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BBC Symphony Orchestra - Tchaikovsky

Live from the Barbican, Semyon Bychkov conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 2 (soloist: Kirill Gerstein); Symphony in B minor, Op 58 'Manfred'.

Live from the Barbican, the BBC Symphony Orchestra begin their three-concert Beloved Friend Tchaikovsky Project with Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov in the epic Manfred Symphony, and the curious Piano Concerto No.2 in G, Op.44.

Semyon Bychkov's earliest musical love as a child in St Petersburg was Tchaikovsky, a composer whose scores are for him endlessly rewarding, as pure and transparent as a beautiful lake. Tonight, as the curator of the Beloved Friend series, he and the BBC SO offer a rare chance to hear Manfred, one of Tchaikovsky's most dramatic creations. The Symphony explores the tormented Byronic hero of the title, his forlorn wanderings in the Alps, his death and redemption. "It seems to me the best of my symphonic compositions" Tchaikovsky explained in a letter to his patroness Nadezhda von Meck.

First, orchestra and conductor share the stage with fellow Russian, distinguished pianist Kirill Gerstein for Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto. Less well known than the First Piano Concerto this is music charged with stirring melodies, and passages of great virtuosity for the soloist in the outer movements; but things really turn an unusual corner in the slow middle movement. Here the pianist is joined by solo violin and cello in a sort of triple-concerto, hushed with some of Tchaikovsky's most tender sounds.

Presented by Martin Handley

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 2 in G major, Op.44

8.10pm Interval

Tchaikovsky: "Manfred" Symphony in B minor, Op.58

Kirill Gerstein (piano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Semyon Bychkov (conductor).

2 hours, 25 minutes

Music Played

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Piano Concerto No.2 in G Op.44

    Performer: Kirill Gerstein. Conductor: Semyon Bychkov.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Manfred Symphony Op.68

    Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Semyon Bychkov.


Role Contributor
Performer BBC Symphony Orchestra


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