Spring Music Moment: Tchaikovsky’s ‘April’
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was approached by the editor of a Russian music magazine known as the Nouvellist with a commission – write one piece a month for a year and give our listeners something to look forward to.
Tchaikovsky took the gig and rose to the challenge: he called his twelve-part piano cycle The Seasons (or Les Saisons, as it was published in French) and named each movement for a month of the year. He took a mood, activity, object, animal – a single focus to bring the months of the year to life. The Harvest in August, Song of the Lark in March and a beautiful little snowy flower for April.
Tchaikovsky played with the end of snow season in St. Petersburg – he called April “Snowdrop.” His music reflects both the snowy remains of winter still on the ground, and the little blue flowers, named snowdrop, beginning to pop up as a sign of springtime.
And the same publisher that commissioned the work also suggested Tchaikovsky attach epigraph, or short quotes, to each movement, and the composer obliged.
He included a few lines for each month by various Russian writers including Aleksandr Pushkin and Apollon Maykov, the man who penned April’s epigraph:
“The blue, pure snowdrop-flower,
And near it the last snowdrops.
The last tears over past griefs,
And first dreams of another happiness.”
Tchaikovsky’s April, and the rest of his Seasons, are simple and to the point – just a couple of moments to sit back and escape into the joy of each month.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: celebrating April in this Springtime Music Moment on NWPB Classical.
Women’s History Music Moment: Bach’s Daughters
You’ve heard so much about the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach, but there were daughters, too.
Bach was 23, and his wife Maria Barbara was 24, when the first of their children was born. They named her Catherina Dorothea. CD grew into a singer, and helped out in her father’s music work. Fifteen years passed, her mother died, her father remarried, and finally, CD Bach acquired a sister: Cristina Sophia Henrietta, daughter of Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach. CSH died at the age of three, just as another sister, Elizabeth Juliana Frederica, was born. EJF Bach would grow up to marry one of her father’s students. Continue Reading Women’s History Music Moment: Bach’s Daughters
Music Moment: James DePreist
James DePreist was a gifted communicator whether speaking, writing, or conducting. He is the subject of this “Music Moment” from NWPB Classical. Continue Reading Music Moment: James DePreist
What Was NWPB Playing in 1923?
The original log book for KFAE. CREDIT: Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries When you come to Northwest Public Broadcasting in 2022, you can do so anytime,… Continue Reading What Was NWPB Playing in 1923?