Never shy of a challenge, Scottish Ensemble is setting out to perform Tchaikovsky’s 30-minute Serenade for Strings by heart. The work is considered one of the late Romantic era’s definitive compositions and will be familiar to many people through its use in film, ballet and TV, most recently in the Korean survival hit Squid Game. The Ensemble is interested in the impact which playing the piece from memory will have on the performance and the audience experience, perhaps allowing the musicians and listeners to connect more directly in the moment. By removing the score, it is hoped that the players’ reliance on each other will be heightened, strengthening their common sound and offering audiences the chance to hear a familiar work in a new way.
The Ensemble will also perform Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, inspired by a bracing walk along the Cardiganshire coast, and Caroline Shaw’s Punctum, an exercise in nostalgia inspired by French philosopher Roland Barthes’ description of the ‘unexpected’ in photographs. There will be a live audio stream of the Glasgow performance.