The pieces that appeared in the monthly issues of a St Petersburg musical journal in 1876 and were, confusingly, given the collective title of The Seasons when they were published as a cycle at the end of that year, are perhaps the most immediately attractive of Tchaikovsky's piano works. Selections of them regularly appear in recitals and on disc, but for his first release on Hyperion Pavel Kolesnikov has opted to play all 12, alongside the Six morceaux Op 19, which was composed three years earlier.
In 2012, Kolesnikov took first prize in the Honens piano competition in Canada, and on the evidence of his effortlessly refined playing here, he was a worthy winner. His performances never overstretch the boundaries of what are, essentially, salon pieces, taking Schumann's early cycles such as Papillons and Carnaval as their model. But Kolesnikov invests them with their own quietly distinctive character, just as he presents the Op 19 pieces in a totally natural, unaffected way. It's a charming, rewarding disc.