Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos Czech Philharmonic, Kirill Gerstein & Semyon Bychkov

Album info



Label: Decca

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Concertos

Artist: Czech Philharmonic, Kirill Gerstein & Semyon Bychkov

Composer: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

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  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893): Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, TH.24 "Winter Reveries":
  • 1Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, TH.24 "Winter Reveries": 1. Allegro tranquillo12:54
  • 2Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, TH.24 "Winter Reveries": 2. Adagio cantabile ma non tanto11:40
  • 3Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, TH.24 "Winter Reveries": 3. Scherzo: Allegro scherzando giocoso08:37
  • 4Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, TH.24 "Winter Reveries": 4. Finale: Andante lugubre - Allegro maestoso14:03
  • Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, TH.25 "Little Russian":
  • 5Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, TH.25 "Little Russian": 1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro vivo11:37
  • 6Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, TH.25 "Little Russian": 2. Andantino marziale, quasi moderato08:38
  • 7Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, TH.25 "Little Russian": 3. Scherzo: Allegro molto vivace - Trio: L'istesso tempo05:41
  • 8Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 17, TH.25 "Little Russian": 4. Finale. Moderato assai - Allegro vivo - Presto11:28
  • Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish":
  • 9Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish": 1. Introduzione e Allegro14:17
  • 10Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish": 2. Alla tedesca: Allegro moderato06:47
  • 11Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish": 3. Andante elegiaco10:20
  • 12Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish": 4. Scherzo: Allegro vivo06:09
  • 13Symphony No. 3 in D Major, Op. 29, TH.26 "Polish": 5. Finale: Allegro con fuoco09:38
  • Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH.27:
  • 14Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH.27: 1. Andante sostenuto - Moderato con anima18:41
  • 15Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH.27: 2. Andantino in modo di canzone10:19
  • 16Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH.27: 3. Scherzo: Pizzicato ostinato - Allegro05:51
  • 17Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36, TH.27: 4. Finale: Allegro con fuoco09:23
  • Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29:
  • 18Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29: 1. Andante - Allegro con anima14:23
  • 19Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29: 2. Andante cantabile con alcuna licenza12:26
  • 20Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29: 3. Valse: Allegro moderato06:11
  • 21Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64, TH.29: 4. Finale: Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace12:18
  • Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74, TH.30:
  • 22Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74, TH.30: 1. Adagio - Allegro non troppo17:58
  • 23Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74, TH.30: 2. Allegro con grazia08:12
  • 24Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74, TH.30: 3. Allegro molto vivace09:07
  • 25Symphony No. 6 In B Minor, Op. 74, TH.30: 4. Finale: Adagio lamentoso - Andante09:19
  • Manfred Symphony, Op. 58, TH.28:
  • 26Manfred Symphony, Op. 58, TH.28: 1. Lento lugubre - Moderato con moto - Andante17:46
  • 27Manfred Symphony, Op. 58, TH.28: 2. Vivace con spirito09:48
  • 28Manfred Symphony, Op. 58, TH.28: 3. Andante con moto11:31
  • 29Manfred Symphony, Op. 58, TH.28: 4. Allegro con fuoco20:11
  • Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, TH 55:
  • 30Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, TH 55: 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito (1879 Version)21:13
  • 31Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, TH 55: 2. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I (1879 Version)06:53
  • 32Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 23, TH 55: 3. Allegro con fuoco (1879 Version)07:17
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 44, TH 60:
  • 33Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 44, TH 60: 1. Allegro brillante22:30
  • 34Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 44, TH 60: 2. Andante non troppo16:16
  • 35Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 44, TH 60: 3. Allegro con fuoco07:53
  • Piano Concerto No.3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 75, TH.65:
  • 36Piano Concerto No.3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 75, TH.65: 1. Allegro brillante16:10
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
  • 37Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture, TH.4219:17
  • 38Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32, TH 4624:14
  • Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH.48:
  • 39Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH.48: 1. Pezzo in forma di sonatina: Andante non troppo - Allegro moderato09:39
  • 40Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH.48: 2. Valse: Moderato (Tempo di valse)04:03
  • 41Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH.48: 3. Elégie: Larghetto elegiaco09:00
  • 42Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH.48: 4. Finale (Tema russo): Andante - Allegro con spirito07:44
  • Total Runtime08:17:22

Info for Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos

Following new research, Semyon Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic present a stunning interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral repertoire. This seven album collection marks the orchestra’s first major undertaking with Bychkov, their newly appointed Chief Conductor and Music Director The release is supported by an extensive touring plan in 2019, with a BBC Prom and Tchaikovsky residencies in Tokyo, Vienna, Paris and Prague

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)

The Czech Philharmonic’s first major undertaking with now Chief Conductor and Music Director Semyon Bychkov – The Tchaikovsky Project – will see an illustrious culmination in 2019. Over the past seasons, since the project’s inception in 2015, the orchestra and conductor have been delving into exhaustive exploration of Tchaikovsky’s music. The first two recordings in the project, released on Decca in 2016 and 2017, have received wide critical acclaim and the year 2019 sees a series of Tchaikovsky residences in Tokyo, Vienna and Paris as well as at home in Prague. In August this year, Decca Classics will release the complete boxset for The Tchaikovsky Project: all of the composer’s symphonies, the three piano concertos with soloist Kirill Gerstein, Romeo & Juliet, Serenade for Strings and Francesca da Rimini. The boxset marks the label’s first Tchaikovsky cycle in nearly 40 years and the first in high-definition 96K/24-bit sound.

“The Tchaikovsky Project first originated when I was asked if I would be interested recording Tchaikovsky’s symphony cycle with the Czech Philharmonic” comments Semyon Bychkov. “It took me about thirty seconds to realise that the idea was absolutely fascinating. I thought the combination of the Czech Philharmonic being what it is, and the orchestra’s country having its Western traditions and belonging in the West as well as the East, would create a very interesting approach to express the spirit of Tchaikovsky’s music. One that would be neither purely Russian, nor purely Western, but in a way a mixture of the two. And I think this is what makes the project so fascinating because at the end of the day, as is the case with all great music, the music of Tchaikovsky is universal.”

Named one of the world’s top orchestras by Gramophone, the Czech Philharmonic – which in 1896 gave its first concert in its current form under Antonín Dvořák – has a steadfast and proud history that reflects its place both at the heart of Europe and at the centre of its country’s turbulent history. For the 2018-19 season, the Czech Philharmonic welcomed Semyon Bychkov as the fourth non-Czech Music Director and Chief Conductor in the orchestra’s 122-year history. As Chief Executive David Mareček noted, “After only a short time with Semyon Bychkov as our Music Director and Chief Conductor, we could see that it was an outstandingly fortunate match. The musical chemistry is obvious whether in Tchaikovsky or Dvořák, as we heard on tour in the United States, in Germany and in Vienna. The musicians, my colleagues and I believe that it is equally audible in the new Tchaikovsky box set and are very happy to have such a beautiful and wide-ranging musical experience to mark the start of our relationship.”

The Tchaikovsky Project is characterised by the way in which the orchestra and conductor have applied exhaustive research methodology to create a deep understanding for the works as whole entities. While the Czech Philharmonic was already recognised for its relationship to the music of Tchaikovsky, The Tchaikovsky Project has involved rigorous exploration of works previously not known to the orchestra; for example the Manfred Symphony. Equally important to the project, and equally rigorous, has been the rediscovery of pieces which have already been recorded countless times by the world’s orchestras – and through expansive research and studying of the scores finding the motivation, need and urgency to record them again.

The first recording instalment in The Tchaikovsky Project in 2016 – the Pathétique Symphony No. 6 coupled with the Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture – was followed by the Manfred Symphony in 2017. The review of the former in Gramophone, where it was made Editor’s Choice, commended the “powerful, devastating” Pathétique and its critic wrote of the Fantasy-Overture that “it feels personal in a way that the warm, homespun playing of the Czech Philharmonic only accentuates.” About the recording of the Manfred Symphony, The Sunday Times – where the disc was Album of the Week as well as one of the 100 Best Records of The Year – noted that “this outstanding issue makes one look forward to the other five canonical symphonies with impatience.”

Prior to recording each piece, the orchestra and Semyon Bychkov performed them live in concerts – then stepped away for a time before recreating them in recording. While working in the studio, every orchestra member had the chance to listen back to the audio between takes and was encouraged to voice any feelings of need for another take – a working method emphasising the individual ownership and responsibility of each player; and the importance of the individual to the whole.

As a transitional project into new leadership, The Tchaikovsky Project has allowed for a strong and auspicious start of the Czech Philharmonic’s creative partnership with its new Music Director and Chief Conductor. The project, signified by complete immersion into a composer’s world in the concert hall as well as recording studio, is emblematic of Semyon Bychkov’s in depth way of working – and the first of several journeys of its kind for the Czech Philharmonic. They will next delve into the music of Mahler, furthering their fusion of traditions of the East and West.

Kirill Gerstein, piano
Czech Philharmonic
Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Semyon Bychkov
Born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1952, Semyon Bychkov was 20 when he won the Rachmaninov Conducting Competition. Two years later, having been denied his prize of conducting the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, he left the former Soviet Union where, from the age of five, he had been singled out for an extraordinarily privileged education in music. First studying piano, Bychkov was then selected to study at the Glinka Choir School and received his first conducting lesson aged 13. Four years later he enrolled at the Leningrad Conservatory where he studied conducting with the legendary Ilya Musin.

By the time Bychkov returned to St Petersburg in 1989 as the Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor, he had enjoyed success in the US as Music Director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic. His international career, which had begun in France where he made his debuts with the Opéra de Lyon and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, had taken off when a series of high-profile cancellations resulted in invitations to conduct the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras. In 1989, he was named Music Director of the Orchestre de Paris; in 1997, Chief Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne; and, the following year, Chief Conductor of the Dresden Semperoper.

Semyon Bychkov’s approach to music making combines innate musicality with the rigours of Russian pedagogy. With his time carefully balanced between the concert hall and the opera house, Bychkov conducts repertoire that spans four centuries.

In the opera house, Bychkov is recognised for his interpretation of Strauss, Wagner and Verdi. Nonetheless, while Principal Guest Conductor of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, his productions of Janáček’s Jenufa, Schubert’s Fierrabras, Puccini’s La bohème, Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov were awarded the prestigious Premio Abbiati. Most recently, Semyon Bychkov conducted Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera House – his recording of the work was chosen by Opera Magazine as one of the 30 ‘all-time great recordings’; and Wagner’s Parsifal at Madrid’s Teatro Real. He will open the 2016-17 season at Covent Garden with a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and in spring 2017, will conduct Parsifal at the Wiener Staatsoper.

Bychkov began the 2015-16 season on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic, including concerts at the BBC Proms, Lucerne Festival and the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, and later in the year, conducted the Orchestra’s annual Schönbrunn concert to an audience of over 100,000. The concert was broadcast live across the world and released by Sony Classical on both CD and DVD. In the US, he conducted the Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic; while in Europe, he returned for engagements with the Munich Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as well as beginning a long-term Tchaikovsky project with the Czech Philharmonic and touring with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Bychkov’s recording career began in 1986 when he signed with Philips and began a significant collaboration which produced an extensive discography with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Orchestre de Paris. These were later followed by a series of benchmark recordings, the result of his 13-year collaboration (1997-2010) with WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. The repertoire includes a complete cycle of Brahms Symphonies, and works by Strauss (Elektra, Daphne, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Alpensinfonie, Till Eulenspiegel), Mahler (Symphony No. 3, Das Lied von der Erde), Shostakovich (Symphony Nos. 4, 7, 8, 10, 11), Rachmaninov, Verdi (Requiem), Detlev Glanert and York Höller. His recording of Lohengrin was voted BBC Music Magazine’s Record of the Year in 2010. In October 2016, Decca will release the first CD of the Tchaikovsky Project, a long-term collaboration with the Czech Philharmonic which will encompass all of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, featuring Symphony No. 6 Pathétique coupled with Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture.

Semyon Bychkov currently holds the Klemperer Chair of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, and the Gunther Wand Chair with the BBC Symphony Orchestra with whom he appears annually at the BBC Proms. The International Opera Awards named Semyon Bychkov 2015’s Conductor of the Year.

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