The Seasons, op. 37b, October, November, December

The Seasons, op. 37b, October, November, December

The Seasons, op. 37b, October, November, December

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski

Finghin Collins's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy English Subtitles are available in English Music sheet annotated by  Finghin  Collins  is available 44 min Piano

In this masterclass, Professor Finghin Collins work with his student on Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski’s The Seasons.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this masterclass, Professor Finghin Collins discusses character, flow, and detail work in three pieces from Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski’s The Seasons. In “October,” he works with the student to create singing melodic lines in which all the notes are connected. He also encourages the student to closely follow the dynamic markings and be attentive to accent placement. In “November,” Collins helps the student find the mood of the piece right from its opening. The left and right hands must be equally balanced yet achieve a light-hearted, elegant character. He also demonstrates how to stimulate more flow in the music, even when the tempo slows. In “December,” they once again discuss capturing the mood immediately from the start, including using the appropriate articulation. Collins helps the student find a more intimate feel to the music by truly adhering to the soft dynamic markings. 

What we learn in this masterclass

  1.     Sustaining chords or notes to create smooth, singing lines.

  2.     Taking care of small details, particularly accent placement.

  3.     Capturing the mood and tempo of each piece right from the beginning.

  4.     Creating flow in the music.

  5.     Exploring and taking risks with softer dynamics.  

The Seasons, op. 37b by Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski composed The Seasons in 1876, shortly after completing two of his most famous works, Piano Concerto No. 1 and the ballet Swan Lake. The work, a compilation of twelve short pieces for solo piano, was a commission from Nikolay Matveyevich Bernard, who served as the editor of a music magazine in St. Petersburg called Nouvellist. At the suggestion of Bernard, each of the twelve pieces corresponds to a different month. The editor also provided Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski with a subtitle and brief quotation for each piece, drawing inspiration from Russian poets such as Pushkin, Koltsov, Pleshcheyev, and Tolstoy. It is likely that Tchaikovsky took on this project solely to make money and did not consider it to be a particularly serious work; as a result, each of the pieces takes on a very basic form. Nonetheless, many of these delightful pieces became favorites of fellow composers and audience members alike. Over the years, the work has been orchestrated and repurposed for other instruments numerous times.

  • Date:22 February 2022
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:44 min
  • Spoken language:English
  • Subtitle languages: English

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this piano masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Finghin Collins’ feedback and comments.

Finghin Collins

Finghin  Collins

Winner of the Clara Haskil Competition in 1999

One of Ireland's most successful musicians, Finghin Collins was born in Dublin in 1977 and, following initial lessons with his sister Mary, studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with John O'Conor and at the Geneva Conservatoire with Dominique Merlet. Winner of the RTÉ Musician of the Future Competition in 1994 and the Classical Category at the National Entertainment Awards in Ireland in 1998, he went on to take first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 1999. Since then, he has continued to enjoy a flourishing international career that takes him all over Europe and the United States, as well as the Far East and Australia. 

Collins has performed with such orchestras as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, garnering consistent praise from critics and public alike.

Performances across Europe have included such prestigious venues as Symphony Hall Birmingham, Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, The Barbican and Cadogan Hall, London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (both halls), De Doelen Rotterdam (both halls), Théâtre du Châtelet and Salle Cortot Paris, Salle Molière Lyon, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Auditorio Nacional Madrid, Palao de la Musica Valencia, Gulbenkian Hall Lisbon, Sala Verdi Milan, Teatro Manzoni Bologna, Konzerthaus Berlin, Konzerthaus Vienna, Franz Liszt Academy Budapest, Philharmonic Hall Warsaw and the Auditorium Stravinski Montreux.  He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, New York and the Kennedy Center, Washington DC, as well as at both Ravinia and Gilmore Festivals in the USA.

Finghin Collins is very active as a programmer, commissioner and concert presenter in Ireland, having been Artistic Director of the New Ross Piano Festival since its inception in 2006, and Artistic Director of Music for Galway since 2013. In 2020, Music for Galway presents the main classical program as part of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, including the inaugural edition of CELLISSIMO, a new triennial cello festival. 

Collins is also co-founder and co-Artistic Director of the International Master Course at Dublin’s National Concert Hall, together with violinist Gwendolyn Masin. In October 2017, the National University of Ireland conferred on him an honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

Tchaïkovski

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski

Born in Votkinsk, Russia on April 25th, 1840, composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the son of a metalworker and a French immigrant, and the second of six children.  

Young Pyotr showed an interest in music early on and, although destined to be a public servant at first, was placed under the care of a professional music teacher by his father shortly after the sudden death of his mother from cholera. 

He travelled through Europe extensively and settled in St-Petersburg when he was a young man, to study music at the newly founded conservatory. Tchaikovsky had a very private life that was constantly under scrutiny due to his rising fame. He married a young woman to avoid questions about his sexual orientation, but was very unhappy. By 1878, he began to write music full time after finding a patroness outside Russia and wrote most of his most famous works such as the opera Eugene Onegin, the Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, and the Violin Concerto in D Major. Tchaikovsky grew tired of his busy city life and rented a place in the countryside, where he spent his days walking, reading, and composing music. He died of cholera in 1893 at the age of 53 after drinking unboiled water. 

Tchaikovsky's legacy reaches many people thanks to a very emotionally involving and rich musical landscape that keeps seducing audiences all over the world.  

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