicians seemed genuinely electrified by his performace.
Kölnische Rundschau, November 04