Photo, Chris Christodoulou

Monday, September 4, 2023

Royal Albert Hall, London

From Bucharest,, back to London for a single substantial Symphony (Nowak’s edition), which received a stoical reading from Semyon Bychkov – of ardour and beauty, yes, but it was not the last word on transcendentalism, of breaking free from Earthly vicissitudes, the course of the work a little too carefully plotted, which is not to deny the BBCSO’s excellent response; however, the first two movements needed a little more momentum (although the Scherzo & Trio relationship was well-managed, the latter flowing) and the slow movement wasn’t indulged if a little chaste. Best of all, the Finale (good hard-hitting timpani during the opening measures), for which Bychkov threw a majestic line over the whole to make the movement as integrated as possible, and there was a real coming-together in the coda that was resolute and satisfying if without papering-over earlier indifferences.