20th November 2019
Bychkov and Capuçon with Tchaikovsky. Double-stopping technique, harmonics, thirty-second notes: The great solo cadenza of Tchaikovsky’s only Violin Concerto is a huge technical challenge for every soloist. Not for Renaud Capuçon, however, who knows how to navigate almost all the treacherous cliff-hangers with bravado and energy. But one could not help feeling that something troubled him. And what’s more, the exceptional French violinist sometimes stayed too much on the virtuoso surface, so that a deeper, more touching expression occasionally fell short. He thanked the audience for their response with an encore by Gluck. Capuçon was accompanied sympathetically by the Czech Philharmonic under its new Chief Conductor, Semyon Bychkov. Under the Russian conductor, the Orchestra from the Czech Republic was equally enthralling in the Pathétique, the nickname given to Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony. Here one could feel the deep despair and long-suffering pain in the “Requiem” of the Russian composer, who died a few days after the premiere. The full emotional range was touched with a wonderful richness of color and stirring power. Large and rousing dynamic arcs were meticulously built and lyricism savored, while balanced and detailed music was made. Bravo!