Musical Contrast:


Tchaikovsky: “Serenade” Vs.
Bartók: Divertimento.

The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is known for its magnificent string sound, and this recording features the “LSO String Ensemble”, led by LSO Leader Roman Simovic, who directs a performance of the much loved Tchaikovsky ‘Serenade for Strings’, together with Bartók’s ‘Divertimento’.


  • Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113


  • Serenade for strings in C major, Op. 48

Performed by the LSO String Ensemble, Roman Simovic conducting.

These are two very different compositions. Let me explain:

The “Serenade” has proved to be one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular works, and a work the composer described as being “passionately in love with”. Inspired in part by Mozart, this Serenade harks back to Russian folk-songs, and it also has a fine example of the composer’s beloved Waltz in the second movement.

Also featured on this CD is Bela Bartók’s ‘Divertimento’, one of the composer’s last works before leaving his native Hungary for exile in the US.

Bartok was born in 1881, and he lived much later than Tchaikovsky, who died in 1891.

Bartok’s Divertimento for Strings is a highly original work in its own unique idiom, contrasting two buoyant and light-hearted movements with a somber Adagio in four sections.

Much of Bela Bartok’s compositions reflect the fact that the composer lived through the horrors of the WWII, and a lot of his music tells us about these dark times.

Tracks on this CD are:

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Serenade for strings in C major, Op. 48

i. Pezzo in forma di sonatina: Andante non troppo – Allegro moderato
ii. Valse: Moderato – Tempo di valse
iii. Elegie: Larghetto elegiaco
iv. Finale (Tema russo): Andante – Allegro con spirito

Béla Bartók: Divertimento for Strings, Sz. 113

i. Allegro non troppo
ii. Molto adagio
iii. Allegro assai

Here is the Bartók Divertimento for string orchestra, with Daniel Harding conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker:



And let’s end with the Tchaikovsky Waltz from the “Serenade for Strings”, with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Berlin Philharmonic:



Tags: Bela Bartok, Peter Tchaikovsky, Divertimento, Serenade for Strings, LSO String Ensemble, Roman Simovic