Tchaikovsky – Serenade for Strings (Metamorphose String Orchestra)

Conducted by Pavel Lyubomudrov, the Metamorphose String Orchestra (based in Minsk, Belarus) performs Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48. An HD video published by the Halidon Music channel.

Serenade for Strings

Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings was composed in 1880 and given a private performance at the Moscow Conservatory on 3 December 1880. Its first public performance was in St Petersburg on 30 October 1881 under Eduard Napravnik.

Serenade for Strings has 4 movements. With the starting times in the video:

  1. Pezzo in forma di sonatina: Andante non troppo – Allegro moderato. Tchaikovsky intended the first movement to be an imitation of Mozart’s style, and it was based on the form of the classical sonatina, with a slow introduction. The stirring 36-bar Andante introduction is marked “sempre marcatissimo” and littered with double-stopping in the violins and violas, forming towering chordal structures. This introduction is re-stated at the end of the movement, and then reappears, transformed, in the coda of the fourth movement, tying the entire work together. On the second page of the score, Tchaikovsky wrote, “The larger number of players in the string orchestra, the more this shall be in accordance with the author’s wishes.”
  2. Valse: Moderato — Tempo di valse. The second movement, Valse, has become a popular piece in its own right. At its premiere, the movement had to be repeated. Anton Rubinstein (November 28 [O.S. November 16] 1829 – November 20 [O.S. November 8] 1894), the Russian pianist, composer and conductor, and Tchaikovsky’s former teacher declared that the second movement is Tchaikovsky’s best piece. Considering the dance origins of the minuet and trio, and its usurpation by the abstract instrumental genres of the 18th century, it seems sensible that Tchaikovsky would integrate the most amorous of 19th-century dances into his symphonies and the String Serenade.
  3. Élégie: Larghetto elegiaco. The third movement, Élégie, opens with another chorale-like passage, here, one that incessantly aspires to rise above its mezza-voce tessitura. The tender melodic writing of the first theme is brought to fruition upon its return, elaborated with another, more florid melodic layer; the transparent soaring counterpoint floats above the lightest of accompaniments, arpeggiated pizzicato figures in the low strings. The darker, more desperate voice found in the composer’s last three symphonies dominates much of the mood of this movement.
  4. Finale (Tema russo): Andante – Allegro con spirito. The fourth movement opens with an introduction in the dominant key (G), bringing us back one step closer to earth, smoothly linking the D-major Elegia and the C-major Finale. The Andante introduction is based on a Russian folk tune, a Volga “hauling song.” Both the main theme of the Allegro con spirito, based on the shape of the Serenade’s opening chorale, and that chorale itself, which is the movement’s penultimate gesture, provide an arching sense of unity which spans the entire work.

Metamorphose String Orchestra

Metamorphose String Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky - Serenade for Strings
Metamorphose String Orchestra

Founded in 2015 by conductor Pavel Lyubomudrov, a graduate of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory, the Metamorphose String Orchestra is a member of the prestigious Belarusian Union of Musician. Since its inception, the Orchestra has played more than 20 concerts in Minsk, all met with great critical acclaim. With its constantly-changing repertoire, the Orchestra proves true to their name – experimentation is in their DNA. Special emphasis is put on Belarusian and Russian composers. The Orchestra’s repertoire currently includes works by Prokofiev (“Romeo and Juliet”) and Tchaikovsky (“The Nutcracker“, “Suite for Strings Op. 48”), as well as pillars of the classical repertoire such as Beethoven’s “Heroic” Symphony, Grieg’s “Holberg Suite”, Bizet’s “Carmen“, Haydn’s “Seven Words of the Savior on the Cross” and Britten’s “Simple Symphony”. In 2016, the Orchestra premiered the works of A. Litvinovsky (“Le Grand Cahier”, for the stage production of the same name) and A. Pozharitsky. Throughout its life, the Orchestra has performed with prominent musicians and collaborated with important personalities of the Belarusian artistic community, such as O. Podov (Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus, Concertmaster of the State Chamber and the State Academic Symphony Orchestra) and Yulia Stefanovich (Honoured Artist of the Republic of Belarus). The Orchestra has also shared stages with flautist Maria Fedotova (Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg), cellist Mikael Samsonov (Belarus-Germany), oboist Juan Manuel Garcia-Cano (Spain) and pianist Stanislav Soloviev, just to mention a few. In 2016, the Orchestra recorded their first album, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, in the unique acoustics of the church of St. Roch. The same year, they performed at summer festival “KolerFest” (held at the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Life), and were invited to perform at the concert of American metal band Manowar in Minsk, proving once again their versatility, creativity, and talent.

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