Three excerpts from
The Seasons (1899)
(1865 - 1936)
After the success of the three-act Raymonda ballet at St. Petersburg in 1898 there was no doubt that Glazunov could have been to Russian ballet before 1917 what Tchaikovsky was a generation earlier. Glazunov, however, considered himself more as a symphony writer, and turned his back on ballet after creating only two more masterpieces in this genre. The Seasons, first produced in 1900, is generally considered to be one of Glazunov’s greatest works, a composition of full maturity, depth, and scope.
The first example heard here is taken from Winter, and hauntingly depicts the chill of the air (and chattering of teeth?). The second example, from Spring, is a total change of character, full of fresh air and lightness. The famous Barcarolle is heard last here, and reminds us very clearly that Glazunov knew his Tchaikovsky ballets quite well (it reminds me clearly of The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake…)