Although the orchestra was the most natural vehicle for Tchaikovsky's colourful and emotionally highly-charged music, in his string quartets (all dating from the 1870s) he showed a fine understanding of the medium and adopted a more purely musical train of thought – deriving in part from his deep fondness for the classical world of Mozart – without losing his own personality. Souvenir de Florence, his string sextet, dates from 1890–91 and Tchaikovsky confided in his friend Alexander Siloti that he feared he was thinking in orchestral terms before arranging his ideas for string sextet; the work is performed here in a version for string orchestra, from a much-praised Argo recording with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, which went on to win an EDISON AWARD. 'beautifully natural and well-blended sound' (String Quartets) Gramophone (1978)
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