11th February 2019
The fact that conductor Bychkov especially admires this composer was clear from his interpretation [of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1] which was consistently transparent, charming but never banal, and above all beautifully phrased. The flutes were remarkably smooth, and even more so the kettle drums – the piece is called “winter dreams” but there was nothing cold in this lively performance.
10th February 2019
After the interval, the Tchaikovsky [Symphony No. 1] was presented very seriously, with measured and moderate temperatures for the “Winter Dreams” of the work’s title. High praise for the Orchestra which left nothing to be desired.
9th February 2019
After the break, there was a symphonic gem to discover: Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed first symphony, nicknamed “winter dreams”. Melancholia and melancholy are the prevailing moods in this three quarter of an hour, four-movement work. Although the symphony conceals an ambitious architecture, it is dominated by extensive landscapes of sound with large, organically developed arches of suspense. The Czech Philharmonic used their finesse for a rhythmically tight, yet poetic and dramatically broad performance.
28th January 2019
Bychkov proved how considerable his conducting skills were in the vivid, poetic paintings with which the cosmopolitan Smetana depicted his love of home. He led the precise yet musically urgent performance effortlessly from the very beginning. “Vyšehrad” starts with two harps summoning up the old castle in the midst of the Vltava River where its dramatic fate is recreated until it finally sinks. Equally concentrated, Bychkov led the orchestra through the sound world of “Vltava”, the name the Czechs give to the Moldova. It was beautifully melodic and transparent whether in the solos from the flutes and horns, or in the tutti sections. The orchestra responded splendidly to every tiny gesture that Bychkov employed to enhance the dynamics of the wedding dance, to conjure up the foggy mists, or to tame the speed of the rapids.