Tchaikovsky & Dvorak
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 1983
This exceptional album collects two String Serenades by Antonìn Dvořák and Pyotr Tchaikovsky under the direction of Herbert von Karajan. Tchaikovsky’s work precedes Dvořák’s one in String Serenades, but it was the last to be composed first. This is a celebrity album, since it offers the listener two of the most famous serenades for strings, composed by the two most representative composers of the Czech and Russian areas, directed by one of the most important directors of the XX century.
Dvořák wrote it in just two weeks in 1875, one of the most prosperous and happiest years of his life. Dvořák chose the musical genre of serenade to provide a work for entertainment, but he did not sacrifice his skill as a composer and find the way to give every movement a particular expressive characteristic. As for Tchaikovsky, he wrote the String Serenade in 1880 and intended the first movement to be an imitation of Mozart, one of his favourite composers and models, and was based on the form of sonatina. The Serenade influenced later Balanchine’s ballet Serenade and was frequently used both in movies and television programs.
As every time you talk about Karajan, you cannot but praise him. Both Serenades are sparkling, little gems and are performed with incredible inspiration and mastery and you may feel both technique and soul in tise music. The Berliner Philharmoniker offers the conductor a precious collaboration, rich in colours and enthusiasm, alongside with competence and freshness.