Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Seasons
October: Autumn Song
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. October: Autumn Song has a small poem by Aleksey Tolstoy at the front of the score:
Autumn, our poor garden is all falling down,
the yellowed leaves are flying in the wind.
Presenting a very different character from September, Tchaikovsky’s Autumn Song is set in a sultry D minor tonality. Quintessential Tchaikovsky in its melodic development, this slow movement is full of Romantic-era-inspired harmony and melodies that will capture your heart. Passing between the two hands seamlessly, the chief theme is based on a small kernel of music, that by the end of the piece is fully-flourished. Although the pace is slow, and this movement is one of the longest of the 12, the attention to detail during the developmental process is well-thought out and balanced. As it began, October ends quietly after referring back to the opening theme for the final time.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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