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The role of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-57) in
Russian music is comparable to the role of Shakespeare in English literature.
Glinka established the Russian national music school. Tchaikovsky wrote
that "all Russian music was contained in Glinka's "Kamarinskaya"
like a majestic oak in a tiny acorn". Glinka was the first composer
whose music was perceived as the Voice of Russia. This Voice also was
heard and enjoyed in other countries.
Glinka was born into a noble family, which owned
Novospasskoye village near Smolensk. He received the best possible education at
that time at Tsarsko-Selskiy Litseum. The school was established for the
education of the Russian elite. Among graduates were Russian philosophers,
diplomats, writers, painters and composers - Pushkin, Glinka, Griboedov,
Zhukovsky, Odoevsky, Mitskevich, Delvig... These graduates became the
pride of the Russian state for centuries. After his graduation, Glinka
spoke six foreign languages. Among basic disciplines at this school were
music, literature, painting and architecture. Glinka also dedicated a
great deal of his time analyzing symphonic scores and took lessons in
composition and piano from John Field in St. Petersburg and music theory
from Siegfried Dehn in Berlin. During the summer time, Glinka loved to
play violin and flute with a symphony orchestra owned by his uncle.
The facts of Glinka's biography are not hidden from the
public, however some Western musicologists portray the composer as a lustful
fellow who studied sex techniques swapping women in countries he visited and who
developed his technique of composition by shaking the hands of Bellini and
Donizetti during his trip to Milan. You may also read that listening to a
clarinet quintet by Crusell, a composer from the Russian province called in the
19th century Suomi (now Finland), was crucial for Glinka's determination to
become a composer, that the composition by the Finnish composer developed in
Glinka "knowledge and appreciation of Western-style music", which was
"scant until he heard" the quintet by Mr. Crusell. The common
statement is that Glinka was sick, lustful, poor and barely educated before
visiting countries of Western Europe.
In fact these trips were designed to polish and extend his
knowledge, to establish personal contacts and represent Russia abroad.
Glinka was recognized and became a friend not only to the Russian Tsar Nikolai
I, but also to Berlioz, Liszt, Bellini, Donizetti and Johann Strauss.
Glinka's music represents Russian classicism. It brings
an abundance of positive energy, reveals harmony and balance so common to the
This album contains overtures and orchestral pieces from
Glinka's operas "Ivan Susanin", "Ruslan and Ludmila" and a
less known symphonic cycle known as "Andante Cantabile and Rondo in D
minor". This two-movement composition was written in 1823, in
Novospasskoye, and initially was considered as a sketch for a future symphony.
Evgeni Svetlanov and the USSR Symphony Orchestra perform the
program. Overture to "Ruslan and Ludmila" is performed together
with the USSR Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra.
Evgeni Svetlanov (1928-2002) was born in Moscow.
He studied piano with Maria Gurvich, composition with Mikhail Gnessin and Yuri
Shaporin and conducting with Gauk. After graduating from the Gnessin Institute
and Moscow Conservatory he joined the staff of the Bolshoi as a principal
conductor (1963-1965). In 1965 he became a leader of the USSR Symphony
Orchestra and was in this position till 2000.
In 1979 Svetlanov received the appointment as principal guest
conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra and the last concert in his life was
given in London in 2002. Svetlanov received numerous honors and awards:
1968 - People's Artist of the USSR; 1978 - the Order of Lenin; 1983 - Soviet
State Prize for Creative Achievements; 1998 - Order for Meritorious Services to
the Nation. He also was awarded the Paris Grand Prix for his recording of
the complete symphonies by Tchaikovsky.
Svetlanov's work at the position of principal conductor of
the USSR Symphony Orchestra from 1965 till 2000 resulted in the performance and
recording of almost the entire Russian symphonic repertoire.
©2004 Evgeni Kostitsyn
(1804 - 1857)
1. Symphony on Two
Russian Themes - 15:17
2. "Jota Aragonesa"
(Spanish Overture No. 1) - 9:08
3. "Summer Night in Madrid"
Fantasia on Spanish Themes (Spanish
Overture No. 2) - 9:01
4. Waltz-Fantasia - 8:43
Music to a play "Prince Kholmsky"
5. Overture - 6:41
6. Entr'Acte to Act II - 3:32
7. Entr'Acte to Act III - 3:25
8. Entr'Acte to Act IV - 3:38
9. Entr'Acte to Act V - 3:32
(arrangement for orchestra by
Mily Balakirev) - 8:25
Total time - 71:43
The USSR Symphony Orchestra
Evgeni Svetlanov, conductor
Recorded in 1984(1,5-9), 1967(2-4),
Recording Engineers: Kozhukhova(1,5-10), Galkin(2-4)
Painting "Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka"
by Ilya Repin
Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn
© 1990 Gramzapis
© 2002 CDK Music