Musician’s View – Letters from Tchaikovsky

MCO’s Letters from Tchaikovsky can be heard in Melbourne on Sunday 19 November at Melbourne Recital Centre and Thursday 23 November at Deakin Edge, Federation Square, and on tour around Victoria 14–25 November.

MCO: What is your favourite work of Tchaikovsky – to play, and to perform?

EMMA: It is very difficult to select just one Tchaikovsky work that stands above the rest – all of his works are such a pleasure to play. His music is full of character and emotion and his double bass parts are always challenging and engaging. I particularly enjoy performing his Violin Concerto and his final three symphonies. I also really like Tchaikovsky’s first symphony, which is not as commonly performed. Entitled “Winter Dreams,” this work is charming and evocative and always transports me to nineteenth-century Russia.

MCO: Which work on the program are you looking forward to performing most, and why?

EMMA: I am excited to play again with soloist Shane Chen, who is performing Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher. He brought so much imagination and spontaneity to his performances of Schubert’s Rondo for Violin and Orchestra with us in 2013 and I am sure he will do the same this season, making each concert a new experience.In this program we are performing two works originally composed for piano – excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Album for the Young and Shostakovich Three Fantastic Dances. Approaching piano repertoire in a string orchestra is always a challenge for ensemble, as a group of players is attempting to execute music originally intended for just one musician. However, when executed successfully, it can breathe new life into the music. The work I am most looking forward to playing is Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. This is one of the true masterpieces conceived for string orchestra and it is always so much fun to play.