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Classical

Tchaikovsky

Les saisons, Six morceaux

Pavel Kolesnikov, piano

[Hyperion]

3.5 stars

This disc of lesser heard piano music by Tchaikovsky cannot help but charm you. “The Seasons” is 45 minutes long, and you don’t often get the chance to hear it complete. (Buffalo will get the rare chance to hear “The Seasons” complete and live on Nov. 23, when pianist Susan Yondt returns to play it on the Friends of Vienna concert series.)

There is one piece for every month; only a few are famous, but it’s all a delight. The music’s demands are mostly interpretative rather than technical. Tchaikovsky meant it as salon music for amateurs.

Kolesnikov takes a clear-eyed approach that emphasizes the changing textures: soft and lyrical in the summer, crisp and invigorating in the colder months. The cooler music, I do not need to point out, will especially resonate with Buffalonians, considering our recent rather Russian winter. In “December,” a Christmas waltz, you can just about taste “The Nutcracker.” The Six Morceaux – which means simply six short pieces – continue the dance feel, with hints of Schumann. You might recognize the gorgeous Nocturne.

– Mary Kunz Goldman