- The Seasons, for piano, Op. 37
- Morceaux (6) for piano, Op. 19
Tchaikovsky's are among the lesser-known of the "Seasons" by major composers. Composed in 1876, they first appeared in a music magazine, and they neither reflect Tchaikovsky's tortured soul nor give the pianist a chance to show off: they were intended for strong amateurs. These factors probably explain the works' relative neglect, although they show up individually on plenty of student recitals. Siberian-born pianist Pavel Kolesnikov does well to record the entire set, which has a low-key charm that shows the composer's growing mastery. Tchaikovsky's "Seasons" are not four in number but 12, one for each month, and each is a subtle, pleasing portrait of something characteristic of the month: birdsong, harvest time, a lightly Russian troika for November (the snow starts early there). Kolesnikov's enthusiasm for the music is clear, and his readings are poetic and on the slow side. It's safe to say there's a lot more in these pieces than has been evident in their many dutiful student performances. The still more obscure "Six morceaux, Op. 19," are more than morsels and demand more in the way of technical skills; these provide an effective closer. Hyperion's trademark sound environment, England's Wyastone Estate concert hall, is deployed with especially appropriate effect here.