Semyon Bychkov reviews
'Bychkov’s account of the Eleventh, on the other hand, was one of the most electrifying and shattering I have heard of a Shostakovich symphony in the concert hall, and the BBCSO responded to his visionary direction with playing they seem to reserve for very special conductors...Bychkov never let the tension sag and was rewarded with a tumultuous, spontaneous ovation from both audience and orchestra. What a great conductor he has become.' Sunday Times - BBC Proms (BBCSO / Shostakovich Symphony No 11) 'This is edge-of-the-seat stuff...Bychkov’s attention to detail and his apocalyptic vision set the seal on this outstanding issue, galvanising the assembled multitudes with his magisterial baton. A triumph.' The Sunday Times - Verdi Requiem (WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln and Teatro Regio) "Métaboles", which served as a potent curtain-raiser, and in a glorious rendition of Sibelius' Fifth Symphony after intermission, Bychkov reaffirmed both his own technical and interpretive prowess and the strength of his connection with the Symphony players. It's rare to witness such an instantaneous rapport between an orchestra and a conductor who visits all too infrequently. Bychkov gives a little hand gesture here, a little nod there, and the orchestra responds with an exquisite blend of rich sonority and rhythmic nuance. San Francisco Chronicle, November 09 From the first downbeat of the Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 5, conductor Semyon Bychkov and the San Francisco Symphony exuded the confidence and anticipatory pleasure of travelers setting out on a familiar journey. The audience at Davies Symphony Hall was warmly invited along for the ride. We knew where we were going, which somehow heightened rather than diminished the possibility of new sensations - a discovery of things unseen, overlooked, or forgotten over the years. San Francisco Classical Voice, November 09 After intermission, the big guns came out: the breathtaking [Rachmaninov] Symphony No. 2. There is always the danger that what is arguably the composer's best essay in the genre will turn out hackneyed, or go over the top with goopy sentimentality. It does have one of the most memorable melodies ever written, in the glorious Adagio that could veer right into schmaltz in the wrong hands. No fears with Bychkov. From the very start, we knew he was building a symphonic structure that would certainly peak with that heartbreaking tune, but would also save its hottest energy until the hair-raising excitement of the finale. The clarinet solo was meltingly beautiful, but our eyes remained dry. It was more like admiring a shiny Faberge egg, then delighting even more when it opens to show another glittering surprise. The orchestra played with flawless ensemble for the Rachmaninov Prize conductor, and the audience (exceptionally attentive throughout) responded with an ovation that was thoroughly deserved.