Capriccio Italien by Peter Ilitch Tchaikovsky
Arranged for flute orchestra by Shaul Ben-Meir
Scored for Piccolo, 6 Flutes, 2 Alto Flutes, 2 Bass Flutes, Contrabass Flute and String Bass. Includes score and parts.
To rest after the emotional exhaustion of compising his 4th Symphony, Tchaikovsky toured Italy for three months and wrote to his benefactress, Nadezahda von Meck, “I want to compose something like the Spanish fantasias of Glinka.” A week later he wrote, “I have already completed the sketches for an Italian fantasia on folk tunes for which I believe a good fortune may be predicted. It will effective, thanks to the delightful tunes which I have succeeded in assembling partly from anthologies, partly from my own ears in the streets.”
The Capriccio begins with a trumpet call inspired by the nightly bugle Tchaikovsky heard from his hotel room which overlooked the Roman barracks of the Yoral Cuirassiers. The slow melody which follows has a definite Spanish flavor–so possibly, the traveling carnival he reported watching on the street may come from the south of Italy, which has beenn long occupied by Spain. The refrain of the song that comprises the light-hearted second theme, “Bella ragazza dalla treccia bionda,” (pretty girl with the blond braid) asks: “Papa won;t let us, and neither will Mama, so how are we going to make love?” The fanfare and the melancholy first theme return before the piece ends in a brilliant tarantella, a rapid dance in 6/8 time, supposedly originated as an effort to sweat out the venom from a tarantula bite. June Turner
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