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Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings & Souvenir de Florence

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Audio CD, 8 Apr 2013
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Serenade in C Major for Strings, Op. 48: I. Pezzo in forma di sonatina: Andante non troppo - Allegro moderato
  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 - Allegro con spirito
  5. Souvenir de Florence, Op 70 (Arr for String Orchestra): I Allegro con spirito - Piu mosso, vivace assai - Prestissimo
  6. Souvenir de Florence, Op. 70 (Arr. for String Orchestra): II. Adagio cantabile e con moto - Moderato -Tempo I
  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 - Piu vivace

Product description

WEA 2564652182; WEA ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Orchestrale

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthusiastic, enjoyable, cleanly played performances 6 Aug. 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Camerata de Lausanne is a small string orchestra of just over a dozen players, founded in 2002 by its leader, violinist Pierre Amoyal. They play with enthusiasm and virtuosity, exemplified here by their performances of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings and Souvenir of Florence.

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
Classical Candor
3.0 out of 5 stars Tchaikovsky's All-String Masterpieces 25 July 2013
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings has a special place in my heart because when I was a boy, back in the dark ages, the Élegie movement was the sign-on/sign-off piece for the radio broadcasts of our local orchestra. (Are you old enough to remember when most regional orchestras were heard regularly on the radio?) And I've collected recordings of it since I began having enough money to buy records. This one is by a sixteen-string Swiss group of young instrumentalists led by the eminent French violinist Pierre Amoyal. It is entirely enjoyable except for one thing: there aren't enough strings. Tchaikovsky himself wrote "The larger number of players in the string orchestra, the more this shall be in accordance with the author's wishes", and in my experience it is true that a larger group provides a sexier quality for this luscious score. That being said, I have no argument with the interpretation nor with the playing. However, one could probably do better by having the recording by the string section of the Berlin Philharmonic, now at budget price: Tchaikowsky: "1812" Overture, Serenade for Strings, Polonaise and Waltz from "Eugene Onegin" or of the Philadelphia Orchestra Symphony 5 / Serenade for Strings. And even a chamber orchestra version with Philippe Entremont conducting the Vienna Chamber Orchestra has more juice: Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Souvenir De Florence, and it also includes the Souvenir de Florence in its string-orchestra guise; it is at budget price, too. Probably the most troubling point about the present recording is its price -- currently $23.72 -- which seems out of line for a single CD, particularly one that contains only 60 minutes of music.

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.

Scott Morrison
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