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.
22nd October 2018
At the third concert on Friday, the performance [of Berio’s Sinfonia] was not merely excellent, but also very relaxed and precisely coordinated thanks to the musicians having already played it. In particular, the eight singers of the London Voices were visibly engrossed with the music. The voices hovering above the orchestral layer created intoxicating soundscapes supported by simple electronic amplification. The layers were so lucidly shaped that one got the impression of observing the clouds in an inversion from above on a mountain peak
18th October 2018
Bychkov wishes to emphasise the Czech classics, but he also wishes to promote modern music. [In Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony] The Orchestra played with verve and lyricism, and it clearly saw eye to eye with its new Chief Conductor
18th October 2018
The Chief Conductor led the music [in Berio’s Sinfonia] insightfully, and the London Voices, an eight-member amplified vocal group, sounded wonderfully prepared with secure intonation, and they also made their entrances in the rather complex structures with confidence. The Orchestra carried out the unusual task well, and the result was colourful and interesting