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Great Composers - Poland Issue - Rimsky-Korsako...

Taruskin points out this statement, which Rimsky-Korsakov wrote while Borodin and Mussorgsky were still alive, as proof of his estrangement from the rest of The Five and an indication of the kind of teacher he eventually became.[149] By the time he instructed Liadov and Glazunov, "their training hardly differed from [Tchaikovsky's]. An ideal of the strictest professionalism was instilled in them from the beginning."[149] By the time Borodin died in 1887, the era of autodidactism for Russian composers had effectively ended. Every Russian who aspired to write classical music attended a conservatory and received the same formal education.[150] "There was no more 'Moscow', no 'St. Petersburg'." Taruskin writes; "at last all Russia was one. Moreover, by century's end, the theory and composition faculties of Rubinstein's Conservatory were entirely in the hands of representatives of the New Russian School. Viewed against the background of Stasov's predictions, there could scarcely be any greater irony."[151]

Great Composers - Poland Issue - Rimsky-Korsako...

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Much of his best-known music today bears these qualities. It also reflects his fascinations with the wider world, be that the great expanses of the Russian Empire and modern Europe or lands of myth and mystery. Is there any symphonic poem, for instance, that speaks with more evocative passion, exoticism, or tunefulness than Sheherezade? Similarly, few composers of any day have captured the sultry heat of Iberia better than Rimsky did in his Capriccio Espagnole.

Known for its vodka, the Kremlin, nesting dolls and literature, Russia has also had its share of greatness in the arts. The classical music world was no exception producing some of the best composers in the world with unique and ground breaking styles they lead the way in a number of different genres.

In fact, the genre of art song, or the romans (plural romansi, after the French romance), flourished in 19th century Russia. (1) All the great pre-Revolutionary Russian composers wrote art songs, from Glinka's 78 and Tchaikovsky's 109, to Rimsky-Korsakov's 84, Borodin's 16, and Rachmaninoff's 71 contributions to the literature. Other lesser known song specialists, such as Anton Rubinstein and Cesar Cui, composed hundreds more, leading to the development of a large and strikingly varied repertoire. Yet most songs by these composers, even some of their great masterpieces, are infrequently performed and essentially forgotten. The perceived difficulty of the Cyrillic alphabet forms an obvious but not insurmountable reason for this repertoire's neglect outside of Russia--yet, even Russian-born singers tend to know only a small number of these wonderful songs.

Our inherited expectation that Russian music must be nationalistic in intent and character is reinforced by our knowledge of high profile public genres such as opera. Russian operas were highly visible social events that typically involved many collaborators, including composer, librettist, theater managers, performers, and a government censor, all of whom had different goals and priorities. The greater popularity of French, Italian, and sometimes even German operas required Russian composers to offer something different and distinctive in order to attract performance opportunities, funding, and press attention, such as reviews in prominent journals. In addition, the medium of opera allows the composer to select his or her subject matter from Russian history... 041b061a72

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