Tune of the Day: Orientale by Cui
César Antonovich Cui was a Russian army officer and a teacher of fortifications; of course, he was also a composer and music critic, and in this sideline he is known as a member of The Five, the group of Russian composers under the leadership of Mily Balakirev dedicated to the production of a specifically Russian type of music.
Like so much of Cui's music, the 24 miniatures that together make up his Kaleidoscope for violin and piano are now forgotten — with the exception of the famous “Orientale”, which has been a staple on violinists' and cellists' encore lists for a full century now. This 6/8 time Allegretto rides along on a tambourine rhythm set up by the soloist in the opening bars. The main tune is offered by the piano a few bars in, and later taken up “con morbidezza” (“with tenderness”) by the violin/cello/flute.
Thanks to Kathrine for suggesting this tune!