News & Reviews: Review

November 2019

Wiener Zeitung

20th November 2019

Marion Eigl

Czech Philharmonic: radiant sound – the Orchestra convinced at the Musikverein.

It is a matter of heart: for several years, Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic have dedicated themselves to the works of Tchaikovsky. During that time the results have been recorded and are now being presented at the Vienna Musikverein. Bychkov, an American of Russian descent, has been Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic since last season when he succeeded the late Jiří Bělohlávek. The biography of the Prague-based ensemble is as closely linked to prominent composers (Dvořák, Mahler), as it is with contemporary events. Bychkov saw the ideal breeding ground for Tchaikovsky’s music in both the Orchestra’s rich tradition and its special relationship to East and West.

The audience’s enthusiasm was accordingly high on Tuesday over the confident and responsive Orchestra, which best expressed its strengths in the dazzling forte passages, especially the bellicose brass section. Dedicated: Bychkov conducted the last item on the programme – Tchaikovsky’s swan song, the Sixth Symphony Pathétique – by heart.

The Violin Concerto that came before it retained the phenomenal violin sound of the impeccably elegant Renaud Capuçon. One hundred percent taste, zero percent excess. It could be an advertising slogan for the Frenchman’s technique and the intense radiance of his hands dominating the Guarneri del Gesù “Panette”, which previously belonged to Isaac Stern.