24 Sep 2020

TCHAIKOVSKY: Serenade For Strings Op 48

From Music Alive, 8:04 pm on 24 September 2020

Performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra at their Premier Series concert, 'Messages to Mozart', Auckland Town Hall, 24 September 2020 - a concert without a live audience.

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Photo: screenshot ex APO video

Tchaikovsky wrote his Serenade for Strings in 1880.

He produced two quite contrasting works very quickly: a festival overture and the serenade. He described the overture as "very noisy" and said he wrote it "without much warmth or enthusiasm – therefore it has no great artistic value" – he was talking about the 1812 Overture.

The serenade on the other hand, he ventured to hope was "not wholly lacking in artistic qualities." It was a piece from the heart and an immediate success.

Tchaikovsky described the opening movement as his "homage to Mozart", intending to imitate his style, referring back to the slow introductions to a few of Mozart’s symphonies and the light Classical form of a sonatina for the middle section. But its probably more like the kind of music that Tchaikovsky would have written if he’d been around in Mozart’s era.

Tchaikovsky’s Russian soul is expressed in the Finale, where he borrows a folk tune from the Volga region, and the main theme of the movement is a popular dance tune from Moscow.

Recorded by RNZ Concert
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay