TCHAIKOVSKY Piotr, The Seasons
In 1875, while working on Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write a set of twelve piano pieces which were published in monthly instalments by the St Petersburg magazine Nuvellist. In November 1875, Tchaikovksy wrote to the magazine’s editor Nicolay Bernard to thank him for the commission, adding that he was ‘grateful for your courtesy and readiness to pay me such a high fee.’ And in its December issue the magazine announced that ‘Our celebrated composer P. I. Tchaikovsky has promised the editor of Nuvellist, that he will contribute to next year’s issues a whole series of his piano compositions, specially written for our journal, the character of which will correspond entirely to the titles of the pieces, and the month in which they will be published in the journal.’ The twelve pieces were composed between December 1875 and the summer of 1876.
The composer and pianist Alexander Goedicke – a native of Moscow, student at the Conservatoire there and winner of the Anton Rubinstein Competition in 1900 – made this arrangement of The Seasons for piano trio which is particularly successful: introducing the colours of string instruments while maintaining the intimate character of Tchaikovsky’s original pieces.
© Nigel Simeone