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Fresh from having completed his thunderous and shallow 1812 Overture, Tchaikovsky set about crafting a gentle, musical work which would provide for him once again the comfort of alluding to his musical idol, Mozart, in form and spirit. This is not to say the Serenade for String Orchestra apes Mozart, for it does not. But it seems to have been in the composer's mind a work in the vein of a classical piece, with four sections which contrast musically, but together form a suite of contrasting but complimentary structures that do not depend upon each other as do, for example, the movements of a symphony. The second movement Waltz and, occasionally, the third movement El?gie are played alone as concert pieces. Nonetheless, taken together the four sections form a powerful and convincing work, and Tchaikovsky's consistency of form and scoring link them inexorably together.
The work is significant in Tchaikovsky's output as an example of the composer writing from inspiration and employing the depth of his genius but without the heavy, sometimes overpowering emotional baggage which pumps up and stretches some of his work out of shape.
This arrangement also comes with a supplemental third violin part, and an optional bass part.
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