4th February 2017
Happily, Mr. Bychkov is a conductor conversant with Wagnerian excess as well as Tchaikovsky’s own gifts for innovative ideas and sustained melodic lines… The Philharmonic rose to the occasion, with bold performances from the horns and expanded brass section, ringing out the slow-fast opening movement, the covertly andante and the Bruckner-like hunting chorales of the symphony’s scherzo. The most thrilling moment was the all-hell-breaks-loose climax, played as a fugue in the strings, descending stepwise with Bach-like precision. A long drawn-out coda tried the listener’s patience, but even a composer at play must take the time to put his toys back in their boxes.
29th January 2017
It’s to Maestro Semyon Bychkov’s merit to have decided instead to shed fresh light upon the works of Tchaikovsky… Bychkov kept the music flowing [in Symphony No. 5], avoiding all hints of grandiloquence, overbearing climaxes and strident brass, and emphasizing, whenever possible, cross-currents…
Tchaikovsky has been for decades a “beloved friend” for Bychkov, one he admires, values, but is still able to approach with an open mind and critical eye.
28th January 2017
Mr. Bychkov is a committed Tchaikovskyan, a restless intellect and a brilliant conductor. His current international Tchaikovsky Project breathes new life into these familiar war-horse pieces. The first concert in the series was Thursday night and the results were both unconventional and excellent… In this performance [of Symphony No. 5], Mr. Bychkov made an excellent case for this overplayed symphony by removing the silken mannerisms and sentimental clichés that too many conductors (and audience members) confuse with intelligent interpretation. By playing not to the expectations of the audience but to the very letter of the written score, he engineered a triumph and a convincing argument for his approach to this composer’s music… Mr. Bychkov conducted the whole with a sense of light and shade, but again refrained from letting sentiment rule and ruin the day.
27th January 2017
Bychkov, conducting from memory [in Symphony No. 5], guided the music with well-shaped dynamics and tempo modulations. Everything worked so well as to seem perfectly natural and logical, and overall he let the music flow and speak for itself, with not even a momentary indulgence in pathos. If anything, he reserved emphasis for the most strident moments, especially in the opening movement.