Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:39 PM
XperDunn plays Piano on October 14th, 2014
Excerpt – six (6) ‘months’ from “The Seasons” (Op. 37bis)
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)
- March: “Song of the Lark”
- April: “Snowdrop”
- May: “May Nights” [“White Nights”]
- June: “Bacarolle”
- July: “Song of the Reaper”
- August: “The Harvest”
–Tchaikovsky is among my favorite composers to play—many of his piano pieces are intended for beginner and intermediate level pianists, which put them within my grasp. When playing, for instance, Beethoven or Chopin, I have to select pieces that do not assume a virtuoso technique—leaving the majority of their works outside the realm of my possibility.
The twelve pieces known as “The Seasons” were commissioned by the publisher of a St. Petersburg monthly music magazine—Tchaikovsky contributed one piece per issue for the year 1886 (They were all written the year previous). Subscribers had the pleasure of learning a new piano piece to complement each month of the year—imagine a whole year in which Tchaikovsky sent you a monthly soundtrack to play in your family room or music room! The charm of their origin is one of the things that endear these works to me.
There are bits of poetry attached to each title ‘month’, but these were determined by the Publisher, not the Composer. They can be seen on Wiki—which, by the way, points out that Tchaikovsky didn’t exactly bare his soul to write these pieces—they were more by way of earning some extra dough.
Nevertheless, I ever return to this manuscript to play a piece or three—someday I aspire to play the whole thing, January straight through to December—but it’s no small effort and I remain challenged by a few, more demanding months (like “February”). In fact, I consider today’s video of merely half of the twelve something of a high point in my video recital career—it won’t win a Grammy, but it’s surely a personal best of sorts. I hope you enjoy it.
And my posts aren’t complete without at least one improv, and today’s no exception—“Maple Trees” also includes a clip of the wind in the trees in our yard today….