Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
commissioned by the Cheltenham Music Festival
Novello & Co Ltd
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
It may seem contrary to have chosen Tchaikovsky's “June” and “August” for a music festival that takes place in July! But when Martyn Brabbins suggested the idea of a couple of pieces from the piano collection Les Saisons, Op. 37b in a new arrangement for the Festival Players, these were the two that appealed most as being ideal for instrumental ensemble. Juin, subtitled Barcarolle is an enchanting melody which alternates Andante cantabile with a faster section. By contrast, Tchaikovsky gave the subtitle of Le Moisson (“The Harvest”) to August, an energetic 6/8 alternating with 3/4 with delicious cross rhythms. There is a calmer middle section in which, presumably the harvesters are taking a well-earned rest, before the energetic opening material returns and grows to a thrilling climax.