News & Reviews: Review

September 2020

Opera Plus

6th September 2020

Agata Pilatova

The Czech Philharmonic’s interpretation did not miss any detail that the composer had invested in his compositions; in fact, they enriched and multiplied the works with their unique artistic approach. This applies equally to orchestra, conductor and soloist.

Václav Petr obviously has a personal emotional relationship to the Cello Concerto and it shows in his interpretation. He can fully live out the piece while finding his own way of expressing the emotional messages which the composer put in the music. We can feel his humility for the composer whose ideas and emotions (alongside his own) he communicated to the audience convincingly. His performance had inner poetry, somehow bringing peace and quiet into the listeners’ hearts through the gloomy tones. With his dynamics and tempo, he allowed the audience to enjoy the soft echo of every single note. At the same time, it is clear that Petr enjoyed the piece. The concert master’s coordination with the orchestra and the conductor is also remarkable. The part with the cellist and the first violinist in the third movement was apparently a joy not only for the listeners but also for the performers. Their coordination and harmony was admirable. We should not forget that the concerto is very physically demanding for the soloist. All in all: we heard Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in a brilliant interpretation from both the soloists and the orchestra.

This is also true for the performance of the New World Symphony. Semyon Bychkov has surely had enough time to truly adapt to the Czech Philharmonic, but his remarkable feeling for and interpretation of Czech music is worth acknowledging. His reading of the piece seems to be “our” reading as well, thanks to which we find new colours in the tones we have heard a hundred times before. Bychkov captures complex units as well as single nuances, temperament, joyful happiness and emotional depth. His own input centres around humble admiration for the composer combined with Bychkov’s ability to relay his stories. The significantly slower tempo allowed the individual parts of the piece to somehow “linger in the air” (and in the listeners’ minds) for a little bit longer and die away very slowly. Bychkov’s sweeping and romantic interpretation definitely does not go against the composer. All sections of the orchestra were worthy partners for the conductor, from the famous Largo with the cor anglais solo to every other section of the orchestra.

The Czech Philharmonic played with ease and joy, may be the musicians also appreciated the Rudolfinum’s nearly full auditorium