|Portrait of Tchaikovsky by Nikolai Dimitriyevich Kuznetsov|
Tchaikovsky of course needs no introduction (although you can get one from previous posts here, here, and here). Those posts are some of his most famous music; today's is obscure, but is a little heard delight from the very beginning of his career.
In 1875, Tchaikovsky was commissioned to compose a series of twelve short piano pieces, one for each month of the year. These were collected in The Seasons, which were published with short poems from famous Russian poets. The poetic snippet for October (Autumn Song) was from no less than Tolstoy himself, capturing the famous Russian pessimism:
Autumn, our poor garden is all falling down,It is said that it is enormously difficult to translate poetry from one language to another, and this is a great example of that dictum. Still, the music is very nice, and you almost never hear this performed. Most of the songs are light fare, but a few (including this one) give a glimpse into his soon to be composed epic operas and ballets. Sergei Rachmaninoff particularly liked the one for November, Troika, and while The Seasons was mostly forgotten in the West, Rachmaninoff's interpretation kept it alive in Russia - from whence it returned to these shores. We own Rachmaninoff a hearty thank you for this.
the yellowed leaves are flying in the wind.