The original title for the three Novellen Op 17 was to be Novelletten, an obvious nod in the direction of Schumann’s Op 21 set. The conflict between the idyllic dream and the struggle of reality was a prominent artistic motif at this time—the so-called Silver Age in Russia. Daphnis and Chloe (No 1) exudes contentment and innocent playfulness, whereas the bellicose No 2, with more than a hint of Polonaise rhythm, has the relentless drive of an army on the march. In the third and most substantial piece the idyll returns in a heightened and more rapturous form, rising to near ecstasy at its conclusion.
from notes by Hamish Milne © 2012