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BBC Proms 2010: Prom 5 \ WDR SO \ Bychkov

July 21, 2010

Conductor Semyon Bychkov looked shattered when he gingerly stepped off the podium at the end of tonights concert at the Royal Albert Hall. And with good reason. The programme he conducted and the WDR Symphony Orchestra from Cologne was considerable.

If Wagner’s exquisite act 1 Prelude to Lohengrin demonstrated the string sections ease producing an ethereal sound, then this was nothing to the stamina they and the rest of the band still showed at the end of Strauss’ Alpine Symphony which concluded the concert.

But it would be all to easy to let Strauss’ gargantuan orchestration (and Schuller’s Where the World Ends which occasionally sounded all-too reminiscent of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in places) overshadow an exhilarating performance of the more modestly scored E minor violin concerto by Mendelssohn.

Soloist Viviane Hagner began her interpretation of this well-known work with an elegant poise. And whilst the transition into the second movement seemed at first to be a little hurried, it still successfully prepared the way for the frenetic dance of the last movement.

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