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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's music for the first time in Russian history was
perceived as the Voice of Russia.  This Voice also was heard and enjoyed in other countries.
    Glinka was born in a noble family which owned Novospasskoye village near Smolensk. He got 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" 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 Russian character.
    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.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn


Mikhail Glinka
(1804 - 1857)

   1. Overture to the Opera "Ivan Susanin" - 9:24
  
   Dances from Act II of the Opera "Ivan Susanin":
   2. Cracovienne - 5:27
   3. Mazurka - 4:31
   4. Waltz - 5:32

   5. Overture to the Opera "Ruslan and Ludmila" - 5:00

   Dances from the Opera "Ruslan and Ludmila":
   6. In Naina's Castle (Act III) - 15:04

   Oriental Dances In Chernomor's Castle (Act IV):
   7. Turkish - 2:34
   8. Arab - 1:36
   9. Lezghinka - 3:09

   10. Chernomor's March from the Opera "Ruslan and Ludmila" - 4:21

   11. Andante Cantabile and Rondo in D minor - 17:04

             Total time - 74:09


The USSR Symphony Orchestra (1-4, 6-11)
The USSR Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra (5)
Evgeni Svetlanov, conductor

Recorded in 1963 (5), 1967 (7-9), 1968 (10), 1977 (1,6),
1982 (4), 1984 (2,3), 1990 (11).
Recording engineers: Pazukhin (1,4,6,7-9), Kozhukhova (2,3,11),
Gaklin (5,10)

Cover painting "Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom" by Ilya Repin
Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn