The suite is written in five movements.
- Jeu de sons: Andantino un poco rubato
- This movement is a sonata structure with a slow introductino which recurs at the end to round off the piece. The Jeu (Play) here is simply between string phrases whose endings are echoed by the woodwinds. However, when the fast movement begins, the constant changes of texture, accompanied by matchingly quick shifts between string and wind tones, are noticeable. The development is a fugue based on the opening of the first theme. It dovetails with the recapitulation, the first subject passing straight into the more melodic second.
- Valse: Moderato tempo di valse
- Unlike Tchaikovsky's previous movements, the theme is more animate and wide-ranging and includes changes in pace which would create havoc in a ballet performance. What is most notable, though is not the tune but the orchestration. Tchaikovsky is now introducing in both texture and tone color a more unobtrusive variety into the accompaniment than would be noticed in a ballet where the attention is divided between stage and music.
- Scherzo burlesque: Vivace, con spirito
- This movement is more ostentatiously brilliant than the Valse and includes a part for a quartet of accordions. The overall impression is of fragments of melody flying around in all directions, their individuality asserted by their being well spaced out in the texture, often by their contrasting orchestral colors. Minute melodic fragments, even sound dots of one-note jabs from woodwinds or pizzicatos from strings, add their own accents. The bold folksong-like tune in the central section could hardly be a greater contrast.
- Rêves d'enfant: Andante molto sostenuto
- At first a reassuring lullaby, this music diverts into some of the most strange, even unnerving that Tchaikovsky would write in depicting the kingdom of sleep, with strange, delicate, fragmented textures with no recognizable harmonic foundation. At the end of this section there is a pause, and the lullaby resumes as it had begun.
- Danse baroque: Vivacissimo
- The name may seem strange for this earthy music, but Tchaikovsky is using the term "baroque" in its original meaning of "quaint" or "grotesque." The subtitle "Wild dance in imitation of Dargomyzhsky" is more helpful. The model for this music is the earlier Russian composer's Kazachok or "Cossack Dance."
Read more about this topic: Orchestral Suite No. 2 (Tchaikovsky)
Famous quotes containing the word structure:
“Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their duty
Not to a true, but painted chair?”
—George Herbert (15931633)
“What is the structure of government that will best guard against the precipitate counsels and factious combinations for unjust purposes, without a sacrifice of the fundamental principle of republicanism?”
—James Madison (17511836)
“One theme links together these new proposals for family policythe idea that the family is exceedingly durable. Changes in structure and function and individual roles are not to be confused with the collapse of the family. Families remain more important in the lives of children than other institutions. Family ties are stronger and more vital than many of us imagine in the perennial atmosphere of crisis surrounding the subject.”
—Joseph Featherstone (20th century)