Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Serenade in C op. 48 for string
in forma di Sonatina
Finale (Tema Russo)
Tchaikovsky's Serenade was
written in 1880 during one of the happier periods of his life. He
wrote it whilst composing the 1812 Overture which he had promised
everyone world be 'noisy'. Of the serenade he wrote "I am
passionately in love with this work" The Serenade was first
performed in Moscow at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in 1882.
This passion is
immediately felt in the grand opening of the Serenade with its
heraldic passages for celli and bassi and later violins. As the
movement continues into Allegro moderato the impetus of swinging
melodies is breathtaking. The interplay of all the string sections
creates woodwind like effects. The movement closes with repeat of
the solemn introduction before a flamboyant and bright arpeggio
closes the movement.
The Waltz with its superb
and vibrant melody seems to capture the electric atmosphere of a
ball. As the melody develops one feels the masculine quality of
the second violins and celli as they take up the Waltz - gentlemen
courting the girls who surround the ballroom and whose teasing
laughter is heard in the high accompanying figures of the first
violins. An amusing interchange between instruments brings the
Waltz with its final pizzicati to an elegant close.
The Elégie: The
opening larghetto is a superb example of that feeling of longing
which turns to resignation so often found in Russian music. The
beautiful duets in the poco piu animato section, which rise and
die away accompanied by triplets, are suddenly interrupted by a
romantic outburst by violas. Their melody is followed by the
superb 'ballet' episode with violin octaves.
After the cellos
impassioned passage and stringendo with the first violins, a
dramatic silence occurs. The expressive larghetto returns.
Continued passion over a strange throbbing heartbeat from the
double basses draws the movement to a close on a flageolet D.
The Finale (Tema Russo) :The Andante, which also
opens on D (creating a feeling of continuity) introduces the first
of two Russian folksongs. Pictures are painted in the bass-line
seeming to recall dark Russian forests. Wonderful
moments fill the Allegro con spirito with organ like
harmonies in the violas, spirited pizzicati and inventive
bass-lines. The Allegro ends with a whirlwind passage, which
suddenly braces itself for the final glorious Molto meno mosso.
© Lygia O'Riordan copyright
© Lygia 'Riordan