National Philharmonic: Sunday Serenades
Sunday, March 10, 2019, 3pm
The Music Center
Colin Sorgi, violin
Piotr Gajewski, conductor
Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings
Bernstein Serenade (after Plato’s “Symposium”)
"Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole"
- Plato, The Symposium
In his lyrical musical meditation on Plato’s great dialogue on the nature of love, Leonard Bernstein gave voice to profound artistic and personal longings. Inspired by his re-reading of Plato’s dialogue, the Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) was written to fulfill a commission from his mentor Serge Koussevitzky and, at the same time, to offer a composition for violin and orchestra to his friend violinist Isaac Stern. It mirrors the Platonic dialogue by presenting a series of musical statements in praise of love, each one incorporating new musical ideas and embodying one of the speakers in the dialogue. Bernstein’s biographer Humphrey Burton observed that the work, “can also be perceived as a portrait of Bernstein himself: grand and noble in the first movement, childlike in the second, boisterous and playful in the third, serenely calm and tender in the fourth, a doom-laden prophet and then a jazzy iconoclast in the finale.” The companion piece in the program, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, is an elegant tribute to classical form, written from “inner conviction” and unbounded admiration for his musical idol, Mozart. Like Bernstein’s work, it is a lyrical homage to another time and world. The serenade is by definition a musical address to a lover, and the two works in this program pay tribute to an idealized love and its infinite nuances.
Violinist Colin Sorgi “plays with utter conviction, a tour de force of stamina, virtuosity and rhythmic precision.”
- Fanfare Magazine
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