Tchaikovsky: Serenade & Seasons

Moscow Chamber Orchestra
Constantine Orbelian, conductor

There is no other work in the piano literature similar to Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons, in which the composer attempts to describe the eternal stream of life in nature and in humankind. Tchaikovsky wrote this cycle of twelve piano pieces during 1876, and it was first published as a supplement to the monthly theatre magazine The Novelist. Commissioned to write the cycle by the famous publisher N. Bernard, Tchaikovsky set to work with enthusiasm. It is noteworthy that the composer immediately approved all of the twelve subtitles the publisher suggested for the pieces, along with the evocative verses by outstanding Russian poets. The outstanding Russian conductor and composer Alexander Gauk (1893-1963) arranged The Seasons for symphony orchestra in 1942. His imaginative orchestration of The Seasons was done in a very tasteful manner, and Constantine Orbelian, conductor of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, has followed Gauk’s lead in making a few discreet modifications for this recording. 

The form of the Serenade for Strings is close to that of a suite for orchestra in classical style, thus the small composition of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra strings effectively illuminates the vivid character of the work. To this day the Serenade for Strings is one of the most familiar and well-loved classical pieces ever, and with the masterful playing and creative touch of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, one can appreciate again the beautiful music that Tchaikosvky is so readily associated with writing. One of the world’s great chamber orchestras, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra was created in 1956 by renowned conductor and violist Rudolph Barshai, and has been an inspiration to important Russian composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, who entrusted the first performance of his 14th Symphony to the orchestra. 
The appointment of Constantine Orbelian as Music Director of the MCO in 1991 brought the orchestra into a new era of international activity and acclaim. Under Orbelian’s direction, the MCO has toured extensively in Europe, the Far East, and North and South America. Maestro Orbelian and the MCO now perform more than 120 concerts per year. It is also under Orbelian’s leadership that the orchestra was accorded the honor of “Academic” in its official Russian title (Russian State Academic Chamber Orchestra).
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Op. 48; The Seasons, Op. 37b