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Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings, Op. 48; Shostakovich: String Quartet, Op. 68/2 (arr. Jonathan Morton) / Scottish Ens.

Album Summary

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Quartet for Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 68
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The Telegraph, 21st February 2015
Tchaikovsky's oft-recorded Serenade for Strings is given fresh impetus here by the Scottish Ensemble, rich in sonority, precise in articulation, mellifluous in the flow of string textures and dynamic shading...This is a performance that highlights Tchaikovsky's inventiveness and skill in crafting a piece for strings alone, while at the same time generating a real sense of inspired spontaneity.

The Times, 14th February 2015
The main interest here is Jonathan Morton's new string-orchestra arrangement of Shostakovich's Second String Quartet, with Morton himself leading the excellent Scottish Ensemble...Plus a wiry performance of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings - sinuous rather than lush, but superbly virtuosic.

The Observer, 22nd February 2015
Built around a dozen string players, the Scottish Ensemble is a byword for vigorous music-making, combining the prowess of solo playing with the discipline of small-scale ensemble...The Scottish Ensemble's crystal-clear playing is a joy.

Under the directorship of Jonathan Morton, Scottish Ensemble adds the Tchaikovsky Serenade, regarded by the composer as one of his finest works, to its impressive Linn discography. Imbued with the classical spirit of Mozart, but with Tchaikovsky's style to the fore, the Serenade contains some strikingly effective scoring and an exhilarating Finale the ensemble relishes. SE brings the same level of precision and finish you would expect from a string quartet; this is particularly evident in the elegiac third movement, one of Tchaikovsky's most inspired musical moments. This recording also marks the premiere of Jonathan Morton's 2013 transcription of Shostakovich's Quartet No. 2. Drawn to the work's large, epic scale and the richness of its sound-world, Morton was keen for the ensemble to tackle this masterpiece from the chamber repertoire. With his arrangement Morton adds to SE's enviable reputation for Shostakovich transcriptions established by the late Rudolph Barshai. Re-defining the string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble inspires audiences with vibrant and powerful performances. Scottish Ensemble is the UK's only professional string orchestra, built around a core of twelve outstanding string players. The ensemble is known both in the UK and internationally for its versatility and ambitious programming. Performing standing up, the individual layers bring an energetic and passionate dynamic to every performance.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
Tchaikovsky's Serenade has been recorded many, many times. For a small ensemble performance the Scottish group gives us one of the warmest, most expressive, yet polish traversals I've heard. And you may know what I'm about to say next: if a group of 19 very assured players is very good, the whole string section of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy (Sony) or the London Philharmonic under Stokowski (Philips) is even better. This is as elegant and Mozartean an account of this work as one is likely to hear. It is certainly aided by Linn's warm and full yet detailed high-resolution SACD sound. The arrangement of Quartet 2 is by Jonathan Morton, who leads this performance and the Tchaikovsky from the violin. It's just as compelling as Barshai's chamber symphonies.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/2013-12/03/2013).


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Works Details

>Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich : Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48
  • Conductor: Jonathan Morton
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/2013-12/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1880

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Quartet for Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 68
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (12/01/2013-12/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 36 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1944