MOZART Serenade 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K 525
TCHAIKOVSKY Sinfonia Opus 30a orchestra version by Nurhan Arman
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About the Music

To view Maestro Nurhan Arman's program commentary please click here

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Serenade 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' K. 525 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Eine kleine Nachtmusik is dated August 10, 1787 and one thing is sadly certain—there is a lost movement. All serenades contained two minuet movements. We are left with the tantalizing entry of the lost movement in Mozart’s own catalogue listing. The missing movement would follow movement one. That the orchestration is only for strings is also unique for this entertainment genre. But all this now hardly matters. Eine kleine Nacthmusik is a musical equivalent of a famous line of Shakespeare, reminding us from time to time that clichés become clichés for a very, very good reason. This is Don Giovanni without its complicated drama, just pure and simple love music, especially in the famous Romanze. This favorite G major serenade is deserving of its audience affection, a wonderful combination of integrity and accessibility.

Sinfonia (String Quartet No.3) Op. 30a by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Orchestra version by Nurhan Arman

“I think I have rather written myself out. I’m beginning to repeat myself and cannot conceive anything new. Have I really sung my swan song and have nowhere further to go?” Always insecure, and at the same time ambitious to achieve the highest degree of artistic perfection, Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modeste, tormented by self-doubt, just before the private premiere of his Third Quartet in March 1876. He could not foresee that audiences would actually burst into tears during the Andante funebre movement when the quartet had its first public performances a few weeks later.

Tchaikovsky had composed the quartet in less than four weeks as a tribute to Ferdinand Laub, who had died a year before. Laub had played first violin in the premieres of Tchaikovsky’s first two quartets; his third and last quartet was a memorial for his colleague and friend.

In the elegiac opening Andante, the first violin intones a hymn-like melody that unfolds into a funeral march. The main theme of the movement is a valse triste that incorporates a variety of thematic and rhythmic ideas, including an offset-rhythmic episode that is one of Tchaikovsky’s musical signatures: he sets accents against the normal triplet metre, giving the impression of 2/4 time. The funeral march returns at the end of the movement.

The Scherzo is a brief interlude between the more substantial first and last movements, and sounds more like a Russian dance than a traditional Scherzo. Its middle section is a sorrowful contrast to the vigorous outer sections.

The Andante funebre is the quartet’s center of gravity, even though it occurs in the first movement. Tchaikovsky may have worried that he had written himself out because he could not find a theme for the finale that fully balanced the inspiration of its first movement. The last movement possesses a driving energy but not the same thematic interest for most of its duration; however Tchaikovsky’s inspiration returned near the end, where he inserted an Andante reminiscent of the elegiac introduction to the first movement, and wrote the cello line to spells out the name F-Er-Di-nAnd as a final farewell.

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