Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Ask any conductor or teacher for their all-time favorite works of standard string literature, and the Tchaikovsky Serenade will be among the top picks. Written in 1880, the four-movement piece shows Tchaikovsky at his most confident and economical. Symphony No. 2 has a finale similar to the finale of the serenade, both involving variations on folk songs. Tchaikovsky can write with simplicity as well as brilliance; really, who better to set nineteenth-century orchestral strings on fire? The composer cleverly uses shorter forms, such as the first movement labeled Pezzo in forma di Sonatina, to present his material without the hassle and stress of a development section. The second movement, Waltz, is perfectly proportioned, and we are charmed immediately. One of the reasons we feel such intensity when we play or listen to the uiSerenade’s beginning or ending is that the scoring is tightly closed rather than open – this concentrates the sound in an unusually direct and powerful way. Tchaikovsky could surely write a waltz, and this one ranks among his best. The writing grabs our attention from the opening chords and does not let us go until it has wrung out the last drops of intensity at the end.
Acclaimed music editor Sandra Dackow has carefully selected these string orchestra titles from the standard repertoire to help your advanced orchestra move to the next level. Unsimplified and uncut, SANDRA DACKOW’S EXPRESSIVE GEMS are marked with grade-appropriate bowings and fingerings. Included are detailed performance notes to help introduce your orchestra to these more challenging titles.
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