Conductor Semyon Bychkov has been touring the world celebrating the music of Peter Tchaikovsky. Bychhov's projects include a Tchaikovsky Festival with the New York Philharmonic, a Tchaikovsky project with the BBC Symphony, and a new recording of Tchaikovsky's music with the Czech Philharmonic, which will be featured on the Feb. 1 episode of New Classical Tracks.
Bychkov says his immersion into the various Tchaikovsky threads began with the New York Philharmonic, which asked him to do a three-week project based on Tchaikovsky's music. "I had carte blanche, so I started thinking, 'What kind of music will we present?'," Bychkov explains. "Not all of it, by the way, by Tchaikovsky mdash; of course, he dominates, but I wanted just to have a little bit of something else from people that were close to him. For example, [Mikhail] Glinka, who was the father of Russian music, as Tchaikovsky called him. 'The bud from which the tree of Russian music grew' — that's how Tchaikovsky described Glinka's role in music — but of course, it is centered on Tchaikovsky."
The New York Philharmonic's series is entitled Beloved Friend — Tchaikovsky and His World. "The expression itself comes from letters between Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck, who was his confidante, [and] his supporter who enabled him to live comfortably and devote his entire life to composition, a woman who was in love with him but that he never met — he refused to meet in person," Bychkov explains. "And so the friendship took place entirely through correspondence."
Bychkov thought the expression "Beloved Friend" makes a highly appropriate title for his New York Philharmonic series. "First of all, it is something which is so tender and so sincere, and it shows of course how each felt about the other," Bychkov says. "But it also shows how I feel about him, Tchaikovsky's music, and how many people do, too, for that matter."
ResourcesNew York Philharmonic - official site
Semyon Bychkov - official site