News & Reviews: Review

November 2018

Kronen Zeitung

29th November 2018

A few months ago, Semyon Bychkov took up his position as the new Music Director of the Czech Philharmonic. He opened his tenure with a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 which he also conducted at Vienna’s Musikverein, part of a multi-week tour of Europe and the USA. Bychkov (65), head of the Orchestre de Paris until 1998, the Dresden Semperoper until 2003 and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Koln until 2010,  especially values the fact that the Czech Philharmonic has preserved its “unique identity and the authenticity of expression and sound.” In his performance of Mahler’s “Second,” the “Resurrection Symphony,” the Orchestra demonstrated its “special qualities” such as the massive, rich sound that Bychkov used in the huge build-up and explosions of sound that gave the first and fifth movements an increased sense of theatricality. The second and third movements were idyllic and dreamy, full of irony and pleasure in the parody. The highlights were the vocal passages – the “Urlicht” gently sung by Elisabeth Kulman, the “Aufersteh’n” of the soprano and alto (Christiane Karg and Elisabeth Kulman) and the mighty Choral finale sung by the perfectly rehearsed Singverein, who delicately shaded Klopstock’s text.   Bychkov’s broad and demonstratively powerful conducting gave the performance weight