28th September 2020
Despite safety measures imposing restrictions, exciting classical concerts are possible. Conductor Semyon Bychkov made that clear in his guest appearance with the Czech Philharmonic at the Konzerthaus in Vienna.
He came with first class soloists, the pianist Daniil Trifonov and the trumpeter Selina Ott, and a programme that could be repeated. Due to limited number of visiting orchestras, many concerts will be given without an interval and performed twice. In Shostakovich’s Concerto for Piano,Trumpet and String Orchestra in C minor, Op. 35 – Bychkov provided the soloists with an ideal soundscape leaving the pianist at the centre of power. Trifonov was breathtakingly brilliant displaying fireworks of furious virtuosity in the fast passages, which were elicited from the Bösendorfer in an oscillating play of sound colours – bursting in the trills and runs – while alternating between cheerfulness and melancholy in the duet with the Austrian trumpeter Ott whose shining intonation won her the prestigious ARD Competition in 2018 when she was 20 years old. The way in which Shostakovich quoted a popular tune was mischievously audible, and Trifonov responded to Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic with rugged chords and rapid glissandi. The soloists said goodbye with a transcription of Rachmaninov songs performed as an encore.
In Dvořák‘s 8th Symphony, Bychkov let us hear what the term “authentic” really means. For the last two years he has been Chief Conductor of this traditional ensemble and it is an ideal partnership. Playing the music of their compatriot, he let the rough sound of the strings give way to a softer sound in the manner of Tchaikovsky, full of ‘esprit’ in the catchy main theme. The applause was fulsome.