May 10, 2021

Piano Music for Gardening


The adage “April showers bring May flowers” signals the time for gardening, a favorite pastime of Tomoko. She considers it as a way to wake up, to recharge her psychic batteries. “It’s a fresh feeling.”

Refresh yourself with these ten piano pieces inspired by gardens, with a little information about each piece.

In the 1930s Hungarian Bela Bartok wrote a collection of 85 short pieces entitled For Children. One of those compositions is "Rose Garden." These pieces attest to his belief in the importance to educating youngsters in contemporary musical styles.

Amy Beach was the first major American female composer of large-scale art music. Her 1922 Opus 97, Grandmother’s Garden, consists of five parts, each capturing a different flower.

Aaron Copland’s Down a Country Lane was commissioned by Life magazine to be featured in a 1962 issue, which includes photographs and an article explaining that this piano piece was one of the few compositions written express for young students by a major composer.

Claude Debussy’s “Jardins sur la pluie” (Gardens in the rain) is part of his 1903 composition Estampes (Prints). It captures the round of raindrops that storm a French garden. 

As a gift to his mother, Australian Percy Aldridge Grainger arranged an English folk tune into the 1918 piano piece “Country Gardens.” The piece was his greatest success financially, selling over 40,000 copies yearly in the United States. However, Grainger came to resent having to perform it constantly.

A visit to a monastic garden inspired English composer Albert Ketelbey to write “In a Monastery Garde.” In 1915. Ketelbey was known for light orchestral music, and wrote music for silent films.

Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu’s 1938 suite Window on the Garden consists of four lyrical movements. The piece reflects his short stay in Paris just before escaping from the forthcoming Nazi invasion.

Edward McDowell was America’s best known composer at the beginning of the 20th century. His 1902 piano New England Idyls combines classical European harmonic elements and American textual imagery, as exemplified in the piece "An Old Garden."

Rachmaninoff became known for his lyrical inspiration, where the piano captures the sentiments of the text. Lilacs, Op 21, No. 5 “Lilacs, along with Daisies” was composed in 1902 as a song with accompaniment, but was later transcribed as a sensitive piano solo miniature.

In 1893 Tchaikowsky wrote his last solo piano work, 18 Pieces, one a day. Value-bluette, No. 11, was dedicated to the daughter of his lawyer and friend Nikolay Kondratyev.