The Tchaikovsky and Dvorák Serenades for Strings, undoubtedly the two most enduring works of the genre, are also nearly always found together on recordings. The liner notes for this recording by the Festival Strings Lucerne poses the question of why these two serenades should be recorded yet again. The only reasoning offered is that the small size of this ensemble enables it to give a performance more in line with chamber music than an orchestra. That rationale doesn't quite float when comparing them to an ensemble like the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; the Festival Strings Lucerne has more musicians than Orpheus and also uses a conductor, which definitely seems contrary to the chamber music philosophy. The only thing truly unique about this recording comes in the Dvorák, which on this album uses the unabridged autograph copy of the score, giving listeners several more bars than most other performances. Whether or not this is enough to choose this CD over any other is a matter of listener preference. As for the actual performance, FSL is overall a strong ensemble delivering an in-tune, sensitive interpretation of these two great works. So as a first recording, this album would certainly be an appropriate choice, but it's very unlikely to take the place of an existing "favorite" on your shelf.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Serenade for strings (or piano, 4 hands) in C major, Op. 48|
|Serenade for string orchestra in E major, B. 52 (Op. 22)|