Serenade for Strings in C major Op.48
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

297

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Tchaikovsky is the joint third most popular composer in the Ultimate Hall of Fame, after Beethoven and Mozart. He and Elgar have 12 entries in total. This is his only entry NOT to have featured in every year of the chart; it's appeared in 15 of the 20 countdowns and reached its highest position of 193 back in 1997.

At the very time that Tchaikovsky was composing his nationalistic, powerful and undeniably noisy 1812 Overture, he was also writing this: the graceful, poised and rather sedate Serenade for Strings. While both pieces are undeniably 'Tchaikovsky' in style, the 1812 Overture has become known for its bombastic closing section, complete with its unusual addition to the orchestra: cannons. It is now considered one of the late Romantic era's definitive compositions. Tchaikovsky based the sonatina-style first movement on Mozart while the second movement, a Valse, has become a popular piece in its own right.