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Classical Breakdown

11. Tchaikovsky's The Seasons

December 31, 2019

Get into the new year with a work that has music for every month! Tchaikovsky's The Seasons also includes poetry and gives us a glimpse into Russian life, month by month in 1876. 

Show Notes

January (At the Fireside)

A little corner of peaceful bliss,
the night dressed in twilight;
the little fire is dying in the fireplace,
and the candle has burned out.
(Alexander Pushkin)

February (Carnival) 

At the lively Mardi Gras
a large feast will overflow. 
(Piotr Vyazemsky)

March (Song of the Lark)

The field shimmering with flowers,
the stars swirling in the heavens,
the song of the lark
fills the blue abyss. 
(Apollon Maykov)

April (Snowdrop) 

The blue, pure snowdrop -
flower, and near it the last snowdrops. The last tears over past griefs,
and first dreams of another happiness.
(Apollon Maykov)

May (Starlit Nights) 

What a night!  What bliss all about!
I thank my native north country!
From the kingdom of ice, snowstorms and snow, how fresh and clean May flies in!
(Afanasy Fet)

June (Barcarolle)

Let us go to the shore;
there the waves will kiss our feet.
With mysterious sadness
the stars will shine down on us. 
(Aleksey Pleshcheyev)

July (Song of the Reaper) 

Move the shoulders, shake the arms!
And the noon wind breathes in the face!
(Aleksey Koltsov)

August (Harvest) 

The harvest has grown,
people in families
cutting the tall rye
down to the root! 
 
Put together
the haystacks,
music screeching all night
from the hauling carts.
(Aleksey Koltsov)

September (The Hunt)

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.
(Alexander Pushkin) 

October (Autumn Song)

Autumn, our poor garden is all falling down,
the yellowed leaves are flying in the wind. 
(Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy) 

November (Troika)

In your loneliness do not look at the road,
and do not rush out after the troika.
Suppress at once and forever
the fear of longing in your heart.
(Nikolay Nekrasov)

December (Christmas)

Once upon a Christmas night
the girls were telling fortunes:
taking their slippers off their feet
and throwing them out of the gate. 
(Vasily Zhukovsky)