Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op 37b; Six Morceaux, Op 19

Reviewed on Fri 23 Jan, 2015

Tchaikovsky's suite for piano, The Seasons, was the result of a commission from the St Petersburg magazine 'Nuvellist', a new piece appearing in each monthly issue during 1876. Wholly charming listening it makes, too, with some genuinely affecting gems along the way, not least the songful 'June' ('Barcarolle', which can boast one of Tchaikovsky's sweetest tunes) and wistfully tender 'October' ('Autumn song'). No praise can be too high for Pavel Kolesnikov's magnificently stylish and charismatic advocacy of these lovely morsels, and he is just as persuasive in the exceedingly attractive Op 19 set of Six Morceaux, which culminates in an extended, exhilaratingly inventive 'Theme and Variations' often performed separately. In Nos 2, 3 and 4, by the way, listen out for a clutch of delectable tunes that Stravinsky borrowed for his sublime 1928 ballet Le baiser de la fée ('The Fairy's Kiss'). Admirably rich and truthful sound. Don't miss this wonderful collection.
–Andrew Achenbach