October 17, 2017
“…the orchestra was in its territory and offered an ardent, beautifully nuanced and executed version of that “chestnut”. I was particularly taken by the middle movements, which inject unusual “character pieces” into otherwise classical, Mozartean framework: the famous Waltz (often performed as an independent work) and Elegia, a reverie, melancholic, heart wrenching fragment. Those movements were apparently composer’s favorite parts in the Serenade and here at Kaufmann Hall we heard most beautiful renditions. There is one other movement in Tchaikovsky œuvre, similar to that Elegy and it appears in the Souvenir the Florence. It made me think that Orpheus would be an ideal instrument for that work: actually years ago they recorded it together with other works of Tchaikovsky and with Mischa Maisky.”
“It goes without saying that the Balanchine choreography danced thru my head as the ORPHEUS players offered up the music with their splendidly committed performance. Their rich tone and passionate approach to the music created the aural illusion of a much larger ensemble. This is music that inspires, and that offers an antidote to the depressing – even terrifying – headlines that greet us every day in these uncertain times. Kudos to ORPHEUS for programming it, and for playing it to perfection.”
Feast of Music.com
“Tchiakovsky’s Serenade for Strings is written in Neo-Classical mode, and Orpheus delivered with Mozartian transparency and articulation. In the stately introduction, the noble theme was a given a warm reading and there was buoyancy and character in the main allegro section. The gracious Valse was sunny and light, while the Élégie was robust and evocative before teasing out bits of Russian flair tucked into the niceties of the finale.”
“They played with a rich, full sound. The intimacy of the venue and the clear acoustic couched the warm wooden tones of the strings to the best possible effect, and the variations, with their shifts in tempos and styles, tickled, teased and entertained the ear.
…The concert ended with more Tchaikovsky, specifically the Op. 68 Serenade for Strings. This is an Orpheus staple, a work perfectly suited to the size and temperament of this flexible and forward-thinking ensemble. And yet, this performance made its four familiar movements sound fresh. Flowing currents of melodic invention were shot through with Tchaikovsky’s love of Russian folk songs and dances. One imagined an elegant cotillion in a Russian winter palace, before the fast dance of the frenetic final movement sent the revelers home in a state of happy exhaustion.”