Tchaikovsky for the First Day of June

Vivaldi and Glazunov were not the only composers to depict the seasons musically. In 1875, Tchaikovsky was commissioned to write a set of twelve short character pieces for piano, The Seasons, Op. 37 a. Each piece is related to a month of the year. You might expect June to depict sunny optimism, but Tchaikovsky’s music is a melancholy barcarolle. The score contains this epigraph by nineteenth century Russian poet, Alexey Nikolayevich Plescheev:

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

There are some interesting examples of beat displacement in this piece which are reminiscent of Tchaikovsky’s ballet music. (He was finishing Swan Lake at the time, along with the tone poem, Francesca da Rimini). We hear this in the haunting coda section, where the gloomy bass line seems ready to sink into despair.

Here is Sviatoslav Richter’s recording:


About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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