30th October 2018
There are three orchestras considered great Mahler ensembles: the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic…..there is another that deserves to be in this company: the Czech Philharmonic.
Bychkov’s way with Mahler is natural in that everything seems just right — unforced, organic, even effortless.
This was Mahler delivered with utmost musicality, care, and understanding. Every tempo felt perfect, from the deliberate walking pace to start, to the slow ländler of the second movement, to the speed of the vocal phrases in the phantasmagorical final movement. Dynamics were exquisitely refined and shaped, with rises and falls that felt like the orchestra was slowly breathing. Even big moments, like the great dissonant crisis and crashing cadence in the first movement — places where most conductors show their stuff — were the natural, logical result of where the score had come to.