Chabrier's picture of Spain suggests not only the warmth and colour of that country, but also his own eager, gaily flamboyant nature. Into the brilliant and glowing piece the rhythms of Spanish folk music naturally enter, and the percussion instruments are prominent.
In 1880 Tchaikovsky paid a visit to Italy, and was pleased with tho popular tunes he heard people singing there. Some of them he worked up into this 'Fantasia' (as he called it) - a piece in the cheerful spirit of peasants in rude health.
The opening military 'call' is a reminiscence of the music the Composer heard when he stayed near a barracks in Rome. Then various folk-songs are brought in. The last section of this work is in the style of the lively Tarantella dance.
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