Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings & Souvenir de Florence
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1. Serenade In C Major For Strings, Op. 48: I. Pezzo In Forma Di Sonatina: Andante Non Troppo
2. Serenade In C Major For Strings, Op. 48: Ii. Walzer: Moderato -Tempo Di Valse
3. Serenade In C Major For Strings, Op 48: Iii Éegie: Larghetto Elegiaco
4. Serenade In C Major For Strings, Op. 48: Iv. Finale (Tema Russo): Andante
5. Souvenir De Florence, Op 70 (Arr For String Orchestra): I Allegro Con Spirito
6. Souvenir De Florence, Op. 70 (Arr. For String Orchestra): Ii. Adagio Cantabile E Con Moto
7. Souvenir De Florence, Op. 70 (Arr. For String Orchestra): Iii. Allegretto Moderato
8. Souvenir De Florence, Op 70 (Arr For String Orchestra): Iv Allegro Vivace
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amoyal begins the album with the Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48, a piece the famously self-critical Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) wrote in 1880. Yet, despite Tchaikovsky's self doubts about most of his music, he was quite confident about the Serenade. He thought it was one of his best works, and it is.
The Serenade is a four-movement piece, drawn up in terms of high Romanticism. Some listeners may prefer the lusher, plusher sound of a full orchestra playing the piece, but Amoyal's smaller forces have the advantage of transparency on their side. Besides, his group create a performance that closely resembles that of one of my favorite conductors and ensembles in this work, Raymond Leppard and the English Chamber Orchestra, although Amoyal takes the Elegie a tad slower and the Finale a tad quicker. But you hear the same spirit involved.
Under Amoyal the opening Andante gushes with vibrant but gentle good cheer, the composer's lush melodies never seeming to end. The Waltz is pure Tchaikovsky, and Amoyal gives it a wonderfully lilting gait, making a graceful transition to the Elegie. Then, the slow movement goes by in a lovely, wispy fashion, perhaps not so affecting as Leppard's version but close, with particularly smooth variations in the rhythm. Likewise, Amoyal gives us a seamless passage into the Finale, which eventually transforms into a lively Cossack dance. Although some critics consider this "light" music, Amoyal obliges one to take it seriously.
With an equally effective Souvenir of Florence and some of the cleanest, most-natural sonics you'll find in any performance, it makes for a very enjoyable issue.
John J. Puccio
The second work on the disc is the orchestral version of Souvenir de Florence, originally written for string sextet. This is a good performance and much more enjoyable to me than its discmate. There are those who prefer the original version but I'm not one of them.