Stretching the idea of the “tone poem” somewhat, here is Alexander Glazunov again, this time looking back in time rather than east in direction. This orchestral suite is called “From the Middle Ages,” and it is just that: a musical depiction, in Glazunov’s thinking, of the climate of medieval Europe. There are big melodic strokes here, to be sure (this is a Russian Romantic, after all), but there are also intimate expressions of medieval dance, the songs of the troubadours, and the marching of the knights off to Crusade. At times this piece almost evokes for me the finest in film music.
Here is Glazunov’s suite “From the Middle Ages.”