Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Seasons
September: The Hunt
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 installments throughout 2021!
The publishers of The Seasons added approved epigraphs to the start of each score of the Russian original. September: The Hunt has a small poem by Alexander Pushkin at the front of the score:
It is time! The horns are sounding!
The hunters in their hunting dress
are mounted on their horses;
in early dawn the borzois are jumping.
This energetic movement opens with an octave fanfare between both hands. Tchaikovsky’s colourful harmony speaks here, with passing chromaticism adding colour to the music. The fanfare theme is the basis for this movement, with the quiet central section still representing this. The shift to the minor mode here is a welcome transition from the bright major opening. The segue back into the opening fanfare is clever, with Tchaikovsky leading the notes through a number of keys before ending back in the major. September concludes with a short reprise of the material before concluding with a welcome resolution.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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