DIVE IN: Serenades for Strings

Posted on 27 Aug 2018 by Bernard Rofe

BEETHOVEN Romance for Violin and Orchestra No.1 in G major

Often remembered for his skills on the piano, Beethoven was also an accomplished violinist. Along with violin concertos by Brahms, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, Beethoven’s remains one of the great concertos for the instrument. Several years before the monumental concerto, Beethoven wrote two charming single-movement romances for violin and orchestra in which the violin sings lyrically against musical backdrops in a style that harks back to the days of Mozart and Haydn.

ELGAR Serenade for Strings

Elgar’s first instrument was the violin, and he maintained a love for the string family throughout his career. This affection resulted in his ever-popular violin and cello concertos, the Introduction and Allegro and Sospiri. His Serenade for Strings, short but perfectly formed, is a distinctly English work. Serene and noble, Elgar often referred to it as his favourite.

BEETHOVEN (arr. strings) String Quartet in F minor ‘Serioso’

In 1810, Napoleon invaded Vienna and his troops occupied the city. Beethoven’s supporters and patrons fled, but Beethoven, who was almost completely deaf, unlucky in love and in poor health, remained behind. It is under these serious circumstances that he wrote his Opus 95 string quartet, titled “Quartetto Serioso”. Stylistically out of character for Beethoven in 1810, he wrote that the quartet “is written for a small circle of connoisseurs and should never be performed in public”.