Tchaikovsky - Capriccio Italien

Tchaikovsky soaks up the sounds of Rome and turns them into an infectious invitation to dance.

Tchaikovsky's fantasy for orchestra is a richly descriptive portrait of Italy, written when the composer spent three months in Rome in 1880.

While in the Eternal City, he saw the Carnivale in full swing, and soaked up the Italian folk music and street songs. He incorporates them quite freely in the piece and even makes use of a bugle call that he overheard from his hotel played by an Italian cavalry regiment.

Capriccio Italien opens in sombre mood but high spirits soon kick in and the merrymaking begins. Although it’s not one of Tchaikovsky’s ballet scores, it’s hard to resist moving to the piece’s infectious rhythmic energy. By the end, you and all of Rome are dancing a tarantella in the streets.