Arts Blog

Tchaikovsky is conductor’s “Beloved Friend”

Being Russian, conductor Semyon Bychkov seems naturally to be drawn to the music of his countrymen, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, the maestro would argue that Tchaikovsky’s music is everyone’s music. While the Tchaikovsky Project that Mr. Bychkov has just launched has personal meaning for the conductor, and is embarking on this multi-year, multimedia endeavor out of love for Tchaikovsky’s music, the conductor tells us in my conversation with him, that the Russian Romantic composer touches us all. All great music does that, but Tchaikovsky is special because, as Mr. Bychkov explains, his music is “truly autobiographical”. This becomes especially clear as the “Pathétique” symphony unfolds. We hear Bychkov’s point of view that the music was not the “requiem” that some argue it to be, and this approach results in an especially vibrant performance of the composer’s final symphonic utterance. It’s also eminent in the much earlier work, Romeo and Juliet, which holds within it one of the most famous melodies of all time. A melodist Tchaikovsky could be, but as Semyon Bychkov makes clear, he was so much more. I’m looking forward with great eagerness to hear where Mr. Bychkov leads us in his follow-up to this inaugural “project” recording.

The Tchaikovsky Project: Pathetique & Romeo & JulietBychkov, Czech Philharmonic
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