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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
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
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
(1804 - 1857)
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
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"
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),
Cover painting "Sadko in the Underwater
Kingdom" by Ilya Repin
Design by Evgeni Kostitsyn