Introduction

BELOVED FRIEND: TCHAIKOVSKY PROJECT

Festivals in London & New York, & The Start of a Tchaikovsky Recording Cycle

“What is this music that we love so deeply if not our beloved friend? I’ve loved Tchaikovsky’s music ever since I can remember. Like all first loves this one never died”
Semyon Bychkov

Semyon Bychkov’s recent return to Eugene Onegin at London’s Covent Garden after 15 years signals the beginning of a period where the music of Russia, and particularly Tchaikovsky, becomes a major focus of his repertoire.  Projects in London and New York, together with recordings of the symphonies and concertos, as well as plans for a series of Tchaikovsky residencies – including in Vienna and Paris – form the backbone of his programming which looks to the music of his formative years.

October marks the release of the first in a cycle of Tchaikovsky recordings that Bychkov will realise with the Czech Philharmonic for Decca.  Artistic Director of the Czech Philharmonic’s Tchaikovsky Project which encompasses recordings and concerts, Bychkov’s first release with the Orchestra features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 Pathétique coupled with Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture.  

The first of the Tchaikovsky projects takes place in London in October 2016 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, where Bychkov holds the honorary title of Günter Wand Conducting Chair.  Beloved Friend: Tchaikovsky Project consists of three concerts built around Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Manfred Symphony, Serenade for Strings and Francesca da Rimini, as well as the Piano Concerto No. 2 and, the unfinished Piano Concerto No. 3.  Programmes also feature works by Rachmaninov and Taneyev and, in addition to the three concerts, the BBC SO will present Beloved Friend, a dramatized recital in words, music and dance, written by Oscar-winning playwright Sir Ronald Harwood.

In late January/early February 2017, Semyon Bychkov will bring his Tchaikovsky project to New York, where the New York Philharmonic will present Beloved Friend – Tchaikovsky and His World: A Philharmonic Festival.  New York’s three week series of symphonic and chamber concerts builds on much of the repertoire performed in London with the addition of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and the New York première of the new urtext edition of the 1879 version of Piano Concerto No. 1 performed by its champion, Kirill Gerstein.

Throughout the period, Semyon Bychkov will be continuing to record his Tchaikovsky cycle with the Czech Philharmonic. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 Pathétique and the Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture will be followed by recordings of Symphony No. 3, Serenade for Strings and Piano Concerto No. 1.