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ClassicsOnline Home » TCHAIKOVSKY, P.: Serenade in C major / The Seasons (arr. A. Gauk) (Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Orbelian)
Lovely, not necessarily familiar Tchaikovsky
Here we have two Tchaikovsky works played by a chamber orchestra: the famous String Serenade, and Alexander Gauk's arrangement of the piano pieces 'The Seasons' (which really should be called 'The Months', as there are twelve of them). I mention the fact that this is a small orchestra, because it gives a great clarity to the music, particularly in the bass: in the Serenade, Tchaikovsky's double-bass line, when not doubling the cellos, can often sound just like a hum or a buzz with a big orchestra. Here you can actually hear the notes!
The performance of the Serenade is lyrical rather than very forceful; at the very start, instead of the strings leaping out of the speakers at you, the melody seems to flower and grow, a nice effect. Time and again through the work you realise how beautiful this music is. That's not to say that excitement is missing, when it's needed. There are a couple of occasions where Orbelian plays around with the tempo, but it's not excessive, and it seems a genuine reaction to the music, rather than something calculated. So, a very nice performance.
'The Seasons' is an often-recorded set of pieces in its original piano form, with a wide variation in mood between the various months. The music takes extremely well to orchestral arrangements, and the one by Gauk has been used by other conductors. It's very Russian in feel, and again the conductor and players show commitment and understanding. As in the Serenade, there is a lot of genuinely soft playing, something that can always be distinguished from the recording engineer just turning the microphones down. In its orchestral guise, 'The Seasons' is a memorable work, not just a curiosity. So, an album that I think you will enjoy immensely.
Incidentally, there are other orchestral arrangements of 'The Seasons'. ClassicsOnline has one available by Peter Breiner for solo violin and orchestra (I have this, and it's very enjoyable), one for strings only (arrangers Geringas and Schatz), and one for piano and orchestra, by Marton Gould.more....
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TCHAIKOVSKY, P.: Serenade in C major / The Seasons...