Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony, Op 58

Reviewed on Mon 04 Sep, 2017

Sumptuously recorded within the ample acoustic of Dvořák Hall in Prague's Rudolfinum, it's a splendid performance in every way, consistently involving, compassionate and imaginative.

Volume Two in Semyon Bychkov's 'Tchaikovsky Project' for Decca Classics repeats the success of its predecessor (a superb coupling of the Pathétique Symphony and fantasy overture Romeo and Juliet, reviewed on 17 November 2016). Once again, the characterful contribution of the mighty Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is a huge pleasure in itself, displaying an intoxicating glow, ravishing poise and dashing commitment that are always entirely at the service of Tchaikovsky's remarkable score. What's more, Bychkov is at the very top of his game throughout, his immensely personable yet agreeably thoughtful conception as cogently alert to the vaulting ambition of Tchaikovsky's symphonic plan (the epic finale in particular is held together with uncommon mastery) as it is generously appreciative of the red-blooded drama, sense of pathos and myriad details along the journey. Sumptuously recorded within the ample acoustic of Dvořák Hall in Prague's Rudolfinum, it's a splendid performance in every way, consistently involving, compassionate and imaginative. In other words: if you love Manfred, you really do need to hear this.
–Andrew Achenbach