Episode 7, 2020: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings
Wednesday 29 July 2020
This week ANAM Music Librarian, Phil Lambert, talks about one of the most popular String Serenades by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The story begins in 1868 when the master composer was putting together an anthology of Russian folk songs for piano duets. The arrangements are short and have simple harmonies. In September of 1880, Tchaikovsky was working on a commission to commemorate the victory of Russia over Napoleon, his famous 1812 Overture. Around the same time, he began jotting down ideas for another piece, convinced that a Serenade for a large string orchestra would permit him to create lush texture without having to take on the intellectual weight of a symphony. His Serenade for Strings was completed in November 1880. Its most interesting quality is how the simple Russian folk songs he composed 12 years prior came together with the rest of the composition to give the finale a very rustic romp.
Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings is easily one of the string masterpieces that is still very popular to this day. Phil talks to ANAM alumnus Liam Oborne (violin 2019) who admitted he stopped enjoying performing it at some point, until performing it with Israeli violinist Gregory Ahss renewed his appreciation for this piece. Gregory directed and performed this piece with the ANAM string orchestra during his 2019 ANAM Residency. The performance featured in this episode is from ANAM’s Joy and Heartbreak concert.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
WATCH THE PERFORMANCE
TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade in C major for strings
Gregory Ahss violin/director
Click here to listen to the previous episode, ANAM Radio: Dvořák’s Serenade for winds
Click here to listen to the next episode, ANAM Radio: Strauss's Metamorphosen