The Russian star conductor Semyon Bychkov regularly returns to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as a guest conductor. He has a special bond with Dmitry Shostakovich’s moving symphonies, especially the Fifth, with which the composer managed to ingratiate himself once again with the Soviet apparatchiks. The premiere received an ovation lasting over half an hour. Semyon Bychkov says, ‘This music displays all manner of moods. After hearing this forty-five-minute work, you’ve lived a whole lifetime.’
Bychkov is also sharing the stage with the piano duo Katia and Marielle Labèque, his sister-in-law and wife respectively. For decades, the duo have set themselves apart with their exciting choice of repertoire. The ‘one-hit’ composer Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto is inevitably programmed these days. His Concerto for Two Pianos is no less romantic, but was long relegated to the shadows. Indeed, the reconstruction of the original score is akin to a detective story.