Lyricism sparked the opening as ISO string players under guest conductor Daniel Meyer beautifully carried us into the nuances of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade in C Major for Strings, Op. 48. For ballet lovers, Serenade is emotionally charged— it was Balanchine’s first work choreographed in the U.S. in 1934. It was created based on incidents surrounding his dancers who were young students at the newly opened School of American Ballet in New York City. Most people connect Tchaikovsky with the three giants —Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker — but he also needs to be remembered for inspiring Balanchine to change the direction of ballet in the U.S.
Two notable audience members were mentioned: Jack Everly, who served as Music Director of the American Ballet Theatre before becoming ISO’s Principal POPS Conductor and Victoria Lyras, who danced the work with Pennsylvania Ballet, and since has mounted it with her students at the Indianapolis School of Ballet.
Tchaikovsky’s feelings pour forth from Serenade’s four parts. It’s totally ‘up close and personal’ and is a departure from his 1812 Overture. Serenade reminds us that an ability to express our intimate thoughts can lead us to love humanity as a whole.
Vivaldi’s brilliant The Four Seasons, Op.8, for solo violin accompanied by a string orchestra filled the second half of the program. In concert with the ISO, soloist Anne Akiko Meyers skillfully etched each season, playing into Vivaldi’s imagery. Her vivid birdcalls, as a mini-drama, led into definitive weather shifts through commanding solo work. If only the audience would keep their applause out of every pause in the musical phrasing, thus breaking the flow. Perhaps a program note concerning applause etiquette is as much in order as is waiting to recycle bottles until intermission or at concert’s end.
SOTP is up next on July 24-25, Movie Music of John Williams with guest conductor Stuart Chafetz. Tickets $25 adults, $12 children, $69 table seating, IndianapolisSymphony.org