The Piano in Winter

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This week's Reflections from the Keyboard celebrates piano music depicting the holiday season and the winter months.

Christmastime looms and winter's freeze is upon us! Nature can be devastating in all seasons, but in the winter, the unleashed power of the winds can be terrific. On the inside, fires are stoked and trees trimmed. Evoking the snowy landscape and Christmas cheer are pieces like Fanny Mendelssohn's December, and Chopin's Winter Wind Etude. It's a stirring composition, one that must be played coldly.

A beautiful transcription of the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is nestled between selections from Franz Liszt's The Christmas Tree Suite. Stepping outside as the temperature drops and the flurries fall, Debussy's Footsteps in the Snow creates the feeling of total desolation during the winter months. Other works on the program include depictions of a long, cold Russian winter with Stravinsky's The Shrovetide Fair and Rachmaninoff's Troika.

 

Playlist

 

Concert Suite from The Nutcracker - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies (arr. Pletnev)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Mikhail Pletnev

Philips

 

Etude in A minor, op.25 no.11

Frederic Chopin

Josef & Rosina Levinne

Philips

 

Das Jahr, cycle for piano (The Year): Dezember

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

Sontraud Speidel

Sound Star-ton Productions

 

The Seasons, Op. 37-bis: XII. December Christmastide

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Vassily Primakov

Bridge

 

Weihnachsbaum, S.186 No.9 Cloches du soir

Franz Liszt

France Clidat

DECCA

 

Children's Corner - IV. The Snow is Dancing

Claude Debussy

Mieczyslaw Horszowski

BBC Radio 3 Medici Arts

 

Preludes, Book 1, Des Pas Sur La Neige

Claude Debussy

Friedrich Gulda

Philips

 

Petrouchka; 3rd Movement: The Shrovetide Fair

Igor Stravinsky

Alexis Weissenberg

Philips

 

Troika

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Sergei Rachmaninov

BMG

 

Preludes, Book 1, Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest

Claude Debussy

Alfred Cortot

Philips

 

Chasse-neige; Etude d'exécution transcendentale No. 12

Franz Liszt

Gyorgy Cziffra

Philips

 

Weihnachsbaum, S.186 Noel provencal

Franz Liszt

France Clidat

DECCA