This program is part of the ACO's digital season, ACO StudioCasts.
Majestic and nation-defying music is no small feat for a composer, driven by mind and spirit, and compelled by forces as demanding as nationalism and honour. Creating one of the great modernist works of the 20th century, as Crawford Seeger did with her Andante for Strings is equally demanding.
But the heartfelt, the music coming from the core of woman or man, can ask something special too. Maybe at times even ask more, in the way George Walker’s Lyric for Strings blends lamentation and lushness direct from the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s emotional core.
It was a question of emotional core which played on the mind of Tchaikovsky when he wrote his Serenade for Strings, composed while he was writing the 1812 Overture. As significant as the 1812 was, for him and for Russia, Tchaikovsky acknowledged that for all its virtues, warmth was not so obvious.
The Serenade however, one of the most loved pieces for string orchestra, came from “inner conviction”. We hear Tchaikovsky reaching into his innermost feelings, his nostalgic adoration for Mozart, and the energy and influence of Russian folk music. Tchaikovsky’s former teacher, Anton Rubinstein, was not the only one to say that the Serenade was the best thing he had yet written. When composers ask something special of themselves and write from the heart, they in turn give something truly special back to the world.
12-month subscriptions are $129. 15-day access to single StudioCast films are available for $15 per film.