The Philharmonic Orchestra of Europe (POE) presents concerts of the highest quality and consists of some of the finest European musicians from the younger generation. Each season they enjoy playing with the POE for a few projects to rehearse and experience afresh a symphonic repertoire free from workaday regimentation and routine.
Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky for string orchestra by Anton Arensky, started out as the slow movement of his String Quartet No. 2. It was written in the year after the death of Tchaikovsky, in a tribute to that composer. At the first performance of the quartet, the slow movement was so well received that Arensky soon arranged it as a separate piece for string orchestra, in which form it has remained among the most popular of all Arensky’s works. The Four Seasons is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of Baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, Winter is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas Summer evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often dubbed Storm. Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings remains one of the late Romantic era's most definitive compositions. Tchaikovsky intended the first movement to be an imitation of Mozart's style, and it was based on the form of the classical sonatina, with a slow introduction. The stirring 36-bar Andante introduction is marked "sempre marcatissimo" and littered with double-stopping in the violins and violas, forming towering chordal structures. This introduction is restated at the end of the movement, and then reappears, transformed, in the coda of the fourth movement, tying the entire work together. On the second page of the score, Tchaikovsky wrote, "The larger the string orchestra, the better will the composer's desires be fulfilled."