Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Seasons
July: Song of the Reaper
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed his twelve character pieces for piano, The Seasons, at the same time that he was writing his popular ballet, Swan Lake. Each piece in The Seasons depicts a different month of the year in Russia. Although originally composed for solo piano, some of the movements have been orchestrated for different kinds of ensembles, although none of these were done by Tchaikovsky. For each month in 2021, Classicalexburns will be exploring the same month from The Seasons. So look out for these once-a-month instalments throughout 2021!
The publishers of The Seasons added approved epigraphs to the start of each score of the Russian original. July: Song of the Reaper has a small poem by Aleksey Koltsov at the front of the score:
Move the shoulders,
shake the arms!
And the noon wind
breathes in the face!
The strong chordal opening lays the foundations for the bright melody to sing out. The dynamics throughout Song of the Reaper edge on the louder side, which makes each segment of the short piece sound bold and full-bodied. After a short central development section where Tchaikovsky jests with the melody, the opening theme is reprised. The end of the piece is delicate and ends rather suddenly as the last note wisps away into the distance.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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