Masterworks in Concert: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings

Masterworks in Concert: Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings

Though separated by nearly a century, Tchaikovsky made no secret of his love for Mozart and his works. In fact, Tchaikovsky once claimed that “Mozart is the highest, the culminating point that beauty has attained in the sphere of music.” With his glowing admiration of the composer, it is no small wonder that Tchaikovsky’s music, despite its unique character, often follows in Mozart’s footsteps.

A portrait of Tchaikovsky as a young man

One work that especially shows Tchaikovsky’s fascination with the classical composer is his Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48. Although his Orchestral Suite No. 4, commonly known as Mozartiana, is more overtly dedicated to Mozart, the Serenade for Strings better shows Tchaikovsky’s ability to recreate and synthesize Mozart’s style with his own. The first movement of the work is intended as an imitation of Mozart with little, if any, of Tchaikovsky’s own particular style. However, after this movement Tchaikovsky begins to modernize the work. The second movement is a waltz, a slight update from the minuet of Mozart’s time. By the third movement, the work becomes the kind of lyrical romanticism that Tchaikovsky is best known for. The fourth movement marks the furthest departure yet, using multiple Russian folk songs as motifs, and building to the climax of the work. However, right when it seems that Tchaikovsky is leading the piece to the final cadence, he instead re-introduces the Mozart-like material from the very first movement, and from then intertwines his and Mozart’s styles which build up to the true, satisfying final cadence in concert.

Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major will be performed in Carnegie Hall on February 18, 2018, under the baton of Conductor Karen Frink. Tickets to the event will be available two months prior to the concert. To find out about other Carnegie Hall concerts on MidAmerica Productions’ 35th season, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

Over the past 35 years, MidAmerica Productions has produced over 1300 concerts in Carnegie Hall and in historic concert halls all over the world. To have your ensemble perform in Carnegie Hall or internationally, give us a call at 212-239-0205 or visit us at

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