RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra Live – David Brophy conducts Grieg and Tchaikovsky
The performance will be live-streamed worldwide in HD on RTÉ Culture and broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm.
Grieg , Holberg Suite
Tchaikovsky , Serenade for Strings
Two of the finest works for string orchestra in the classical repertoire and two great masters of melody centre stage with Grieg’s vibrant, dance-infused Holberg Suite, and Tchaikovsky’s lyrically ravishing Serenade for Strings.
Grieg’s From Holberg’s Time – Suite in the Olden Style (to give it its full title) was composed in 1884 to mark the bicentenary of his fellow Norwegian, the playwright Ludvig Holberg. Originally conceived for solo piano with each of its five moments based on a popular Baroque dance form, it was later arranged for string orchestra to become one of the composer’s most popular works.
Grieg described it as ‘a perruque piece’, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the elaborate powdered wigs favoured by fashion-conscious aristocrats during Holberg’s lifetime. Contrasts aplenty are to be found: the energetic cheeriness of the opening, echoes of folk music in its finale, and in between a beautifully tranquil hymn to nature and a lilting, melancholic air framing a stately dance.
Although composed in the same year as his thunderous 1812 Overture (a work he thought little of) Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings is music to caress the ears, soothe your soul and lift your spirits. It was, he said, ‘a piece from the heart’ that he ‘loved terribly’.
Throwing the spotlight on orchestral strings, its boasts some of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable melodies, a graceful waltz laced with fairy-tale magic, an achingly beautiful elegy and a hint of Volga boatmen at work in its feisty finale.