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Russian Music 





"wiiS^by The New Temple Press, 17 Grant Bo^dTCroydon. 


WHEN this history was embarked upon* the 
British pubHc had hitherto manifested but a 
sUght interest in Russian music, and the output of 
modern Russian composers was regarded as a bypath 
remote from the great main road of the art. In the 
comparatively short interval since the commencement 
of this work (at the close of 1912) a remarkable 
change has taken place and there is now to be observed 
a widespread and ever increasing curiosity in regard 
to Russian music of all kinds — a spirit of inquiry not 
confined to the public of the European mainland but 
which happily is as keen in Great Britain as anywhere. 

Music-lovers have apparently resolved to make 
amends for their long neglect of the Russian school by 
taking every opportunity of performing or listening to 
Slavonic music and at the same time by seeking all the 
available knowledge in respect of those masters whose 
names are linked with the glories of both the Moscow 
and the St. Petersburg schools of composition. 

But while the demand for information has become 
more and more insistent the supply has remained sur- 

' The early pages appearing in " Tlie Musical Standard.' 


prisingly meagre and fitful. From time to time the 
newspapers have devoted space to articles treating of 
individual Russian composers or to a study of some 
particular composition, but no one volume has as yet 
been dedicated to the purpose of giving a connected 
account of the rise and progress of the Russian school 
of musicians. 

The present book has been undertaken with no other 
object than lo fill a gap which though for a long time 
ignored has now made itself apparent to many musi- 
cians and music-lovers. 

In a work of this character it is obviously impossible 
to include a comprehensive survey of operas such as 
those belonging to what I have called the pre-Nation- 
alist period. And, indeed, when my early chapters 
were written — at a date prior to the inaugural season of 
Russian opera at Drury Lane — there did not seem to 
be the faintest likelihood that Dargomijsky's " Rus- 
salka" would ever be performed in England. As this 
work, however, has now figured in some of the pre- 
liminary announcements of the approaching season, I 
am inserting its plot in an appendix. 

I have now to make my acknowledgments to Mrs. Rosa 
Newmarch, whose writings on various Russian musi- 
cal and literary subjects have been an unfailing source 
of assistance; to Mr. M.-D. Calvocoressi, whose contri- 
bution to the literature of Russian music has very 
greatly aided me; and to Mr. Edwin Evans, junior, to 
whom I am indebted for my fi.rst introduction to the 
Russian school of composition. 

London, May, /p//. 




Part I. 
I. VoLKOFF, Berezovsky, Bortniansky 


II. Glinka. "A Life for the Czar" 

III. "RussLAN and Ludmilla" 

IV. Dargomijsky 

V. "The Stone Guest" and "The Five" 

VI. Seroff and Lvoff 




Part II. 

I. Balakireff 

... 63 

II. Cesar Cui 


III. Borodin 




V. "Boris Godounoff" 


VI. " Khovantchina " 


VII. The Last Phase 

... 167 

Jill. Rimsky-Korsakoff 

... 1/9 


Part III. 
I. Glazounoff 


III. Arensky 255 

IV. Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein and the Ec- 

lectics 260 

V. Taneieff 274 


Part IV. 


I. Rachmaninoff 281 

II. Gliere and Ippolitoff-Ivanoff ... 287 



V. Akimenko, Tcherepnin and Rebikoff 303 

VI. Steinberg, Medtner and Catoire ... 307 

VII. Stravinsky 311 

VIII. Operatic and Concert Enterprises ... 317 

Appendix I 325 

Appendix II ... '. 335 

FRONTISPIECE .• Rimsky-Korsakoff, 



THERE is every sign that the music of Russia is 
coming into its own. The circumstances of its 
earlier discovery by France is perhaps due, to 
some extent, to the fact that there is a literature of the 
subject in the language of that country — there have, at 
any rate, been concerts from time to time in Paris 
which have been devoted to the music of Russia and 
which partook, in some cases, of the nature of festi- 
vals. In 1844 Berlioz conducted a concert in which 
several fragments from Glinka's operas were played, 
and later Glinka himself gave a concert of which the 
programme consisted entirely of works from his own 
pen. During the Paris exhibitions of 1878, 1889 and 
1900, special attention was paid to the creations of 
Russian composers, while in 1907 there was held in the 
French metropolis a veritable festival of Russian 
music, chiefly operatic. Festivals of concert music 
have also been held in Belgium — in 1885 at Antwerp, 

J 2 


under the direction of Borodin, 'at Liege under the 
presidency of Cui, and at Brussels in 1890 with Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff as conductor. 

In Great Britain, however, interest in Russian music 
is the result rather of sporadic efforts. Sir Henry J. 
Wood has succeeded in familiarising the works of 
Tchaikovsky and has given isolated performances of 
many works by other Russian composers, and in 1909 
Mr. Kussewitsky, the celebrated contra-bassist, gave a 
series of concerts for the purpose of bringing forward 
some worthy compositions by his compatriots, but 
there does not appear to have been any organised 
attempt to bring the intelligence of the existence of 
the school as a whole within the public ken. The 
visits of the Russian ballet which seem likely to 
become annual have not affected to any large extent 
the interest in Russian music, because to the general 
public the literary interest of these ballets has been 
predominant at the expense of the music. Quite re- 
cently in a newspaper notice of a ballet, the music to 
which was originally conceived and is habitually pre- 
sented in symphonic form, by which indeed the ballet 
itself is inspired, the composer's contribution was dis- 
missed as a mere appendage of the drama in spite of 
its being one of the chief works of one of the most 
celebrated of Russian composers. Other proofs that 
the few seeds sown in England have fallen upon more 
or less barren ground are not wanting. In 19 13 the 
Philharmonic Society has allowed the perfonnance of 
a symphony originally brought forward by Mr. 
Kussewitsky in 1909 to be announced as the first per- 
formance in England, and during its rehearsal I was 
questioned by a prominent professional musician as to 


the nationality of its composer, who is quite the most 
remarkable and certainly the most notorious product 
of the Russian school. 

Because the contemporary Russian composer is by 
way of usurping the established prerogative of the 
French musician, that of seeking a new harmonic basis, 
and because the names of Scriabin and Stravinsky 
are associated chiefly with attempts to break down all 
the formalistic barriers, there is a danger that the 
music of the founders of the Russian school will come 
to be regarded as old-fashioned and will be relegated 
to the category of the archival before the intelligence 
as to the actual initiation of that school and of its 
influence has been chronicled in such shape as will 
allow of ready access to the general musical public. 

Ey means of the following chapters it is hoped at 
least to minimise such a danger.* 

* Since this introduction was written a season of Russian 
opera at Drury Lane Theatre has been the means of arousing a 
lively interest in Kussian music and has brouglit forth a con- 
siderable amount of fragmentary information. 




T has often been pointed out that the literature and 
the music of Russia have a common origin, that cf 
popular inspiration. Russian literature has derived 
much from the inexhaustible fund of legends 
which form the folk-'ore of that vast empire, and its 
music has been inspired by a wealth of popular songs. 
There are several collections of folk-songs, the most 
celebrated being that of Pratsch who assembled no 
less than one hundred and forty-nine, from which two 
volumes Peethoven culled the Russian themes 
employed in his " Razumovsky " quartets. A circum- 
stance also common to both arts has been a movement 
during the later history of each to free them from the 
influences of the west and to endow them with a truly 
national character and complexion. At the close of 
the eighteenth century the prevailing interest in music 
as well as in literature was chiefly confined to foreign 
importations. During its first half the poet Tredia- 
kovsky (1703-69) occupied himself in the task of forg- 
ing a literary language for Russia. Prior to this, the 
official language of the empire, thanks to the influx of 


foreigners during the reign of Peter the Great, was 
pervaded by Dutch, French and German words. 
Trediakovsky was succeeded in this undertaking by 
Michael Lomonossov (171 1-65) who is credited with 
the achievement of having constructed and tuned an 
instrument which was ultimately to serve as a fit 
medium of expression for the poetic genius of Push- 
kin, the great national singer. The musical art in 
Russia was destined to be the subject of a similar pro- 
cess of emancipation. It was not until after the death 
of the Empress Anne (1730-40) who had engaged in 
1735 an Italian opera company under the direction of 
Francesco Araya, at that time fam.ous as a composer, 
that efforts in a nationalistic direction were made, first 
by the Empress Elizabeth (1741-61) who formed a 
company of Russian native singers and subsequently 
by Catherine the Great (1761-96) who carried on this 
work and caused representations to be given of many 
operas by Russian composers. This must not, how- 
ever, be invested with too great a significance, seeing 
that although these operas were by native composers 
and were sung in the vernacular, ' the flavour of the 
music was still thoroughly Italian. The composers 
here referred to are Volkoff, whose opera, "Tanioucha," 
is credited with being the earliest musical work having 
in any sense a Russian character; Fomine, for one of 
whose V, orks, " Matinsky," Catherine herself supplied 
the libretto ; Titoff, whose endeavours were also in 
part nationalistic, and Cavos, who, though Venetian 
by birth, lived for forty-five years in Russia and 
assimilated in a considerable degree the tincture of the 
Slav temperament. 

But there was a certain activity, in another musical 


sphere, which was destined to have a great influence 
upon the future. The choir of the Imperial : Chapel 
which had been suppressed after the death of Peter 
the Great, was revived during the reign of Anne. The 
first musician to produce great results from this choir 
was Maxim Soznovich Berezovsky (1745-77), who is 
regarded as one of the fathers of the art of religious 
music in Russia. The beauty of his voice and his 
aptitude for composition when a boy attracted the 
attention of Catherine, who sent him to Bologna where 
he studied for several years under the guidance of the 
then celebrated Padre Martini. Returning to his 
native country he applied himself to the composition 
of devotional works and did his utmost to initiate 
some necessary reforms in the Greco-Russian church 
service. His early death is attributed to the chagrin 
consequent on the failure of these endeavours. That 
the failure was not total is evident from the fact that 
he is to-day considered as one of the most gifted com- 
posers known to the history of Russian sacred music. 

Dmitri Stepanovich Eortniansky (1751-1825), who 
was destined to succeed and somewhat to outshine 
him, was ten years his junior. He, also, owed the 
attention of his royal mistress to the quality of his 
soprano voice, and he was hardly seven years of age 
when by favour of the Empress Elizabeth he was 
placed under Galuppi, at that time master of the 
imperial music at St. Petersburg. At the departure 
of Galuppi from Russia in 1768 Catherine, who was 
unwilling that the boy's talent should fall short of 
fruition, sent him after his master to Venice, whence, 
at Galuppi's suggestion, he subsequently proceeded to 
Bologna. During a long stay in Italy he composed a 


large number of works in the Italian style, both sacred 
and secular. On his return, however, to St. Petersburg 
in 1779, when he was immediately appointed principal 
of the Imperial Chapel, he took up the cause of the 
national in his art. Cognisant that the section of 
Little Russia, known as the Ukraine, was by virtue of 
its clement climate a prolific source of good voices he 
went to that district for all his choristers, and by dint 
of careful and enthusiastic training he assembled a 
choir of such vocal excellence that its traditions and 
its ideals have been carried on to the present time, - 
when the Imperial Choir is an object of admiration to 
all foreign musicians privileged to hear it. Instru- 
mental -cnusic is not—permitted-Jji— the— Greek—GEH-rcJi, 
anB it is to the circumstances of being_obliged._to sing 
unacco mpanied~ By an instrument that the Russian 
choir singer owes~liis facility in~maintaining__g^itch. 
During the ensuihg~pmod~fhere"Were~ several more or 
less tentative efforts toward the establishment of a 
national movement for which, however, the time was 
hardly ripe. It was during this, the golden period of 
Russian literature, in the reign of Nicholas I, that 
Alexis Nicholaevich Verstovsky (1799-1862) com- 
posed and produced an opera which attained con- 
siderable popularity : " The Tomb of Askold." He 
wrote in all six operas but the one mentioned eclipsed 
all the others in popular favour, so much so as to 
receive, in the first twenty-five years of its existence, 
six hundred performances in St. Petersburg and Mos- 
cow alone. Alexander Nicholaevich Alabieff, who 
appeared a little later (1802-52) is better known by his 
songs than by his one operatic venture, especially by 
"The Nightingale," which used often to figure in the 


"lesson scene" in the "Barber of Seville." The suc- 
cess of Verstovsky was due rather to the abundance 
of pleasing melody which graced his operas than to 
any special talent either for dramatic effect or in- 
genuity of instrumentation. 

It was not until the advent of Glinka's "A Life for 
the Czar" in 1836 that the Russian school can really 
be said to have been inaugfurated. 



was born on May 20 (June 2*) at the village of 
Novospasskoi, in the government of Smolensk, on 
the estate belonging to his father, a retired army 
officer. He showed signs at an early age of the pos- 
session of an extremely nervous disposition and a 
lively aptitude for music. His father was well-dis- 
posed toward the art and did nothing to stifle his son's 
affection for it ; his grandmother, who was responsible 
for his early upbringing, being an invalid herself, fell 
naturally into the error of molly-coddling the boy, 
with the result that he never succeeded in throwing 
off an inherent hypochondriacal tendency. His father 
was not particularly well off, but his mother's brother 
was blessed with sufficient substance to be able to 
aff"ord the upkeep of a private band. When the 

* The Russians have not yet accepted the change in the 
calendar made by Pope Gregory XIII in the year 1582. The 
alteration was adopted by Enprl«id in 1751. 



Glinkas entertained this band was lent to them by 
him, and it is to this early association with music of 
the best class that young Michael owed the develop- 
ment of his taste. Of the music of the people he 
heard plenty, and his timely assimilation of the folk- 
I song style is to be held as the chief cause of the ger- 
1 mination of his adult passion for the national ideal. 
1 The case of the Russian school which was to come is 
analogous with that of Glinka. Prior to its inception 
the music of the populace may be said to have been 
confined to that of folk-song, of which the Russian 
empire boasts such a wealth. The domain of Russian 
popular song is extraordinarily vast, and voices senti- 
ments relating both to an enormous territorial tract 
and a remarkable diversity of idea. There are songs 
of mythical gods, of fabulous mortals, ancestral epics, 
songs, heroic and tender, and rhapsodies upon the sub- 
jects (and regarding the objects) of love and hate. 
The Russian empire stretching from the Baltic coast 
to Persia, from the boundaries of Turkey to the Arctic 
circle, comprises in its people an immense variety of 
race, and as may be imagined, the climatic differences 
are no inconsiderable factor in the varied character 
of these songs. The songs of the north are as differ- 
ent from those of the southern peoples as are the folk 
themselves. As is natural, the art of song flourishes 
to the greater extent in the southern portion of the 
empire, and it has been said of the Slavs, whenever 
at work and whenever resting, they sing of the road, 
of the river, of the prairie, of the forest, of the corn, 
of the open air, of the fireside, both in single voices 
and in concert, as occasion serves. Just as we are told 
by himself of Glinka's determination to make this 


treasury of national song the fount of national music, 
so the Russian school, who were his direct descendants, 
were imbued with this same idea of deriving as much 
thematic substance as possible from the same origin, 
and thus preserving the national character in their 
music. Mr. Melchior de Vogue, whose essays on "The 
Russian Novel" were published during the year 1883, 
said therein that when Russia should beget some 
serious musicians these songs should provide an un- 
limited source of inspiration. The tardiness of this 
pronouncement goes to emphasise what has often been 
remarked and what was the subject of frequent com- 
plaint by Tchaikovsky : that very little was known in 
Russia of the Russian school at a moment when it was, 
in reality, in full strength. 

Glinka took his earliest lessons on the piano under 
the paternal roof from his governess. In 1817 he went 
to a boarding-school in St. Petersburg, where he re- 
mained until 1822, and where he received further piano 
tuition from John Field himself. He also studied the 
violin with Eoehm,* who is said to have found him an 
unpromising pupil. In 1822 he made his first essay in 
composition, one of his five valses for piano and a set 
of variations, of which he wrote in all eight. He 
seems to have spent these years in profitable fashion, 
for during this period he exercised a natural faculty 
for acquiring foreign languages, which is a_Slay rhajj^ 
acteristic, and mastered Latin, French, German, Eng- 
lish and Persian. He also paid a particular attention 
to the subjects of geography and zoology. A fact 

* Not to be confounded with the teacher of Joachim who 
lived in Vienna. 


that may account for some weaknesses in his music 
is that despite the seriousness of his attitude towards 
the art he did not undergo a regular theoretical course 
until some years after this. 

His health was never of the best, and in 1823 he had 
a nervous breakdown which necessitated a change of 
scene, and he made a tour of the Caucasus and took 
the cure which the waters of that country are supposed 
to offer. On his return home he prosecuted his musi- 
cal studies with an ardour the renewal of which he 
traced to the effect of the sulphur in these waters. He 
recounts in his memoirs how he took his uncle's or- 
chestra in hand and rehearsed each section with the 
dual purpose of rendering justice to the work in hand 
and of familiarising himself with the masterpieces 
with which he came thus to make acquaintance. In 
this way he was able to study in detail some sym- 
phonies and overtures of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, 
Cherubini and Mehul. In 1824 his studies were some- 
what intermittent, as he had not at that time considered 
music as a life career. He secured a position in a 
government department, and took up residence in St. 
Petersburg. But the fact of having less opportunity 
for study did not cause any diminution of his passion 
for the musical art, and in 1828 he decided to avail 
himself of an offer of an allowance from his family 
to devote himself entirely to music. During his em- 
ployment by the State, in spite of a natural timidness, 
he threw himself amongst the world, choosing the 
most cultured acquaintances, and mixed with a variety 
of young men who were congenial to him on account 
of their artistic proclivities. Among these were Prince 
Galitzin, whose son became such an untiring pro- 


pagandist of the cause of Russian music, and Count 
Wielhorski, vviio was also imbued with the desire to 
advance its prospects, which project he carried out in 
practical fashion by giving some notable concerts. 
Another member of the circle was Alexis Tolstoy, the 
poet. One and all were determined to take every op- 
portunity of propitiating the muses in one form or 
another, and they pursued this ideal with an enthu- 
siasm bordering on frenzy. From Glinka's memoirs 
we learn some details as to these miniature festivals, 
or perhaps one should say, orgies of music. One of 
them took the form of a sort of musical water carnival 
at which a chorus of Boieldieu, who had spent eight 
years in Russia as conductor of the Imperial Opera, 
was performed. For another he composed the 
"Slavsii," which apotheosis of the fatherland was 
destined to become the most popularnumber in his "Life 
for the Czar." At a third he took the part of Donna Anna 
in a translated version of Mozart's "Don Juan." At 
an "evening" given by the Princess Stroganoff, who 
lived in the district of Novgorod, over a hundred and 
fifty miles from St. Petersburg, he played Figaro in 
"The Barber." 

As time went on Glinka perceived that this round 
of pleasures, of an artistic nature though they were, 
did very little towards effecting a practical musical 
advancement, and at the same time he found himself 
once again under the necessity of paying some regard 
to the claims of physical well-being. In the spring 
of 1830 he accordingly left Russia for Italy, paying 
a short visit to Germany en route, in company with a 
famous singer, Ivanoff by name, whose talents were 
fostered, thanks to the material assistance of the Czar 


Nicholas I* Glinka settled for a year in Milan, 
where he studied with Basili, director of the Con- 
servatoire. He became acquainted with Donizetti and 
Bellini, and not only familiar with, but considerably 
influenced by their music. He witnessed the first pub- 
lic representation of "La Sonnambula," and arranged 
and published fantasias upon its themes as well as 
of those of other operas of the same stamp. He then 
spent a few months at Naples, but it is evident from 
his autobiography that he was constantly hearing the 
■'call" of Russia. Finally his artistic nature 
responded, and it was at this time that the idea of 
creating a truly Russian type of music really seized 
upon his imagination and became a firm intention 
which was not abandoned. He still felt that his 
theoretical knowledge was insufficient, and on his way 
back to Russia he went for a few months once more 
CO Berlin, where he placed himself under the cele- 
brated Dehn, who, twelve years later, became the 
teacher of Anton Rubinstein. Dehn saw the folly and 
futility of putting a man of twenty-nine back to the 
very first rung, and instead set to work to reduce the 
chaos of promiscuously acquired knowledge to some 
sort of order, taking his pupil through a rapid survey 
of the essentials of musical theory and of the practice 
of composition. All this time Glinka was haunted by 
the one idea of qualifying as the prophet of Russian 
music. In a letter to one of his St. Petersburg friends 
he mentions this idea, and lays stress upon the con- 

* Ivanoft became eminent in Italy and contracted a firm 
friendship with Rossini. He subsequently incurred the dis- 
pleasure of his royal patron by forsaking Russia to which he 
never returned. 

glinka's LITERARY CIRCLE. 1 5 

dition that the opera which he had resolved to attempt 
must not only be Russian by virtue of its Russian 
subject, but its musical substance. He insists that the 
work must be thoroughly national. He wishes to 
figure before his compatriots as a true Russian artist, 
and before foreigners as a poet singing his country 
and his race, and not, in his own words, as a jay be- 
decked with the plumage of birds of another feather. 
In 1834, on the death of his father, he returned to 
Russia. Domiciled once more in St. Petersburg with 
a former friend, he found no difficulty in gathering 
up the dropped threads of his artistic acquaintance, 
and w-as soon the centre of an intellectual circle which 
included Pushkin, Gogol and Joukovsky, the fine 
flower, that is to say, of contemporary Russian liter- 
ature, men who indeed were destined to bear the 
greatest names in the literary history of the empire. 
To these men the idea of nationalising the artistic 
product of their fatherland was entirely congenial, 
and Glinka received every possible encouragement. 

It was Joukovsky, virtually the leader of the circle, 
who proposed to Glinka the subject of the heroic and 
patriotic deed of Ivan Soussanin as libretto for an 
opera. Such it became, and thus it is that the name 
of Ivan Soussanin is more familiar to Russians as 
the hero of Glinka's opera, "A Life for the Czar," 
than as a figure in Russian history. The circumstances 
which form the plot of the libretto are taken from a 
page in the annals of the Russian empire, which has 
but recently been the subject of commemoration at the 
tercentenary of the Romanoff dynasty. In 161 3 the 
Poles invaded Russia, and, not content with threaten- 
ing the throne of the newly-elected Michael Romanoff, 


actually plotted against the Royal life. Several of 
the Polish chieftains, ignorant of the whereabouts of 
the monarch, approached Ivan Soussanin, a peasant, 
and without disclosing their identity and their plans, 
solicited his aid as guide in their search for the 
Royal person. Ivan, suspecting treason, elected to 
sacrifice his life for that of his sovereign and country, 
and, having sent his adopted son, Vania, to warn the 
Czar of the dangers surrounding him, engaged him- 
self to the Poles and led them into the depths of a 
labyrinthine forest from which they could not pos- 
sibly retrace their road. The Poles, on perceiving the 
deception, turned on Soussanin and speedily put him 
to death. 

Glinka was not slow to recognise the merits of this 
story. Its epic character, its pathos and its poten- 
tialities as to national colour, both dramatic and 
musical, all appealed to him with immediate force, 
and he set to work to put the' idea into such shape 
as would ht it for a theatrical purpose. Joukovsky 
was the tutor to the Royal family, and he suggested 
Baron Rosen, the Royal secretary, as librettist. The 
latter was readily accepted in this capacity by Glinka, 
who asked nothing better than to proceed at once with 
the work of realising his life's ambition. Rosen, who 
was a German, does not seem to have been quite so 
zealous, and the fact that Glinka had frequently to 
re-arrange his music to suit the words which should, 
properly speaking, have inspired it, is held to aixount 
for certain flaws in the relation of the libretto to the 
music. Glinka's notion, too, of contrasting Polish and 
Russian musical themes for the purpose of a musical 
portrayal of the conflicting, nationalities did not occur 


to him until after the libretto was begun, and on thirac- 
count, too, the homogeneity of the work was somewhat 

The prejudicial obstacles with which the path of 
creative genius is so often strewn were not absent in 
Glinka's case, and for some time the management of 
the Imperial Opera refused to allow the work to be 
performed. Eut Glinka was able to bring the most 
powerful influences to bear, and in 1836 "A Life for 
the Czar ' was given its first public performance with 
magnificent success, and the genuine Russian operatic 
school was an accomplished fact. It achieved imme- 
diate popularity, the only dissentients being a few 
aristocrats who complained that the music was founded 
upon plebeian airs.* It is not difficult to realise what 
must have been the effect upon a public accustomed 
to and sated with the conventionalised inanities of 
Italian opera, of such scenes as, for instance, that con- 
stituting the second act : the brilliant spectacle of the 
Polish camp in full fete and the gorgeous climax 
created by the pageant of the Emperor's royal pro- 
gress through his capital. The interest of the stage- 
play, as well as inspiring the composer to a superb 
effort, kindled the patriotic flame of the Russian 
people to an extent unprecedented in the annals of 
the Russian theatre. 

It must not be supposed, however, that Glinka had 
been able entirely to rid himself of the effect of his 
sojourn in Italy, and it is indeed more than likely 
that the alloyage of an occasional Italian flavour, 

* It is interesting to note that the greatest living exponent 
of the role of Soussanin is of the humblest origin. 



especially in the concerted vocal numbers, with the 
nationalistic character of the whole, was responsible 
for the immediate success of the work with the people. 
There was nevertheless a certain originality of writing 
which was the expression of Glinka's own musical in- 
dividuality, and which voiced its needs. It would 
be difficult to trace the use of bars of five and seven 
beats to any outside or previous influence, and it 
should be noted that this rhythmic freedom was, for 
some little time at all events, confined as a charac- 
teristic to the Russian school. Cesar Cui, who has 
contributed so much to the literature of the subject, 
points out a weakness in "A Life for the Czar" which 
can easily be understood. He calls attention to the 
comparative awkwardness with which the Polish music 
is fitted into the whole, and further, that it is all of a 
conventional and superficial pattern. It consists, he 
says, of polonaises and mazurkas, and protests that 
Polish nationality is expressible in other terms and 
by other means than that of a succession of songs in 
these rhythms. He rounds off his criticism, however, 
by allowing that the fusion of inspiration and creative 
power evinced in the composition of "A Life for the 
Czar" was of an order which justifies the placing of 
Glinka amongst the greatest composers. Whatever 
criticism may have been levelled at certain imperfec- 
tions in Glinka's masterpiece, it is abundantly clear 
that it enjoyed an extraordinary popularity. In 
December, 1879, it reached its five hundredth perform- 
ance, and in November, 1886, a special representation 
was given, not only at St. Petersburg, but in every 
Russian town boasting a theatre, in celebration of the 
fiftieth anniversary of its first production. At Mos- 


cow it was actually given at two theatres simultane- 
ously. The occasion was invested with national im- 
portance. A history of the opera was published which 
contained a picture of a statue of Glinka which had 
been erected at Smolensk, near the composer's birth- 
place, some years previously. It will be seen that the 
popular acclamation of this symbol of the birth of 
the Russian school was equalled by the intensity of 
feeling which prevailed at its commemoration — a re- 
markable testimony to the artistic judgment as well 
as to the fidelity of the Russian people. 



ONE of the fruits of the success sustained by the 
production of " A Life for the Czar " was the 
appointment of Glinka as director of the Im- 
perial Chapel Choir, and in that capacity he paid visits 
to Little Russia and to Finland in search of new 
voices. It will be remembered that it was from Little 
Russia that were .recruited the singers who originally 
assisted in establishing the fame of this choral body. 
It was whilst on these journeys that Glinka collected 
some musical material for his second opera, " Russian 
and Ludmilla." This work was based upon one of 
the earliest poems of the famous poet, Pushkin, of 
which the subject was a fairy tale. Glinka applied 
to Pushkin himself for a dramatised version, but 
hardly had the poet accepted the invitation, when he 
was killed in a duel arising out of the supposititious 
infidelity of his wife. Not until shortly before breath- 
ing his last, was Pushkin assured of her innocence. 



Glinka, who had been married since 1835, him- 
self suffered at this time from domestic mis- 
understanding which culminated in separation, and 
this circumstance, together with that of his having 
employed no less than five librettists as substitutes 
for the single hand of Pushkin, is held to have been 
contributory to a certain weakness in the "book" of 
" Russian." Its combined authorship is in a sense 
comparable with the battalion of names so often to 
be found on the title page of English musical come- 
dies, and the literary content of the opera suffers 
naturally enough from a certain disunity and from a 
lack of dramatic cohesion. Musically, the homo- 
geneity of "Russian" is interfered with by a sort of 
prophetic " Russi&cation " which was nevertheless the 
means of giving full scope to the eclecticism of its 
composer. Thus while some of his score is couched 
in true Russian vein, it contains sections on the one 
hand of a semi-Oriental and on the other of a Tartar 
character. Further, as the outcome of his visit to Fin- 
land, he was able to give to the music of Finn, the 
wizard, the particular territorial flavour demanded by 
the circumstance that the magician of Russian legends 
is invariably of Finnish origin. Altogether the musi- 
cal characterisation, the music itself and the orches- 
tration are of a very much riper quality than that of 
"A Life for the Czar," and in uniting the best features 
of the Italian, French and German schools with his 
own individual genius Glinka succeeded in creating 
a work of a high order — one which embraced some 
epoch-making innovations. 

The plot of "Russian and Ludmilla," consisting as 
it does of a gallimaufry of characters and incidents, 


is not easi^.y reducible to coherency. The first act 
opens with an entertainment held by Svietosar, Grand 
Duke of Kieff, in honour of the suitors of his daughter 
Ludmilla : Russian, valiant knight, Ratmir, Oriental 
dreamer and poet, and Farlaf, coward and braggart. 
Russian enjoys the preference. During a chorus in 
propitiation of Lell, god of matrimony, the festivities 
are interrupted by a thunderclap and a sudden dark- 
ness, and when light returns it is seen that Ludmilla 
has been carried off. Svietosar, her father, promises 
her hand to the rescuer. The second act takes us to 
the cave of Finn, the wizard, to whom Russian has 
repaired for advice. Russian, hearing that Ludmilla's 
abduction is the work of Tchernomor, the dwarf, and 
having been warned against the machinations of 
Naina, a wicked fairy, goes on his search. The scene is 
changed and discovers Farlaf in consultation with 
Naina, who persuades him to neglect Ludmilla until she 
has been found by Russian, and then to carry her off 
afresh. After a further change of scene, Russian is 
seen on an old and mist-enveloped battle-field where 
he hnds a lance and a shield. The mist clears and 
reveals a gigantic head which, in order to harass 
Russian, creates, by means of its brobdingnagian 
breathing-apparatus, a storm ; the knight overcomes the 
head with a stroke of his lance and finds beneath it 
the magic sword destined to secure for him a victory 
over Tchernomor. The head explains that its inglori- 
ous isolation is due to the treachery of the dwarf, who 
is its brother, and explains the use of the avenging 

The third act passes in the enchanted palace of 
Naina and introduces Gorislava, who loves Ratmir. 


The latter appears but is enchanted by some comely 
maidens who be'ong to Naina's court, and turns a deaf 
ear to Gorislava's entreaties. But for the timely in- 
terference of Finn, Russian, who also comes on the 
scene, would himself succumb to the influence of the 

The fourth act is placed in the dwelling of the 
villainous Tchernomor. Ludmilla is here found in- 
consolable in face of all distraction proffered her. 
Fatigue finally brings sleep. She is awakened by 
Tchernomor, who enters, followed by his suite and his 
slaves. Fie scats himself at Ludmilla's side and gives 
the signal for a divertisement. This is interrupted by 
the arrival of Russian, and Tchernomor, who, as a 
hasty precaution, plunges Ludmilla into a deep trance, 
advances to meet the knight in combat. Russian is 
the victor, but is unable to awaken Ludmilla. On the 
advice of Gorislava and Ratmir, who come to his aid, 
he carries off the sleeping Ludmilla in the direction 
of Kieff. 

In the fifth act, whilst Ratmir is taking his night 
watch over the party of travellers, the benevolent Finn 
appears and gives him a magic ring with which to 
break Tchernomor's spell. The scene changes back to 
the palace of Svietosar, and the deferred abduction 
by Farlaf takes place. Fie in turn is baffled by Lud- 
milla's trance, and flies in terror before Russian, who, 
magic ring in hand, restores Ludmilla to conscious- 
ness and himself to happiness. 

"Russian and Ludmilla" was produced in 1842. 
With the public the work proved, in comparison with 
the earlier triumph of " A Life for the Czar," a dismal 
failure. Ey some this has been attributed to the new- 


ness and strangeness of the musical ideas it contained ; 
but M. Pougin probably hits the nail on the head 
when, quoting from a St. Petersburg contemporary 
newspaper, he reminds us that at the last moment the 
part of Ratmir had to be relegated to an obscure con- 
tralto, who, curiously enough, was a namesake of Mme. 
Petrova, a favourite operatic singer originally chosen 
for this role. There must nevertheless have been a 
considerable curiosity on the part of the public, for 
"Russian and Ludmilla" ran for thirty-two perform- 
ances before it was taken off. It was given some 
twenty times in the two following seasons and did 
not disappear from the repertory until St. Petersburg 
was deprived of Russian opera, which migrated to 
Moscow, owing to the engagement of Rubini and a 
troup of Italians, in 1844.* Later on, after the death 
of Glinka, the work was destined to come into its own. 
It was revived at St. Petersburg, after a lapse of fifteen 
years, in 1859, and when again mounted in 1864 it 
remained in the bill of the Maryinsky Theatre, and 
was subsequently honoured in similar fashion to " A 
Life for the Czar" in 1892 with a jubilee celebration, 
which took place at its two hundred and eighty-hfth 

Glinka considered his second opera as considerably 
superior, in point of artistic maturity, to his first, and 
its failure to achieve a unanimous success bitterly dis- 
appointed him. The consequent depression of spirits 

* Rubini had visited the capital in the previous year, and 
besides succeeding in making a profit of fifty-four thousand 
francs, received at the hands of Nicliolas I the appointment of 
director of singing in Russia and the rank of colonel. 


proved once more a menace to his health, and he had 
again to leave his native country in search of a com- 
plete change of scene. He went first to Paris, in 1845. 
Pie had already been made aware of the sentiments of 
esteem which had been fully expressed by contem- 
porary composers, such as Meyerbeer, Liszt and Ber- 
lioz, and once in Paris he lost no time in presenting 
himself to the latter, who was at the time occupied in 
directing a series of orchestral and choral concerts. 
Berlioz, like Glinka, was nettled by the neglect of his 
native public, and the fellow-feeling on the French- 
man's part kindled an affection for Glinka, which was 
given expression in a most eulogistic essay in the Paris 
"Journal des Debats," of which he was then the musi- 
cal correspondent. In return. Glinka took steps to 
secure for Berlioz's music a better appreciation in 
Russia, and these efforts came to fruition on Berlioz's 
appearance in St. Petersburg a twelve-month later. 
Glinka was deeply impressed by Berlioz's orchestral 
innovations. He determined to make further essays 
himself in symphonic form, and at the same time to 
effect a compromise in the matter of harmonic com- 
plexion, so that while satisfying his own artistic needs, 
his music would not be of a nature likely to prevent it 
from securing popular appreciation — a very worthy 

Prior to leaving Russia, he had completed the in- 
cidental music to a tragedy called "Prince Kolmsky," 
the work of Kukolnik, a friend of the composer, who 
is described by a somewhat austere Russian literary 
historian as a poor playwright and a worse novelist. 
This music is generally considered as containing the 
best work of Glinka, and it won the very high esteem 


of Tchaikovsky in spite of his regard of his com- 
patriot more as a gentleman than an artist.* But it 
was not until Glinka left France, for Spain, that he 
found material in the moulding of which he could 
execute the resolve prompted by his experience of 
French musicianship, and he had left Spain for 
Russia, ere he set to work upon this task. 

He arrived in Spain in May, 1845, spent the summer 
at Valladolid and the winter at Madrid. He seems 
to have been much impressed by the excellence of the 
climate, which suited him particularly well, as did also 
the life he led, free as it was from every care. He 
was able materially to enrich his store of subject 
matter for those future compositions in Vv'hich are to be 
found variations upon Spanish songs and dance 
themes. In his diary he notes that the Spaniards, like 
the Russians, are under the spell of Italian music and 
regrets that the use of the Spanish national idiom in 
art-music is, for that reason, far from frequent. There 
is little doubt that Glinka found that he possessed a 
natural sympathy with this Spanish popular music. 
He makes no attempt to account for it, but this has 
been done for him, and very plausibly, by Mr. M.-D. 
Calvocoressi, who, in an exhaustive monograph, points 

* Tcliaikovsky somewhat commits himself by quoting a certain 
passage occurring in Glinka's "Memoirs" which he did not 
consider to be quite "parliamentary" when writing to his 
patroness, Nadejda von Meek, and while confessing himself 
astonished that a person of such coarseness should be capable 
of the refinement inherent in the " Slavsia " (the patriotic 
chorus in "A Life for the Czar" which apothecsises Russia) 
he seems to ignore the fact that the inclusion of the stigmatised 
passage in a letter to a lady was a case of "pot calling kettle 
black" I 

glinka's travels. 27 

out that like the music of Russia, that of Spain 
derives some elements from the Orient. Mr. Calvo- 
coressi calls attention further to the anomolous circum- 
stance that the exploitation of Spanish rhythms by 
modern native ccmposers is derivable from the exam- 
ple of the Russian master. 

After two years in Spain Glinka returned to Russia 
He spent the following winter at his home and then 
proceeded to Warsaw, remaining there for three years. 
His chief output during his stay in Warsaw consisted 
of " Kamarinskaya," "Jota Aragonese" and "A Night 
in Madrid." 

"Kamarinskaya" is an orchestral fantasia founded 
on a nuptial song and a traditional dance which he 
liad heard in his native village, the simultaneous per- 
formance of which, be it noted, foreshadowed both 
the manner and the matter of his symphonic arrange- 
ment ; therein, as will be remembered by those who 
have heard the work, the two themes are placed in 
juxtaposition with a superb mastery of means. The 
"Jota" and the "Night in Madrid" are given the 
generic titles of overture and in thes: he employed the 
materials accumulated during the Spanish sojourn. 

This period was brought to a close by a renewal of 
the desire for travel. In 1852 he started in the direc- 
tion of France. He called once more at Berlin, where 
he made the acquaintance of Meyerbeer, then went on 
to the south of France, not making any prolonged 
stay, and thence direct to Pans. In this year he made 
a beginning upon a symphonic poem on the subject of 
Gogol's "Tarass Eoulba," one which must surely have 
had a sufficiently strong appeal ; but it was not 
destined to be completed, the reason as given by the 


composer being that he was unable to shake off an 
obsession by German musical cliche in the execution of 
his developments. 

On the outbreak of hostilities in the Crimea in 1854 
he returned to St. Petersburg, a step, it is said, which 
was large'.y due to patriotic feelings, and passed 
a quiet time in company with his sister. This period 
was destined to have an important influence upon the 
subsequent course of events in the history of modern 
Russian music, for amongst the circle of young musi- 
cians in which Glinka moved at this time, were Alex- 
ander Seroff, whose later critical work was particularly 
helpful in the development of the Russian school, 
Darjomijsky, who became the successor of Glinka in 
the domain of Russian national opera, and Balakireff, 
who, as was prophesied by Glinka himself, ultimately 
found his true mission in bearing the nationalistic 
standard, and, it should be added, in strengthening 
its staff. Whilst in St. Petersburg, Glinka began a 
further attempt at opera on a subject drawn from the 
work of Shakovsky, an eighteenth century poet, but 
relinquished the project on the birth of a desire to 
devote himself to church music. In order to study 
the western ecclesiastical idiom, he once more sought 
the guidance of Dehn, and for that purpose proceeded 
in 1856 to Berlin. This was his last journey. Early 
in January, 1857, Meyerbeer, availing himself of the 
presence of the Russian master in the German capital, 
arranged a special concert devoted to Glinka's works, 
and it was on leaving the hall, that Glinka contracted 
the chill which brought about his death on Febru- 
ary 3. He was buried in Berlin, but three months 


later his remains were conveyed to their present rest- 
ing place in St. Petersburg, where a monument was 
erected to his memory in igo6. 

Glinka possessed the faculties of original produc- 
tion and assimilation, and these combined enabled 
him to invest the folk-song material employed by him 
with the dignity requisite for its embodiment in the 
form of art-music. As has already been pointed out, 
his success as a composer was not as complete as it 
might have been, had he conceived from the outset the 
intention to devote himself entirely to a musical 
career, and thus prepared himself by a thorough 
grounding on the theoretical side of his art. He was 
also much hampered by poorness of health, the legacy 
of his pajnpered childhood. His claim to immortality 
must rest upon his having uni&ed the experience and 
the aims of earlier and lesser composers in the accom- 
plishment of his single purpose, that of placing Rus- 
sian musical nationality upon a firm basis. 


IT will be remembered that among the artistic circle 
in which Glinka found himself during the last 
years of his life, spent in St. Petersburg, was Dar- 
gomijsky, who, as has been said, became his apostolic 
successor in the domain of Russian national opera. 
Certain differences in the aims and achievements of 
these two masters will be referred to in due course. 

Alexander Serguievitch Dargomijsky was born on 
the country estate of his parents, situated in the 
government of Toula, on February 2, 1813. The an- 
cestral home was at Smolensk, but this had been 
vacated owing to the Napoleonic invasion, a year prior 
to the birth of our subject. Like Glinka's, his parents 
were in comfortable circumstances. The child was 
extraordinarily backward, and did not begin to speak 
until five years of age. When he was six he received, 
in St. Petersburg, his first musical instruction, some 
piano lessons, but it is recorded by Fetis that the 
pupil paid scant attention to the actual mechanism of 
piano-playing, the lesson hour being usually spent in 


prolonged discussions arising out of an early penchant 
for the composition of sonatinas and little movements 
of different kinds. Two years later he began to learn 
the violin, and soon reached a proficiency enabling 
him to take part, as second violin, in the performance 
of string quartets. From this time dates his realisa- 
tion of the higher import of the musical art. At fif- 
teen he was composing duets for piano and violin 
and a few string quartets. A little later his parents 
who were sufficiently enlightened to appreciate the 
importance of cultivating the artistic side of their 
son's nature, placed him with Schoberlechner, a well- 
known teacher and composer, whose wife had a 
highly-paid engagement as singer at the Italian Opera 
in St. Petersburg. Schoberlechner was able to impart 
to the lad the rudiments of harmony and counter- 
point. The master retired with his wife to a villa in 
Florence in 1831, and this interruption of the youth's 
lessons was in all probability the cause of his candi- 
dature for a government appointment which he re- 
ceived in this year. His official occupation was not 
allowed, however, unduly to interfere with his favour- 
ite pursuit. He perfected himself in piano-playing, 
became an exceptionally brilliant sight-reader, and, 
mixing as he did in a musical set, found himself very 
much in demand in society drawing-rooms, particu- 
larly in the capacity of accompanist to singers of 
repute. In this manner he became thoroughly con- 
versant with the vocal idiom, occupying himself 
therewith to an extent indeed which rendered impos- 
sible a sufficient research in the direction of instru- 
mental technique. It was now that he wrote a quan- 
tity of songs, romances, cantatas and part-songs, with 


accompaniment for piano or quartet. At this time he 
was little more than an accomplished amateur, at- 
tracted to music by the pleasure to be derived from 
its performance, and had not yet conceived any views 
in respect of its propagation as an art. The signi- 
ficant meeting with Glinka, however, resulted, as may 
be easily imagined, in a distinct widening of Dar- 
gomij sky's artistic horizon, and it was from Glinka 
that he first derived the notion of improving his tech- 
nical resources as a writer, with a view of becoming 
an operatic composer. To this end the State appoint- 
ment was relinquished, and he set himself anew to 
study the subjects of harmony and counterpoint, for 
which purpose Glinka lent him the note-books used 
by him in his studies with Dehn, the Berlin teacher, 
and also to a careful perusal of the orchestral scores 
of classic works. 

When he felt that his resources had been sufficiently 
improved, he began to look out for a suitable subject 
for an opera. His choice first fell upon Victor Hugo's 
"Lucrezia Borgia," but this does not seem to have 
pleased him, for hardly had he made a start upon the 
score than he relinquished the task and transferred 
his labours to the setting of another work by the great 
French poet. Hugo had already drawn from his 
novel, " Notre Dame de Baris," a libretto which had 
been employed for operatic purposes by the daughter 
of Bertin,* a patron of Berlioz. On it he had be- 
stowed the title of " Esmeralda," the name of the 
gipsy queen who is the heroine of the novel. This 

* Bertin had a controlling interest in the "Journal des 
Debats,' of which Berlioz was musical critic. 


version was performed in 1836 at the Paris Opera, 
but in spite of the care with which it was mounted 
and cast, it was doomed, as an undeniably poor pro- 
duction, to failure. It was in the same year that Dar- 
gomijsky resolved to make use of this text, and having 
first written his music to the existing French words, 
and having then had them translated into Russian, 
he was able, in 1839, to present the completed work 
to the directors of the Imperial Opera. In matters 
such as this, as many artists of genius have discovered 
to their cost, the official mind works slowly, and Dar- 
gomijsky was destined to experience the pangs of 
disappointment, which are the fate, in varying degree, 
of most worthy candidates for artistic recognition. 
In spite of every attempt to extort sorriething like a 
decision from the operatic authorities who employed 
a variety of pretexts in attempted justification of the 
delay, it was not until eight years had elapsed that, 
in 1847, he learned of the official acceptance of his 
opera, which was finally produced early in the Decem- 
ber of that year. 

As might be expected, this long interval was instru- 
mental in retarding the composer's development; he 
could not but feel that it would be unprofitable to 
make a further essay of the kind before receiving some 
sort of public verdict upon the completed work. 

"Esmeralda" was produced in Moscow, and was 
pronounced a success, a judgment endorsed four years 
later by its recognition at the hands of the St. Peters- 
burg directorate. As evidence of the popular esteem 
it enjoyed at this time, it may be noted that the ques- 
tion of its production at the Italian Opera was raised 
by the famous Tamburini, who wished to be heard 



in it, but the authorities controlling the Imperial Opera 
availed themselves of an old by-law prohibiting the 
translation of operas by Russian composers into 

At the epoch at which "Esmeralda" was written, 
Dargomijsky was to a great extent under the influence 
of Meyerbeer, whose "Robert le Diable" had captured 
Paris in 1831, and of Halevy; and it is therefore no 
surprise to find that the style in which his first oper- 
atic venture was written is closely akin to that of the 
composers mentioned and that there is nothing posi- 
tively original in its music. There is a feature, how- 
ever, worthy of notice. The remarkable mastery, 
which Dargomijsky subsequently attained in the 
domain of the vocal, is here foreshadowed ; the ques- 
tion of setting the text in such wise as to facilitate 
declamation, a study to which later Russian operatic 
composers were to devote no little attention, had 
already been addressed in "Esmeralda." 

In 1848 Dargomijsky determined again to seek the 
protection of the operatic directorate and he pre- 
sented a work originally designed as a cantata, now 
rearranged as an "opera ballet." This, entitled "The 
Triumph of Bacchus" was inspired by Pushkin's 
dramatic poem. The composer was not this time kept 
long in doubt as to the intentions of the powers. He 
received- an instant and decisive refusal of his work. 
The rebuff does not appear to have caused so great a 
disappointment as to plunge its victim into despair, 
but for some little while he withdrew his attention 
from the dramatic sphere of his art, and occupied 
himself in the composition of a number of songs, 
"romances" and duets which contributed at that time 


far more to the spreading of his reputation, we are 
assured, than did the production of "Esmeralda." 

Dargomij sky's neglect of the opera as medium did 
not last very long, and in his next venture he again 
turned to Pushkin for his literary material. The sub- 
ject which he now chose was that of "Russalka," a 
favourite legend in Russia, relating to a water sprite 
whose behaviour resembles that of a siren. The 
national poet's adaptation of this legend is a poem in 
dialogue which is constructed in such fashion as to 
render it peculiarly fitting for dramatic treatment; 
consequently its arrangement for theatrical purposes 
imposed but a slight task upon Dargomijsky, who 
was able to employ, unaltered, a large amount of 
Pushkin's material. To the setting of this were 
added the choruses and dances indispensable in secur- 
ing the necessary spectacular effect. Much stress has 
been laid upon Dargomijsky's advantage in being 
able to work upon the actual poetic material, as 
against the considerable disadvantage at which most 
composers are placed in having to rely upon the work 
of a librettist, who, with the best intentions is often 
nevertheless baffled in his work by the conflicting 
claims on the one hand of the original, and on the 
other of his reproduction and the purpose for which it 
is destined. Dargomijsky profited to the full by this 
advantage and as a result the score of "Russalka" 
was of a quality which did not fail to earn for him in 
contemporary opinion, the distinction of being con- 
sidered the worthy successor of Glinka in the region 
of opera. 

As to the style and general design of the work, 
opinion is, however, divided, for whereas one writer, a 


Frenchman, compliments Dargomijsky on his fidelity 
to the practice of including the traditional solos and 
concerted vocal numbers at that time inseparable from 
Franco-Italian opera, M. Cui, who at the time of 
writing, was evidently already intent on inaugurat- 
ing his propaganda in active repudiation of the 
claims of the operatic " star," blames the composer for 
the inclusion of "arias, duets, trios and concerted 
items,'' which he characterises as a demonstration of 
Dargomijsky's inferiority. M. Cui allows that the 
composer has reached great heights in dramatic effect, 
but makes a categorical division of the quality of the 
work. Whilst deprecating the inclusion of detached 
numbers, he is immensely impressed by the amount of 
artistic truth in the recitatival sections of "Russalka" 
which is in this particular, he says, entirely free from 
worn-out commonplaces and annoying conventionali- 
ties. He further compliments the composer upon his 
success in giving to the music a complexion which is 
invariably in keeping with the text, so that every 
dramatic detail appears to have sprung, together with 
its musical accompaniment, from a single mind. 

In view of these opinions, it is interesting to note 
that the comparative coolness with which this opera 
was received on its production in 1856 at the now re- 
constructed and rechristened Maryinsky Theatre, St. 
Petersburg, was ascribed to its departure from the 
approved Italian mode which had still a considerable 

The half-hearted reception of "Russalka'' once 
more drove its composer from the rocky path of opera, 
and for four years he again devoted himself to the 
creation of songs in which region his work is as varied 


•as it is copious. Dargomij sky's songs and "romances" 
are illustrative of the whole range of emotion, but 
some of the best specimens are in a vein of humour or 
of satire. His Eastern examples prove him to be the 
possessor of that unfailing instinct for the artistic 
portrayal of the Orient which not only characterises 
the work of the Slav, but is so frequent an agent in 
the choice of a medium'. 

In 1864 Dargomijsky left Russia with the intention 
of acquainting Western Europe with his music. He 
failed entirely to gain a hearing either in France or 
Germany, but the Belgians, who have since shown a 
considerable regard for Russian music, gave him a 
particularly warm welcome. The works chosen by 
him for this pilgrimage were excerpts from " Rus- 
salka" and three orchestral pieces, " Kazachok," "Rus- 
sian Legend" and "Dance of the Mummers." 


BEFORE proceeding to a detailed discussion of 
Dargomijsky's last and in many respects most 
important opera it is necessary somewhat to anti- 
cipate the actual course of events in Russian musical 
history, and to refer to the little band of five musicians 
who came to regard "The Stone Guest" as a model 
which embodied the cardinal principles of operatic 
construction. This group of nationalists and idealists 
owed its formation, in the first place, to the meeting 
in 1857 between Balakireff, its "father," and Cui, its 
■' prophet." Soon after making the acquaintance of 
Glinka, Balakireff found in Cui, a youth of about the 
same age, a congenial companion with whom he could 
profitably discuss the projects which he had founded 
upon the ideas engendered by Glinka's music. A little 
later Moussorgsky presented himself to Balakireff, 
with whom he wished to take lessons, and speedily 
became a member of the circle. In 1856 he had become 
acquainted with Borodin, but saw little of him until 
1862, when Borodin was introduced by him to Bala- 
kireff. Rimsky-Korsakoff, the youngest of the five, met 



Balakireff in the year previous. He at once became a 
discip'.e, but was prevented by absence from a close 
intercourse and an active co-operation with the others 
until some three years later. These five men had 
widely differing temperaments, but were united by 
their common recognition of the ideals of nationalism 
and sincerity in music. They wished to form a national 
style as a medium for the expression in music of 
national characteristics, to preserve in their music, even 
when associated with drama, its intrinsic value as ab- 
solute music, and to make vocal music a source from 
which a clear psychologic exposition of the text should 

Of great importance also were the canons laid down 
with regard to the structure and substance of opera. 
The scenic arrangements were to be entirely dependent 
upon the relations between the characters and upon 
the course of the drama as narrative. There was to 
be a wholesale repudiation of the inanities of Italian 
opera and an attempt to continue the work of Glinka 
and Dargomijsky in freeing Russian music from 
Italianisation, a parasite at that time threatening it 
with ultimate extinction, slowly but none the less 
surely. The music of opera must be composed primar- 
ily with the object of illustrating the text and of re- 
vealing its essential and vital significance. The sub- 
ject of the drama must be worthy and its treatment 
dignified. The vocal artists must not only be trained 
to a high pitch of technical efficiency, but must be im- 
bued with a respect for the work and must be capable 
of a self-effacement, when such was demanded by the 
interests of the work, hitherto undreamed of. The 
scenery must always be in thorough accord with the 


drama and arranged in a fashion befitting the exigen- 
cies of the piece. The departments of stage pageantry 
and ballet must be cultivated, but the composer must 
never allow himself to introduce these features unless 
their presence entirely justified the dramatic situation. 

Such were the ideals of the " Five." 

They may be epitomised as a passionate desire for 
a nationalistic art, which, by embodying the qualities 
of purity, legitimacy and sincerity, should render itself 
safe from any and every contamination. 

At first blush these principles might easily be sup- 
posed to have sprung from a Wagnerian origin. At 
this time, however, Wagner's music was little known in 
Russia, and the nationalist composers, moreover, did 
not by any means see eye to eye with the German re- 
former ; they wished particularly to avoid the attach- 
ment of a predominant importance to the orchestra, 
and they were desirous of defining and adopting a 
compromise between what was the earlier Wagnerian 
conception — a purely lyrical opera — and what Wagner 
actually achieved in his "Ring" — virtually a sym- 
phonic opera. We have from M. Cui, the his- 
torian of the group, a quite definite statement with 
regard to the views of his circle upon Wagner's oper- 
atic music. "I would like," he says, "to preserve my 
compatriots from the dangerous contagion of Wagner's 
decadence; . whoever admires his operas holds 

Glinka as a writer of vaudevilles !" This is obviously 
dictated by a temperamental aversion from the Wag- 
nerian musical style, but elsewhere M. Cui actually 
avows that in his opinion the reforms operating in the 
works of Glinka and Dargomijsky and in these of 


his friends, have but a few points of contact with those 
of the " German innovator." 

On his return from the Western tour, Dargomijsky 
came closely into touch with this group of five musi- 
cians, whom he found already agreed upon the gen- 
eral merits of "Russalka" and with the excellence of 
its "melodic recitative" in particular. Once Dar- 
gomijsky had been made acquainted in detail with 
their combined aspirations, he allied himself to them 
with enthusiasm, and determined forthwith to write 
an opera, which, in every respect, should exemplify 
the principles of the new Russian school. For this 
work he chose as literary basis the incident of the statue 
in " Don Juan," and employed the version offered ready 
to hand by Pushkin's poem, " The Stone Guest." " With 
a hardihood," says M. Calvocoressi, "unparalleled at 
that time in the annals of musical history and which 
is only to be compared with that of Debussy when 
planning his 'Pelleas et Melisande,' Dargomijsky 
chose in place of the conventional libretto — written 
with the special purpose of its musical realisation in 
view — the actual text of Pushkin himself."* 

In this work Dargomijsky developed his idea of 
legitimacy in the relation of song to speech to its limit, 
and he reveals therein his preoccupation with the task 
of making the music at all points the handmaid of 
the text, the sense of the libretto being invariably ac- 
corded the preference. " It is my wish," he wrote, " that 
the music should interpret the words. I have not the 
slightest intention of reducing music to a mere pastime 

* Pushkin's version differs considerably from that of Da 
Ponte, used by Mozart. 


for the benefit of the dilettanti. For me the truth is 
indispensable." He succeeded to the full in realising 
this artistic project, but it must be understood that 
"The Stone Guest" stands in relation to the art of 
which it became " the gospel," rather as that of a peda- 
gogue's textbook to the creation of genius, than as a 
complete and inspired work. But of its acceptance by 
the group, to whom it became known as "the Gospel," 
there is no shadow of a doubt, for in the words of M. 
Cui : "The last work of Dargomijsky constitutes for 
us the key-stone of the new Russian operatic school." 

The work was not destined, however, to be finished 
by the hand which began it. Dargomijsky succumbed 
to the effects of an aneurism in January, 1869, having 
entrusted its completion, on his deathbed, to M. Cui, 
who occupied himself with an unfinished scene, and to 
Rimsky-Korsakoff, who faithfully followed the in- 
structions given him as to orchestration. 

It was not publicly performed until February, 1872. 
A difficulty arose owing to the price placed upon his 
work by the composer exceeding that fixed by an old 
Russian law, i^i6o for an opera by a native composer. 
The amount, £'^'^0, was ultimately raised by public 

With the public the work had a poor reception, and 
many of the critics expressed opinions, which time has 
confirmed, with respect to its want of inspiration and 
the dryness of the "melodic recitative " consequent upon 
Dargomij sky's determined fidelity to his ideal. Wil- 
helm von Lenz, a contemporary writer, speaks of "The 
Stone Guest" as a "recitative in three acts," and M. 
Pougin, in 1897, allowed himself to express, in tones 
almost reaching the pitch of indignation, his astonish- 


ment that a composer should become the victim of 
such an obsession — the critic ignoring any likelihood 
of Dargomijsky's ideal being ever realised with 

What was in truth the missing factor — one indis- 
pensable to the success of such a work as "The Stone 
Guest" — was the possession of an unending flow of 
melodic inspiration, such as was the gift of his pre- 
decessor, Glinka. Whereas Glinka's musical creations 
were "spontaneously lyrical," Dargomijsky actually 
emphasised his limitations by adherence to the fixed 
idea of "melodic recitative." He was, of course, 
already hampered by a strictly limited musical educa- 
tion, and did not cultivate, like Glinka, a potential 
eclecticism by travelling; with the exception of his one 
journey to Western Europe, he spent his whole life in 
St. Petersburg. 

His reputation as an operatic master rests upon 
" Russalka," composed while yet a more or less close 
follower of Glinka's style, and as a musician with a 
purpose (to which he had not yet sacrificed himself), 
upon his songs which may be regarded as an artistic 
consummation of his ideal. He is further to be 
credited with the introduction of the element of 
humour into Russian opera and of satire into Russian 
music. Gogol, the author of " The .Inspector-General," 
is described by a literary historian as having " snatched 
the branding-irons of satire from the trembling hands 
of Kantemir, Von Visine, Kryloff and Griboiedoff 
. . ," but Dargomijsky may be said to have in- 

* Debussy's " Pelleas et Melisande " (published in 1902) is 
virtually a recitative in five acts. 


vented the procedure of employing art-music as a 
means of caricaturing the foibles of his generation. 

The symphonic works, not already mentioned, which 
hold an important place in the history of Russian 
orchestral development, are "Baba-Yaga," a descrip- 
tive fantasia based upon a well-known Russian legend, 
and a "Finnish Fantasia." 



THE names of these two musicians are singularly 
unfamiliar to the casual observer of musical 
origins and histories. Yet the first, exercising the 
functions of criticism and composition, had inter- 
course with several contemporaries whose names are 
household words with the musical amateur. Tchaikov- 
sky, for instance, in spite of a personal repugnance, 
speaks warmly of Setoff's operatic work, and Wagner 
refers to him as " a remarkable man of great intelli- 
gence." As to the second, Lvoff, neither his authorship 
of the Russian national anthem, nor his influence on 
Russian church music have succeeded in arousing any 
particular interest in him on the part of the Western 
musical public. 

Alexander Nicholaevich Seroff was born on January 
23, 1820, in St. Petersburg. His father, a lawyer hold- 
ing a government appointment, was not kindly dis- 
posed towards the musical art, and Seroff owed his 
introduction to the world of music to his meeting with 
Stassoff, the art critic, who became an ardent champion 



of the nationalistic school, and, in that capacity, a 
redoubtable opponent of Setoff. Seroff gave early 
manifestations of the possession of an exceptional in- 
telligence and of a variety of talents. His tastes led 
him to the study of languages, of natural history, the 
plastic arts, the drama, and, above all, of music, to 
which his affections accorded a marked preference. 

He had some piano lessons from an elderly rela- 
tive, a lady, .and soon after entering the School of 
Jurisprudence in 1834 he began studying the 'cello 
with Carl Schuberth, the newly-appointed 'cellist to 
the Czar Nicholas I. These lessons, which did not 
last long, together with those received in youth, con- 
stitute practically the whole of his assisted study, and 
for the rest he was entirely self-taught. When, in 
1840, he left the School of Jurisprudence, he was 
forced against his inclinations, which were denied in 
deference to the parental wish, to accept a government 
clerkship. But his whole being was in revolt against 
the nature of the work, and not only did he spend 
every spare moment in studying musical literature of 
all kinds, but allowed his official work to be inter- 
fered with by the consideration of an extensive plan 
for the improvement of musical biography, which he 
considered crude and unphilosophical in its treatment 
by past writers. He received a very severe blow, how- 
ever, in his transference to a post in the Crimea, 
whither he was sent in 1848 as vice-president of the 
Tribunal. The stagnant life of a small provincial 
town, Simferopol, proved a forbidding obstacle to 
artistic development, and the step taken at this time 
by the exile as a means of advancement, that of secur- 
ing a course of theoretical instruction by corres- 


pondence* did not turn out at all successfully. To his 
official occupation he remained thoroughly indifferent, 
and vouchsafed it the minimum attention. Finally, 
after repeated vain appeals to his father, he decided 
to respond to the call of music, and to the despair of 
his undiscerning parent, he embarked upon a musical 

His natural literary bent led him into the field of 
criticism, which at that time was more or less an arid 
waste of biassed and ill-considered expressions of 
opinion. His first articles, which created a strong 
impression, were published in a literary review. They 
were devoted to an attack upon Oulibicheff,t a musical 
litterateur oi some distinction, who idolised Mozart 
and depreciated Beethoven, especially in regard to the 
latter's last phase. Seroff subsequently became con- 
tributor to a number of periodicals, including the 
"Contemporary," the (French) "Journal of St. Peters- 
burg" and the "Dramatic and Musical Review." He 
became also an industrious lecturer. During the winter 
of 1858-Q he gave a series of lectures on the historical 
and aesthetic aspects of musical theory at the Univer- 
sity; later, in 1864, he devoted a series to music- 
drama, which were repeated at the invitation of the 
Moscow Conservatoire in 1865; and in 1870, six lec- 
tures on the development of opera were given before 
the St. Petersburg Arts Club. 

Unfortunately, his intellectual qualities were seri- 

* Prom Hunke, a theorist of repute, domiciled in St. 

t Author of "A New Biography of Mozart," from which 
Otto Jahn derived a considerable amount of material. 


ously discounted by a polemical acerbity which de- 
tracted from the intrinsic value of his critical pro- 
nouncements. Gustave Bertrand,* while on a visit to 
St. Petersburg in 1874, wrote an article for a French 
paper, after a study of Seroff's writings, in which he 
arrives at what may be presumed to be a just estimate 
of the Russian's critical failings. He sums up Seroff 
as a sort of " superior person " not by any means want- 
ing in recognition of his own undoubted merits and 
quite intolerant in regard to the judgment of con- 
temporaries whom he considered less fitted. There can 
have been no Russian musical writer, says Bertrand, 
with whom Seroff did not engage in combat, and he 
did not scruple when hard pressed to resort to scurril- 
ous invective and abuse. The French writer further 
commits himself to the view that Seroff's method of 
demolishing an opposing theory before bringing for- 
ward his own, was not by any means devoid of dis- 
ingenuousness, and places him in the same category 
as Weber and Wagner, both of whom were alive to 
the advantage of such procedure. 

Seroff's disdain does not appear to have been con- 
fined to the opinions of his compatriots; no European 
musical authority whose precepts or works happened 
to be in conflict with the argument propounded at a 
given moment, was spared it. 

But the most astonishing feature of Seroff's collec- 
tive critical work is his amazing and unashamed self- 
contradiction. An example, cited by M. Pougin, 
should suffice. In 1856 Seroff indulged in an uncom- 
promising freedom of language in differing with Liszt 

* A French critic, distinguished as musical archEcologist. 


and other supporters of Wagner, as to the merit of 
that composer's output. He characterised Wagner as 
a dilettante who had never completed his studies; the 
melodic element in his works was of the feeblest; the 
harmonisation was excessively wearisome and the or- 
chestration a jejune and pretentious attempt to imi- 
tate Meyerbeer and Berlioz. In the very same journal 
two years later he said that no one but a complete 
idiot could fail to appreciate the abundant glow of 
life, poetry and beauty in Wagner's lyric works, and 
in a final descent to the depths of obloquy, he 
exhorted "all anti- Wagnerian cretins to cease vent- 
ing their impotent anger upon those immortal 

Seroff's mental palate must certainly have been in- 
sensible to these early opinions, which he digested so 
easily and so soon. Apart, however, from these over- 
facile changes of view, it should be noted that Seroff's 
polemical dissertations upon operatic structure have 
rendered brilliant service in enabling students of that 
art-form to arrive at a clear perception of real 

The later view, so violently expressed, as to the 
superlative merit of Wagner's works, was the outcome 
of a visit to Wagner in 1858. It should be observed 
that whatever the indifference with which Seroff must 
have regarded, or at least appeared to regard, his own 
change of opinion, the modification was, at any rate, 
in a right direction. The tardy expiation of the ordin- 
ary critical misjudgment has little but its urbanity to 
recommend it ! 

Seroff had, during his visit, imbibed sufficient of 
the strong drink of Wagnerism to become intoxicated, 



and on his return from Lucerne he began to take up 
the cudgels on behalf of the Wagnerian doctrines re- 
lating to music-drama. This was accompanied by a 
passionate repudiation of the tenets of the nationalistic 
group who, as will be remembered, were in favour of 
the treatment of the operatic orchestra as a dignified 
accessory rather than an autocratic principal, and at 
the same time he inaugurated a single-handed cam- 
paign against Anton Rubinstein, whose musical in- 
fluence in Russia he believed to be pernicious. At a 
time when Wagner was little known, when the nation- 
alistic school was beginning to make itself felt and 
when Rubinstein was enjoying a positive adulation at 
the hands of all classes of Russian society, Serolf's 
attitude in these matters was attributed, naturally 
enough, to a deplorable wrong-headedness, a verdict 
which a recollection of his previous critical behaviour 
did everything to support. Seroff's reputation as 
musical litterateur began consequently to wane, and it 
was a distinctly fortunate circumstance for him that 
about this epoch in his stormy career he felt attracted 
towards the creative side of his art, a tendency which 
had its origin in the Wagnerian domination. 

During the winter of i860 he witnessed a perform- 
ance by the celebrated Ristoriof Giacometti's" Judith," 
and his admiration for the work, his belief in its suita- 
bility as a subject and his strong desire for creative 
activity, were responsible for his resolve to adopt it 
as the basis of an opera. 

As a whole-hearted Wagnerian, he naturally under- 
took to provide his own libretto. He was wise enough, 
however, to seek aid both in the planning of the dra- 
matic construction of the work and in the revision of 


his verses,* which he entrusted to the poet, Maikoff.t 
whom he had doubtless met in the Department of Cen- 
sureship of Foreign Newspapers. J With little experi- 
ence as composer at his command, Seroff must have 
been faced with many an obstacle, but after two years 
of unremitting labour, he was able to bring forward 
the completed opera in 1862. It was &rst performed 
in 1863 at St. Petersburg, under the most favourable 
auspices, every possible attention being paid to casting 
and rehearsal. 

"Judith" was a tremendous success, not only with the 
public, but with the critics. That a man who, until 
the age of forty-three, had shown no particular apti- 
tude for composition, should suddenly bring forth an 
opera which might well have figured as the crowning 
work of a creative career was naturally regarded as a 

Tchaikovsky, writing of "Judith" to his patroness, 
von Meek, in 1872, held forth at great length upon 
the subject of Seroff 's character and work, and he 
makes it quite clear that there was nothing half-hearted 
either in the public, the critical, or his own private 
esteem of the opera. M. Cui, who had no reason to 

* M. Pougin seems to regard the fact that SerofE placed 
Maikoff's amendments in brackets as a remarkable lapse into 
fairness I 

t The author of "The Princess" was particularly well 
suited for the work, having passed some years in Italy and 
being thus familiar with the tongue in which the original was 

I Seroff had secured this fairly lucrative and not too absorb- 
ing appointment. 


be pleased with so strong and determined an opponent 
of the nationalistic school, is able to congratulate 
Seroff on his adoption of what the former considers 
a reasonable compromise in the matter of the relation 
of the orchestra to the dramatic and vocal interest. M. 
Clui, shuddering at the very thought of a Russian com- 
mitting a total sacrifice of vocal independence, notes 
wilh satisfaction that Seroff could not bring himself 
to subscribe to such a procedure. Generally speaking, 
the reasoned approbation of "Judith" can be sum- 
marised by reference to the encomiastic utterances of 
Tchaikovsky, who says that the opera is written with 
unusual warmth and sometimes rises to great emo- 
tional heights, and to the occasional depreciations of 
M. Pougin, who, while acknowledging the beauty of 
some concerted numbers and of the spectacular music, 
finds fault with the recitative, which he describes as 
at times heavy and monotonous. 

The successful production of "Judith," besides 
causing an extraordinary accession to its composer's 
already abundant store of self-esteem, was instru- 
mental in exciting his desire to make a further essay 
of the kind. 

To someone who was hardy enough to remonstrate 
with him for not choosing a national subject for his 
first opera, Seroff excused himself on the ground of 
not wishing to be branded an imitator of Glinka, and 
on being further taxed by this very bold interlocutor 
with having nevertheless imitated Wagner, he ex- 
plained that, while adherence to the example of Glinka 
would have been quoted to his disadvantage, his Wag- 
nerian model was not familiar to the Russian public, 
and that "Judith" might be regarded as paving the 

"ROGNEDA." 53 

way to an ultimate understanding of the great Ger- 
man's works. 

For his second opera, "Rogneda," he chose a 
national subject which he derived from a remote his- 
torical period. It is related to the adoption in Russia 
of Christianity, which occurred in the tenth century. 
Seroff's choice of material is said to have been in- 
fluenced by the opportunity thus offered of contrast- 
ing the pagan with the Christian element, and it is 
upon this contraposition that the musical interest of 
the work is based. He again elected to undertake the 
text, and seems this time to have worked unaided. 

The score of "Rogneda" is remarkable for its com- 
poser's secession from Wagnerian influences — a retro- 
gression to the style of Halevy is notable therein. In 
the opinion of M. Eertrand the projection of the con- 
trasted dramatic atmosphere is somewhat too marked; 
Seroff seems to have been a little over-anxious in the 
matter of emphasising the contrasted elements and, 
in his employment of national and religious material, 
appears to have created an effect of patchwork which 
was far from his intention. Tchaikovsky considered 
that " Rogneda " was of a much lower order of achieve- 
ment than "Judith," and does not, in the manner of 
expressing this opinion, give one any reason to sup- 
pose that his dislike of Seroff influenced him in form- 
ing it. "Rogneda" was performed for the first time 
in 1865, two years and a half after "Judith," at the 
same theatre. It was immensely successful, and 
created a sensation surpassing even that following the 
production of the earlier work. Some idea as to the 
extent of the, attention it attracted can be gathered 
from the circumstance that the Emperor granted its 


composer a much-needed pension of twelve hundred 
roubles (about ;£'i2o) annually. 

It is more than likely that the immediate success 
and the principal defect of this opera are closely re- 
lated. As M. Bertrand points out, the work suffers 
somewhat from an undue stress upon its contrasted 
material, which reveals to the discerning critic that 
calculation was a greater factor in its composition 
than inspiration. Seroff's experience as a critic en- 
ab'.ed him to know exactly what was likely to please 
the public, and his vanity must have been such as to 
dictate its propitiation. 

This success and the financial relief which came in 
its train, enabled Seroff to rest a little upon his laurels. 
Turning hi= attention once more to the literary side, 
he showed plainly that his attainment of a general 
popularity as a composer gave him such confidence 
in himself as to encourage him to believe that a modi- 
fication of his antagonism towards his nationalistic 
compatriots might now be adopted without loss of 
dignity. In his lectures on Glinka and Dargomijsky, 
given before the Russian Musical Society in 1866, his 
tone was more or less conciliatory. 

For the text of his last opera he chose Ostrovsky's 
comedy, " The Power of Evil." This work is sym- 
bolical of Seroff's last period. In it he determined to 
embody the application of Wagnerian principles to a 
nationalistic substance. For this purpose he decided 
to introduce the folk-song element. But while pos- 
sessing an exceptionally far-reaching knowledge of 
the subject of folk-song, his musical organism was not 
permeated by its spirit as was that 'of Glinka, and as 
is that, for instance, of Sibelius. "The Power of 


Evil " served plainly to reveal a conspicuous feeble- 
ness of inspiration. The subject itself, like most of 
the output of the author of "The Storm," was of a 
decidedly gloomy nature and was not considered par- 
ticularly suitable for musical treatment. Seroff had 
not completed the work when, in 1 871, he died. The 
task of orchestration devolved upon his pupil, Solo- 
vieff, now an esteemed critic and composer. On its 
production it failed to make an appeal to the public, 
and time has sanctioned this indifference. 

The failure of "The Power of Evil" would doubt- 
less have astonished Seroff, for he was sufficiently con- 
fident of its favourable reception to begin a fourth 
opera based on the "Christmas Eve Revels" of Gogol, 
the Russian Dickens. Some of the material has since 
been worked up by his wife, a consummate musician, 
into an orchestral suite, published in 1877. 

Seroff wrote several works outside the region of the 
theatre : a " Stabat Mater," an " Ave Maria," incidental 
music to " Nero," a " Christmas Song," a " Hopak " and 
a " Zaparogue Dance " for orchestra, and it is believed 
that prior to beginning "Judith" he had composed 
fragments of a work which proved abortive. 

There is no great difficulty in correctly placing 
Seroff in the history of Russian opera. His first two 
dramatic works are held to possess no mean intrinsic 
value, and to excel in the domain of the choral, or- 
chestral and spectacular. The reason for their lack 
of spontaneity seems fairly clear, namely, that Seroff 
was impelled to enter the operatic arena, not by a need 
for musical self-expression, but by a desire to provide 
example as a fulfilment of his own theorising. The 
supreme importance of his works lies therefore in their 


value as illustrations of the various methods and con- 
flicting theories to be noted in a survey of the develop- 
ment of the Russian opferatic school. 

Alexis Feodorovich Lvoff, the composer of the Rus- 
sian national anthem, was born at Reval in Esthonia, 
on June 6, 1799. He was the son of Feodore Lvoff, 
who succeeded Eortniansky as director of the Imperial 
Court Chapel and anent whom there is a surprising 
dearth of biographical material. Musical by tendency 
and advantageously placed as to environment, Alexis 
Feodorovich rapidly attained proficiency on the violin, 
an accomplishment in which he was destined to excel, 
and acquired a good general musiciansiiip under the 
guidance of his father. The circumstance that in 
Russia it was for a long time the custom to regard 
music not as a means of a livelihood, but as a serious 
occupation for the leisure hour, will be touched upon 
later ; it is sufficient for the moment to note that young 
Lvoff entered the army, and enjoying rapid promo- 
tion, was appointed adjutant to Nicholas I, ultim- 
ately attaining the rank of General. His musical 
studies were not, however, neglected ; every spare 
moment was devoted to the artistic object of his pre- 

It was during the period of his adjutancy that the 
circumstance arose which led to his composition of the 
national anthem. Prior to this, the Russians had 
made use of either the German hymn or our own. If 
there be ground for the proverbial assumption that 
song-making is a function of greater importance to a 
people than that of legislation, then Lvoff is un- 
doubtedly worthy of his fame and popularity, which 
rest largely upon this achievement. He has given full 


particulars regarding the creation of this hymn in his 
memoirs : 

"In 1833 I accompanied the Emperor Nicholas on 
his journeys to Prussia and Austria. On returning to 
Russia, I was informed by Count Benkendorf that 
the sovereign had expressed a regret that we Russians 
possessed no national hymn; being, moreover, tired of 
the English tune which had been used as a stop-gap 
for a very long time, he commissioned me to make an 
attempt to write a Russian anthem. 

"This momentous duty seemed likely to prove diffi- 
cult of accomplishment. In recalling the British an- 
them, ' God Save the King,' which is so imposing, the 
French song, so full of originality, and the Austrian 
hymn, of which the music is so touching, I felt and 
fully appreciated the necessity of accomplishing 
something which would be robust, stately, stirring, 
national in character, something worthy to reverberate 
either in a church, through the soldiers' ranks, or 
amongst a crowd of people, something which would 
appeal alike to the lettered and the ignorant. This 
consideration absorbed me, and I was perplexed by 
the problem of fulfilling all these needs. 

" One night, on returning to my quarters at a very 
late hour, I composed and wrote out the tune of the 
hymn on the spur of the moment. Next day I went 
to Joukovsky* and asked him to suggest some words; 
but he was by no means musical and had a lot of 
trouble in adapting them to the minor close of the first 
cadence. Subsequently I was able to inform Count 

* It will be remembered that Joukovsky suggested to Glinka 
the subject of "A Life for the Czar." 


Benkendorff that the hymn was ready. The Emperor 
expressed a desire to hear it, and came on November 
23. 1833, to the Court Chapel, accompanied by the 
Empress and the Grand-Duke Michael. I had assem- 
bled the whole choir and it was supported by two 

"The sovereign ordered the hymn to be played over 
several times, and asked to hear it sung without ac- 
companiment, then he had it played by each orchestra 
in turn and finally with the united body of per- 
formers. His Majesty then said to me in French ; 
'It is really superb,' and there and then he commanded 
Count Benkendorff to inform the Minister of War that 
the hymn was adopted for the army. This measure 
was officially ratified on December 4, 1833. The first 
public performance took place on December 11, at the 
Grand Theatre, Moscow. The Emperor was appar- 
ently desirous of submitting my work for the approval 
of the Moscow public. On December 25, the hymn 
resounded through the halls of the Winter Palace on 
the occasion of the blessing of the colours. 

"The sovereign graciously presented to me a gold 
snuff-box adorned with diamonds, as a mark of the 
imperial pleasure, and also ordered that the words 
' God protect the Czar '* should be added to the armor- 
ial bearings of the Lvoff family." 

Twenty years or so later the anthem was ceremoni- 
ously performed in a fashion which can only be re- 
garded as a deliberate labouring of the obvious. The 
following account was given by the " Gazette Musi- 
cale" on August 24, 1856: " Lvoff's popular Russian 

* The first line of the anthem's text. 


anthem will be sung in three different ways on the 
occasion of the Emperor's coronation during the dis- 
play of a firework set-piece which will represent in 
chronological order the portraits of the Czars Peter 
the Great, Nicholas and Alexander II. The first time 
the hymn will be rendered by a chorus of a thousand 
voices ; the second time by the whole chorus and the 
military bands, and the third to the accompaniment 
of cannons which will be discharged by electricity." 

Other notable recognitions of the tune's merits are 
that of Gounod, who wrote upon it a fantasia for 
piano and orchestra, and Tchaikovsky's employment 
of it in his popular "1S12" overture, in which the 
theme is heard, battling, as it were, with the " Mar- 

But for this achievement Lvoff's name as a com- 
poser would be a good deal less known than it is. He 
must, hov^ever, have been a particularly good violin- 
ist, and was highly esteemed in Russia and also in 
Germany as a quartet-leader. His own string quartet 
was for some time a feature in the musical life of St. 
Petersburg. In 1840 he visited Leipzig and Paris as 
violinist and composer. His compositions include 
various dramatic works: "The Village Bailiff," in 
three acts, which was produced in St. Petersburg, 
"Bianca and Gualtiero,' composed in 1845 and per- 
formed at St. Petersburg and Dresden, "Undine," a 
fairy opera (1846), produced in Vienna, "Starosta 
Boris" (1854) and "The Embroideress," in one act. 
None of them was particularly successful. He also 
wrote a "Stabat Mater," six psalms, twenty -eight 
separate chants for use in the royal chapel, a con- 
certo for violin, "The Duel" a fantasia for violin 


and 'cello, twenty-four caprices, three fantasias for 
violin, orchestra and chorus, one of which was based 
on Russian soldiers' songs, and a number of vocal and 
instrumental works of minor importance. He pub- 
lished, in eleven volumes, an enormous collection of 
ancient chants derived from the ritual of the Greco- 
Russian Church, arranged in four-part harmonies. 

Berlioz's estimate of Lvoff as ''a composer of rare 
talent " is obviously of little value, and it seems pro- 
bable that the Frenchman was favourably disposed 
towards one who held the appointment of manager of 
the Imperial Opera and had invited him to Russia to 
give concerts. 

Wagner speaks with satisfaction of a performance 
of "Rienzi," in 1844, ^t Dresden, at which "these 
learned judges and magnates of the musical world," 
Spontini, Meyerbser and Lvoff, were together present 
in a stage-box, but it is not difficult to perceive the 
disdain which lies between the words of this pompous 
description and which, later, in 1863, was no longer 
dissembled; Wagner mentions the conclusion of a con- 
tract with Lvoff, as manager of the Moscow Theatre, 
and describes him as being " a very insignificant per- 
son . in spite of the orders hanging from his 

The national anthem itself cannot be regarded as 
a particularly happy inspiration, for beyond its tem- 
porary lapse into the minor, it has no affinity either 
with Russian popular song or with the national char- 

In 1867 Lvoff's hearing began to fail, and he retired 
from military service and went to live on his estate at 
Kovno. There he died in December, 1870. 



SOME attention has already been given, when 
dealing with Dargomijsky, to the band of five 
idealists who sought to interpret the nationalis- 
tic message of Glinka. The composer of "A Life for 
the Czar" had lacked one of the most important quali- 
ties of the reformer, that of determination. In this 
connection it has justly been said of him by his 
French biographer, M. Octave Fouque, that it was not 
until his decease that he became an innovator and a 
pioneer and that such reforms as were initiated by 
him were unconscious and not deliberate. But there 
need be little fear of laying too much stress upon the 
influence exerted by Glinka, whatever its nature, upon 
the group of nationalists. His flrst opera with its 
historical subject may be regarded as containing the 
germ of nationalism from which have sprung Mous- 
sorgsky's " Boris Godounoff " and his " Khovantchina," 
Borodin's "Prince Igor" and Rimsky-Korsakoff's 
"Pskovitianka" ("Ivan the Terrible"), whilst the 
orientalism of "Russian and Ludmilla" has with 


every justification been credited with the origin of all 
that eastern flavour which characterises so many of the 
works of the "Ave" and their disciples. 

It is interesting to note that none of these men who 
undertook the active propagation of Glinka's gospel 
lived entirely by the practice of music as a profession. 
Balakireff had sufficient fortune to enable him to 
devote himself to his art without financial anxiety; 
Porodm had, in his primary profession of science, an 
amp^.e means of support; Cui was a military officer of 
distinction; Rimsky-Korsakoff did not resign his com- 
mission in the navy until two years after his appoint- 
ment as director of the Free School of Music, and it 
must be placed to the credit of Moussorgsky that, 
although he frequently experienced the pinch of 
poverty, it never occurred to him to compromise with 
the public by resorting to the "pot-boiler." Instead, 
he sought an administrative appointment which 
enabled him to maintain the level of his artistic ideal. 

Owing to a curious blindness to the benefit of such 
a circumstance or perhaps to the prejudice naturally 
felt by more conservative musicians against the inno- 
vations of the " five,'' accusations of amateurishness 
have been urged against them. The difference in this 
matter between the attitudes of Liszt and Tchaikov- 
sky is particularly remarkable. Borodin, during his 
pilgrimage to Weimar in 1877, had occasion to refer 
modestly to himself as a "Sunday musician," which 
remark called forth an immediate and cordial reas- 
surance from the great virtuoso to the effect that Sun- 
day was a feast-day and that Borodin was well quali- 
fied to officiate ! Tchaikovsky, on the other hand, 
writing to Mme. von Meek in 1878, commits himself to 


some exceedingly faint praise in reference to Rimsky- 
Korsakoff and even to Balakireff from whom, as it will 
be seen later, he had received some particularly inspir- 
ing suggestions, and he indulges in a quite emphatic 
depreciation of Moussorgsky and Cui. His generalisa- 
tion is well worth quotation : " The young Petersburg 
composers are very gifted, but they are all impreg- 
nated with the most horrible presumptuousness and a 
purely amateur conviction of their superiority to all 
other musicians in the universe." 

In reality there was at this time very little of the 
amateur in point of technique about any of the group, 
excepting Moussorgsky. Balakireff was, of course, a 
thorough musician whose erudition had failed to 
render him an academic. Cui had already established 
a reputation as an operatic composer; the technical 
resource displayed by Eorodin in his symphony had 
surprised his friends, and Rimsky-Korsakoff had 
already emerged from the period of theoretical study 
which a realisation of his limitations in this respect 
had prompted him to undergo. 

Balakireff besides being ths initiator of the circle 
was also its leader. Under his guidance his com- 
panions made hrst a thorough study of the classics, 
and then the works of contemporary masters were sub- 
jected to a close examination, with a view not only to 
a complete artistic grounding, but to a discovery of 
the direction in which tradition could be considered as 
at fault. The watchword of the circle was individual 

As might be anticipated, these pioneers began little 
by little to realise that there must be a considerable 
divergence between their aims if individuality was to 



be preserved, and as each began, as it were, to find his 
feet, a gradual differentiation of method was noticed 
in their work. Borodin, in a letter dated 1875, put 
the case very clearly, and employing an exceedingly 
apt metaphor characterises Balakireff as the hen and 
his disciples as eggs "which were all alike," but from 
which sprang chickens that, differing somewhat at first, 
ceased after a time to resemble one another at all. 
But in spite of the comparative disruption consequent 
upon individual development, the circle continued its 
exchange of ideas through the medium of its output, 
and the mutual respect of its members was never for 
a moment endangered. 

Mily Alexeivich Balakireff was born at Nijni-Nov- 
gorod on January 2, 1837. I-Iis mother gave him a 
rudimentary musical education during his early youth, 
but he did not begin to study at all seriously until 
after he had taken a degree at the university of Kazan. 
At this time he came in contact with Oulibicheff, who 
invited the youth to his country mansion in the pro- 
vince of Novgorod, and gave him the run of an ex- 
ceptionally fine literary and musical library. By 
means of his host's private band he made acquaint- 
ance with the principles of orchestration, and in the 
surrounding country he discovered a fund of folk- 
song which was destined to become the nucleus of a 
very fine collection. Balakireff was thus enabled to 
satisfy at one and the same time his passion for musi- 
cal erudition, his desire for technical ability and 
knowledge and his love for the music of the people. 

In 1855 he went to live in St. Petersburg, which city 
he found under the sway of the music of Meyerbeer 
and Bellini, and he set himself at once to combat this 


influence, and with all the energy at his command to 
advance the cause of musical nationalism. It was then 
that Oulibicheff, recognising Balakireff's true metier, 
introduced him to Glinka, and thus laid the founda- 
tion stone of the glorious edifice whose dome was very 
soon to be visible from all parts of Europe. 

During this period his activity as a ccmposer began. 
His first work was a fantasia on three Russian themes 
for piano and orchestra (1857), which was afterwards 
recast as an orchestral overture, his next a fantasia on 
the "trio" from the first act of "A Life for the Czar," 
for piano. Many of his best songs date from this 
period. One of these early works affords signal proof 
of the liberality of his nationalistic outlook. The 
composition of an overture on a Spanish theme given 
him by Glinka, who had, of course, already realised 
the potential importance of the folk-melodies of 
Spain, shows that Balakireff did not confine the pro- 
pagation of his patriotic ideal to his own country. 
Patriotism as an ideal must of necessity lose every 
shred of its ethical foundation unless the toleration 
of a similar spirit in foreign peoples forms part and 
parcel of the sentiment, and Balakireff's recognition 
of the claims of others appears to have been voiced 
by this hetero-national essay to which ten years later 
he added as companion the overture on Czechish 

In 1 861 his plans were well on the way towards 
fruition, and he found time to create one of Ills best 
works — the music to "King Lear" — which is his 
single incursion into the drsmiatic region. Seven years 
later, when making suggestions to Tchaikovsky, who 
was in thematic difficulties with his " Romeo and 


Juliet" overture, he gave full details as to the modus 
operandi employed in the construction of this work. 
It was in 1862, however, that he was able to launch 
the institution which has had so immense an influence 
upon the progress of music in Russia. Together with 
Lomakin, who had been the teacher of Tchaikovsky at 
the School of Jurisprudence, and Stassoff, one of its 
earlier alumni, he succeeded in starting the St. Peters- 
burg Free School of Music in connection with which 
he organised and conducted a series of progressive 
concerts. By means of these concerts he was enabled 
to reach the poorer section of the public who had been 
denied the privilege of listening to orchestral music 
owing to the prohibitive prices of admission to the 
more fashionable and conservative Imperial Musical 
Society, and also to offer opportunities of a hearing 
for the works of budding composers. Thus were pro- 
duced several of the works of Borodin, Cui, Mous- 
sorgsky, Glazounoff and Liadoff. In this year he 
composed the symphonic poem, "Russia," a work com- 
memorating the thousandth anniversary of the in- 
auguration of the Russian empire by Rurik. 

During the winter of 1866-7, he made a journey to 
Prague where he produced Glinka's operas and from 
whence he obtained the material for his " Bohemian " 
symphonic poem. He published at this time his col- 
lection of popular Russian songs which contains the 
germ of many a Russian masterpiece. He also made 
the first sketches of the symphonic poem, "Thamar." 
In the letter to Tchaikovsky, already quoted in refer- 
ence to "King Lear," he gives a very precise idea as 
to the manner in which he was affected by the creative 
impulse. "If," he says, "these lines have a good 

" THAMAR." 6g 

effect upon you, I shall be very pleased. I have a 
certain right to hope for this, because your letters do 
me good. Your last, for instance, made me so un- 
usually light-hearted that I rushed out into the Nevsky 
Prospect; I did not walk, I danced along, and com- 
posed part of my 'Thamar' as I went." 

"Thamar" was destined to be regarded as one of 
his greatest works. Together with " Islamey," the 
piano fantasia which was one of the most cherished 
works in the repertory of Liszt, it reflects the com- 
poser's passion for the oriental and his intimacy with 
the melodic and harmonic idiom of the East. It is 
based upon the poem of Lermontoff which tells the 
story of a Georgian princess who lived in a castle by 
the river Terek, and whose custom it was to attract 
strangers by means of the festivities she never ceased 
to hold. The stranger was invited to join her in the 
dance which became more and more animated, and at 
the moment of supreme exhilaration, he was stabbed 
by Thamar, and his corpse was pitched into the angry 
waters of the river. The gorgeous harmonic colour- 
ing of this work is the outcome of a tour of the Cau- 
casus, undertaken prior to Balakireff's settlement in 
St. Petersburg. 

In i86g, Balakireff was appointed conductor of the 
Imperial Musical Society, and one of the earliest 
works performed under his baton was the "Fatum" of 
Tchaikovsky, which was afterwards destroyed by the 
composer. "Fatum" was dedicated to Balakireff, but 
the latter was not at all pleased with it. After the 
performance he wrote to the composer, and after 
certain critical observations, expressed some doubts in 
reference to Tchaikovsky's attitude towards modern- 


ism, and, between the lines, gave some pretty definite 
indications as to his own. " . you are too little 
acquainted with modern music. You will never learn 
freedom of form from the classical composers. 
They can only give you what you knew already when 
you sat on the students' benches . . " To the credit 
of Tchaikovsky be it said that the criticism was not 
allowed to undermine the friendship that existed 
between the two masters, and he shows quite plainly 
in a letter of that period that if he felt that Bala- 
kireff's remarks were unduly harsh, he could accept 
them in the proper spirit. In this epistle is recorded 
the fact that Tchaikovsky entertained Ealakireff and 
Borodin at a party together with other musicians and 
liilhatctirs: In this year Ealakireff began the actual 
composition of Thamar, and he also revised and pub- 
lished the Spanish overture written in 1857. 

In 1873 he retired from the directorship of the Free 
School, and this post was taken over by Rimsky-Kor- 
sakoff. From this time until his death he lived a more 
or less retired life and passed through several periods 
of comparative inactivity, induced, it is said, by a 
religious and mystic frame of mind. 

From time to time, however, he awoke from this 
torpor and showed that he had renounced neither com- 
position nor his mterest in the work of others. Eoro- 
din, when writing to his friend, Mme. Karmalina 
(Glinka's niece) made a reference to these periodic dis- 
appearances. In January, 1877, he wrote: "Here is a 
very pleasant and gratifying piece of news of which 
you doubtless are ignorant. Ealakireff, the amiable 
Ealakireff, has come to life again as regards music. 
Fie has always been the same Mily Alexeivich, ardent 


defender of the sharps and flats and all the minutest 
details of some composition which formerly he would 
not hear mentioned. Now he besieges Korsakoff once 
more with his letters about the Free School, takes the 
liveliest interest in the composition of concert pro- 
grammes, works at his 'Thamar,' and is finishing an 
arrangement, for four hands, of Berlioz's 'Harold in 
Italy.' . . In short, he is resuscitated." 

Again in 1880, writing to Stassoff to inform him of 
the success of his first symphony he mentions that 
when he sent the same intelligence to Balakireff . . 

"he came at once, radiant, to congratulate me 

It was nine years since Ealakireff had set foot inside 
my house. Eut his manner was just the same as if he 
had only left us the day before. The next day he 

reappeared, gay and radiant he played the 

piano, chatted, discussed, gesticulated with the greatest 
animation. Naturally he let us hear 'Thamar.'" 

He finished "Thamar" in 1882, and a year later it 
received its first performance. In 1884 he dedicated 
the work to Liszt. During 1883 he accepted the post 
of director of the Imperial Chapel, and there intro- 
duced some searching and necessary reforms. 

A strange recrudescence of activity in the direction 
of composition manifested itself towards the close of 
his life, when he published a second symphony in D 
minor — the first, in C, composed in 1897-8, was played 
at Queen's Hall in 1899 — and a piano concerto, his 
last work, which, although it has on one occasion been 
announced, has yet to be performed in England. 

Its best exponent, Liapounoff, was engaged -with his 
master in one of his last labours — the revision of the 


complete works of Glinka. Balakireff died in May, 
igio, at St. Petersburg. 

Apart from the works already mentioned, he com- 
posed a large number of pieces for the piano and 
made many arrangements of the works of other com- 
posers, such as Glinka, Berlioz, Chopin and Liszt. He 
also orchestrated four pieces of Chopin : preambule, 
mazurka, intermezzo and scherzo, which he published 
in the form of a suite, and arranged the seventh 
mazurka for strings. His songs comprise two sets of 
twenty lieder, a set of ten songs and two series of ten 
"romances." There are five works for voice with 
orchestral accompaniment, and a cantata for soprano 
solo, chorus and orchestra, composed for the un- 
veil inj,' of Glinka's monument at St. Petersburg in 

Regarding his songs, Tchaikovsky signalised his 
agreement with Mme. von Meek, in that "they are 
actually little masterpieces, and I am passionately 
fond of some of them. There was a time when I 
could not listen to 'Selim's Song'* without tears in 
my eyes, and now I rank ' The Song of the Golden 
Fish' very highly.'' 

An early panegyric from the pen of Cesar Cui gives 
a more general view as to the value of Balakireff's 
musical personality: "A musician of the first rank, 
an inexorable critic of his own works, thoroughly 
familiar with all music, ancient as well as modern, 
Balakireff is above all a symphonist." 

As for Borodin, he can find no better terms in which 

* To the text of Lermontoff. 


to express his tremendous fidmiration for Liszt, than 
to describe him as "a real Balakireff."* 

But surely there could be no more fitting eulogy of 
this " musician-maker," and none more to his own 
taste, than a record of the fact that he never betrayed 
the mission entrusted to him by Glinka, an inheritance 
which, prompted by his passionate belief in its sacro- 
sanctity, he guarded and cared for so faithfully. 

* This comparison may be presumed to have embraced a 
reference to BalakirefE's exceptional powers as pianist. 



NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that he helped to 
found the association, the position of Cui, 
among the five — as composer, at least — is distinctly 
peculiar. There is something rather more than 
merely suggestive of the paradoxical in the footing 
of one who advocated nationalism with such intense 
conviction and whose work as composer was neverthe- 
less little short of a complete negation of his literary 
Efforts on behalf of the cause. 

As organiser and agitator, Cui's labours were of 
immense value in contributing to the indoctrination of 
the nationalistic idea, not only in Russia, but in 
western Europe. But as a composer his claim to 
consideration is exceedingly slight in comparison with 
that of his colleagues. In one of his operas, " Angelo," 
he approached in one particular the constructional 
pattern accepted by the group, in that he disregarded 
formalistic traditions and adopted in a certain 



measure the " melodic recitative," but even in this work, 
in the planning of which he seems to have been intent 
on complying with the accepted canons, his chosen 
dramatic subject was foreign and not Russian and it is 
not possible to urge on his behalf, as on that of Dar- 
gomijsky (in "The Stone-Guest"), that the text eman- . 
ated from a compatriot. Further it must be pointed out 
that the employment of foreign subject matter pre- 
cluded the introduction of national folk-tunes. 

As to the musical value of Cui's compositions, one 
imagines that although in his case it was probably un- 
conscious, he must have emulated the intention ex- 
pressed by Seroff in regard to one of his own works, 
that of seeking a compromise betwixt his own ideals 
and contemporary musical taste — a method presenting 
little difficulty to one who, as critic, is given constant 
opportunities of examining public taste. 

In his capacity of critic and literary propagandist, 
his services to the brotherhood were exceedingly valu- 
able, howbeit the trenchancy of his style was the means 
of intensifying the quite natural odium evinced by 
academic opposition to the allied innovators. 

Cesar Antonovich Cui was born at Vilna, which is 
near to the north-eastern boundary of Poland, on' 
Jnnuary 18, 1835. His father was a Frenchman, who 
.iiiie to Russia in 1812 with Napoleon's army, was 
severely wounded at Smolensk and was thus prevented 
from taking part in the disastrous retreat. He decided 
!:o establish himself in Russia, and being a man of 
scholastic attainments, he found a billet as private 
tutor, which led to his engagement as teacher of 
French at the Vilna High School. He was quite a 
good musician and composed songs of a certain merit. 


Redomiciled, he took to himself a wife in the person 
of Julie Gucewicz, who belonged to a small land- 
owning family in Lithuania. She was a woman of par- 
ticularly sweet character and subsequently proved a 
devoted mother to the five children, of whom Cesar 
Antonovitch was the youngest. 

The boy had his first lessons in music from two 
local teachers, named respectively Hermann and Dio. 
The latter, who seems to have been the better, taught 
him the violin. Young Cui also received some assist- 
ance from his sister, with whom he used to play duets. 
This instruction was interrupted in 1845, when he was 
sent to the Vilna High School, the institution in which 
his father taught. He had already shown a taste for 
literature and had become familiar with the works of 
Dumas, Sue and Hugo. At school, however, he did 
not succeed in making any particular mark, and it is 
recorded that he found great difficulty in mastering 
the German language. 

In 1849, during the holidays, he was introduced by 
his violin master, Dio, to Moniuszko, the Polish com- 
poser (1820-72), whose opera, " Halka," had three years 
previously been produced with success at Warsaw and 
who lived at this time in Vilna, where he was occupied 
as church organist. The lessons lasted for about six 
months, at the end of which, Cui, who was to embrace 
a military career, entered the St. Petersburg School of 
Military Engineering. He distinguished himself 
during his seven years' course of study (1850-7) in 
such degree as to secure a sub-professorship in the 
School, and subsequently became an authority on forti- 
fication, wrote manuals on the subject, gave lectures at 
the staff college and at the school of artillery, and 


finally attained the rank of lieutenant-general. He 
had several pupils of distinction, including the present 
Czar and General Skobeleff, whose name will be re- 
membered in connection with the Russo-Turkish War. 

His devotion to his profession did not bj' any means 
monopoUse his attention, and during the period of his 
military studentship, he found sufficient leisure to 
occupy himself with music and to conceive some very 
strong views as to the misguided attitude of the aris- 
tocracy towards this art. This secondary vocation 
was, we are told, for a long time a bone of contention 
with his military instructors. 

In 1856, quite by chance, he was introduced to Bala- 
kireff at a " quartet evening " and thus was inaugurated 
a long and auspicious friendship. In 1857 he laid the 
foundation of an alliance of equal importance, but of 
a different nature. He became engaged to be married. 
The lady of his choice, Bamberg by name, was a pupil 
of Dargomijsky. About this time, probably as a 
corollary of awakened affection, he began to compose, 
and from this period" date his two symphonic scherzos; 
the first. Op. i, had a musical basis in the letters 

B. A. B. E. G. from his wife's name, and his own initials, 

C. C.; the second, Op. 2, was labelled "a la Schumann." 
The first was performed two years later under the 
direction of Rubinstein. 

Soon after their marriage the couple found their 
resources unequal to the maintenance of a comfortable 
home, and they decided to open a preparatory school 
of Engineering. This undertaking proved successful 
and did not unduly interfere with his musical 

In 1859 he composed his first dramatic work, a comic 


operetta, " The Mandarin's Son." It shows no signs 
of originality whatever, is essentially French in manner 
and as to matter bears a faithful resemblance to the 
style of Auber. It was intended for private perform- 
ance and was not put forward as a serious work ; the 
principal role was undertaken by his wife and the 
accompaniment was rendered at the piano. 

In this year he brought to completion an opera 
which had been planned in 1857. It was founded 
upon an early poem of Pushkin, entitled "The Pris- 
oner of the Caucasus." This opera offers an oppor- 
tunity of noting the stylistic progress of the composer, 
for, twenty years later, when Cui desired to see it pro- 
duced, he was obliged to add a third act to the exist- 
ing two in order to comply with the condition, then 
prevailing, that no opera of less than three acts could 
be admitted to the repertoire of the Imperial Russian 
Opera.* In the direction of form, "The Prisoner of 
the Caucasus," with the exception of its interpolated 
second act, is conventional and is an echo of the period 
of its composition. It contains, however, some note- 
worthy features in the shape of an attention to legi- 
timacy, some attempt at characterisation and a certain 
felicity in the introduction of local colour. 

It was not until 1861, when his third operatic ven- 
ture was begun, that Cui succeeded in creating a work 
which was to attract a favourable attention. For the 
literary basis of this work, "William Ratcliff," he went 
to Heine's tragedy. In this step, oddly enough, he 

* This regulation had no rational foundation and was a 
severe obstacle to the rising operatic composer. 


was counselled by Balakireff. He retained, as far as 
possible, its original form, but added some choruses. 
Although "William Ratcliff," the music of which is 
spoken of as being somewhat "tainted by Schumann- 
isms," was not by any means a complete severance 
from operatic tradition, it is a work of considerable 
interest from the historical poipt of view, because in 
it was made the first attempt to embody, and thus to 
promulgate, the structural operatic reforms drawn up 
by the "Five." Tchaikovsky sums up the position in 
which Cui was placed by this obligation to the ac- 
cepted creed. "Cui," he says, "is by nature more 
drawn towards light and piquantly rhythmic French 
music, but the demands of the 'band' compel 

him to do violence to his natural gifts and to follow 
those paths of would-be original harmony which do 
not suit him." 

Tchaikovsky further states that the composition of 
this opera took ten years, but this was not in accord- 
ance with fact. "William Ratcliff" was completed in 
1869. It was performed in that year at the Imperial 
Theatre, St. Petersburg, and met with a rather cold 

In 1864 Cui entered the field of newspaper criticism, 
a region in which, as has been said, he has laboured 
prodigiously on behalf of the musical art. From the 
beginning he spared no effort in his endeavours to 

* The critics appear to have considered Ciii's effort to break 
away from operatic tradition as somewhat insufficient ; they 
complained that "William Ratcliff," viewed as a specimen of 
conformity to Cui's stated principles was more or less un- 


suppress the Italian operatic vogue and to elevate 
Russian opera to a state of favour. Whether com- 
bating the influence of effete academicism or defend- 
ing the claims of the cherished nationalistic ideal, his 
satiric style and causticity of manner combined in 
enabling him to hold his own, but a perusal of his 
critical work discloses the fact that on occasion he 
used the bludgeon when clearly under the impression 
that he was wielding the rapier. Pen in hand, he seems 
to have been remarkably biassed and to have found 
exceeding difficulty in forgiving those who had the 
temerity to express an opinion contrary to his. But 
there is no doubt that, despite the obstacles he him- 
self raised, he was instrumental in furthering the pro- 
gress of music in Russia in a considerable degree, and 
in drawing attention to the deserving works of con- 
temporary composers — Russian and other. His ar- 
ticles appeared in a variety of Russian journals, and 
he also contributed to some French musical papers. 

In 1 87 1, Cui began his most important opera, 
" Angelo." The subject, that of Victor Hugo's play of 
the same name, has much in common with that of Pon- 
chielli's "Gioconda," which was produced in the same 
year. " Angelo," which has four acts, seems to have 
occupied most of Cui's time until the date of its per- 
formance in 1876. The work differs from "Ratcliff" 
in nature as in quality. There is less symphonic de- 
velopment and a greater dexterity in adjusting the 
vocal parts to their text. It contains a remarkable 
fund of melody, and is now generally regarded as 
the composer's most solid work; but it has enjoyed 
very little popularity. The first act was seen and 
played over, two years prior to its production, by 


Tchaikovsky, who subsequently gave his opinion that 
it was inferior in substance to "William Ratcliff." 

For quite a long time after the production of 
"Angelo," Cui forsook opera and, confining his output 
to the smaller forms, composed a large number of 
songs and vocal music generally, and a goodly quan- 
tity of little pieces for piano and for violin. 

In 1 88 1 he returned to the theatre in order, as already 
mentioned, to provide the additional act to "The 
Prisoner of the Caucasus," but this did not lead to an 
awakening of creative desires in the operatic direction, 
probably because the modified work had n'ot yet been 
performed. In this year, however, he wrote one of his 
few orchestral works, the "Solemn March," Op. i8. 

An incident which occurred in the following year 
led in quite a fortuitous way to the formation of one 
of those acquaintanceships which now and again are 
to be credited to the good management of the Fates. 
The Countess Mercy- Argenteau — an enthusiastic music- 
lover, who lived in Belgium — received from a friend 
of hers a copy of some dances by Napravnik, who was 
at that time the conductor of the Imperial Theatre in 
St. Petersburg, and being interested by them, asked 
her friend to write to Napravnik for information as 
to his own works and also as to those of any other 
Russian* composers of importance. Napravnik, a 
musician of academic sympathies, sent her all the re- 
quired particulars in regard to himself, and replied 
to the second query in a statement that, beyond 
Tchaikovsky, he knew of no Russian composers of out- 

* Napravnik was only Russian by adoption. 



standing merit. The Countess, after an examination 
of the works received, formed the opinion that Naprav- 
nik's compositions should be placed in the category of 
"conductor's music," and those of Tchaikovsky, in her 
own phrase, left her "cold." In the following year 
her friend sent her a work of Borodin and a piano 
polka of Cui. Finding the latter entirely to her taste, 
she wrote to the composer and received in reply his 
pamphlet, " Music in Russia." This, as may be sup- 
posed, did not neglect to give a full chronicle of the 
doings of the "Five," and the Countess lost no time, 
once she had perused the book, in procuring all the 
available works of the "band." To her enthusiasm is 
really due the early knowledge and esteem of the 
modern Russian school in Belgium. 

The result of all this was, that in 1885, largely 
through her intervention, Cui was invited to super- 
intend the production of "The Prisoner of the Cau- 
casus" at Liege. This took place in the first days of 
1886. The opera was received with the greatest en- 
thusiasm, and Cui scored a further success in Brussels, 
where an orchestral suite of his was performed. 

By means of his Pianoforte Suite, Op. 40 (1887), 
which he named " a Argenteau," Cui paid a tribute to 
the Countess. One of the pieces is entitled "The 
Cedar," after a giant tree which grew on her estate, 
and another he called "The Rock," which was also a 
landmark at Argenteau. 

The success of "The Prisoner of the Caucasus" 
turned Cui's thoughts once more towards opera. " The 
Saracen," in four acts, derived from Dumas's histori- 
cal novel, was produced at St. Petersburg in i88g, and 
in the same year he composed "The Filibusterer," of 


which the libretto was drawn from a play by Riche- 
pin, a poet for whose texts Cui has shown a decided 
liking when engaged in song-writing. In the succeed- 
ing year he set twenty poems of Richepin to music. 
"The Filibusterer " was produced at the Opera- 
Comique (Paris) in 1894, with no great success; "The 
Saracen" was revived in Moscow in 1902. 

Two more works have been added to the list of 
Cui's dramatic compositions : " The Feast in Plague- 
time," after Pushkin, a dramatic scena in one act, which 
appeared in 1900, and a setting of Maupassant's novel, 
"M'selle Fifi," which was performed at Moscow in 
November, 1903. At a comparatively late age Cui re- 
turned to Russian texts, which, as a source of inspira- 
tion, had been ignored since 1886, when he had issued a 
set of seven songs by Pushkin and Lermontoff. In 1899 
he published settings of twenty-five poemsby the former, 
and in 1902, in addition to seven vocal quartets, he 
composed twenty-one songs to the words of Nekrassoff. 

Cui's services to Russian music, rendered through the 
medium of literature, will probably be overlooked, or 
at least, under-estimated, in time to come, because an 
adequate appreciation of their value is only properly 
to be gained by those who can look back to the time 
when the war on behalf of nationalism and progress 
against Italian and German influence and academicism 
was actually being waged. 

Conservative opposition to the liberalism of the 
group, was naturally very strong. It must be borne in 
mind also that the ideal of nationalism, as expressed 
by the "Five," was the object of scorn and derision, 
not only because the academic party, the followers of 
the two Rubinsteins and Tchaikovsky, considered them- 


selves or' their output quite sufficiently Russian, but 
because of the circumstances attending the beginnings 
of the group — that the allied pioneers were "amateurs" 
and that their knowledge was of a kind which might 
be called empirical. Cui's party, on the other hand, 
regarded the music of their opponents as inimical to 
the interests of nationalism, because they did not con- 
sider it to be truly Russian, but rather, Western music. 
They held that Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky were 
slaves to the influences of the occidental traditions, a 
bondage the continuance of which could only termin- 
ate in the extinction of truly national music. 

Cui's polemical ardour, which he inherited from his 
father, his ironical style and the ruthlessness of his 
attacks upon the opposing faction, were, no doubt, re- 
sponsible for retarding the rapprochement which has 
since taken place between the parties. When it is re- 
membered, for instance, that Rubinstein was charac- 
terised by Cui as not being a Russian composer but 
"merely a Russian who composes," it will easily be 
understood that the hatchet was not of dimensions cal- 
culated to facilitate expeditious burial ! Cui usually 
managed to introduce a bitterness into his references 
to Tchaikovsky which was keenly resented by the 
latter, and on the appearance, in 1874, of Tchaikovsky's 
opera, " The Opritchnik," Cui instituted a quite un- 
necessary comparison between this work and Moussorg- 
sky's "Boris Godounoff." 

Tchaikovsky occasionally retorted, thus pouring 
spirit upon the controversial flame, and he may cer- 
tainly be considered to have done himself little credit 
in averring that Cui was not a specialist in music, but 
in military fortification. 

BRITISH opera-goers' DEBT TO CUI. 85 

But, putting aside Cui's unfortunate tendency 
towards spitefulness, it must be claimed for him that 
Western knowledge of the modern Russian musical 
ideal and the manner of its expression is very largely 
due to his efforts. It is to the publication of his "His- 
tory of Music in Russia" that France owes its close 
acquaintance with Russian music, and but for the sym- 
pathies of the French, which have resulted in providing 
a break in the long Westward journey, the production 
in England of the greatest works of the nationalistic 
school would probably have been delayed until their 
idiom had grown sufficiently old-fashioned to have 
lost their appeal as emanations of a pioneer movement. 

Cui is the only survivor of the " Invincible Band." 



IN passing from Cui to Borodin one is provided with 
a remarkable study in contrasts. The influence 
of the former's compositions upon subsequent musi- 
cal history niaj' be considered as nil. That of 
Borodin is immeasurable. Cui, as has been noted, in- 
herited with the French blood of his father a taste for 
things western and much of his music would pass as 
French. Borodin had the strongest sympathies with 
the east, due to his descent, and revealed in nearly 
all his pubHshed works. Cui was of a disputative 
turn of mind and loved few things better than a con- 
troversial encounter in which his pugnacity could be 
given full vent. Borodin's disposition was particu- 
larly sympathetic and lovable and he was happiest in 
making friendships of a permanent order. Forsaking 
contrasts and seeking resemblances, we discover that 
Borodin distributed his activities over two distinct 
vocations and achieved in each a superlative distinc- 
tion. There is here a sufficient answer to those who 

eorodin's versatility. H/ 

contend that the serious pursuit of music is incompati- 
ble with a proper attention to a second and legiti- 
mately lucrative occupation. We have hardly finished 
chronicling the life-work of a creative musician, who 
was considered sufficiently equipped with special 
knowledge to be entrusted with the military instruc- 
tion of his future sovereign, when we are confronted 
with a figure whose influence in the sphere of musical 
composition was exceedingly far-reaching, not only in 
his own country, but abroad in Western Europe, whose 
advocacy of the emancipation of women at a period 
considerably anterior to the publication of "Doll's 
House" may safely be termed prophetic, and whose 
scienti&c treatises have become standard works of re- 
ference. However deficient in musical technique Boro- 
din may have been, one has only to remember his 
second symphony and his sociological labours to per- 
ceive that the limitations in the one could have been 
sufficiently dissipated had he chosen to refrain from 
pursuing the other. This hypothetical rearrangement 
of his activities would still leave to us, in addition to 
the output of a consummate musician, the "Researches 
upon the Fluoride of Benzole" and "The Solidifica- 
tion of Aldehydes." 

Alexander Porphyrievich Borodin was born at St. 
Petersburg on October 31, 1834. He was the natural 
son of Prince Guedeanoff, a descendant of the heredi- 
tary rulers of the kingdom of Imeretia, one of the 
divisions of Georgia made at its partition by Alex- 
ander I in 1424. Imeretia enjoys the shelter of the 
Caucasian mountains, which endows its climate with 
an unusual clemency. 

It is to this descent that Borodin's oriental tendency 


is to be traced and also his peculiarly striking physi- 
ognomic cast. His truly spontaneous nationalism 
which, according to a French admirer, "exuded from 
every pore," made itself apparent and persisted in 
spite of the circumstance that, unlike his colleagues, 
Balakireff, Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff, he 
did not spend his youth in tha country, nor did he 
come, as they, into early contact with the Russian 
peasantry. The opportunity which fell to them of 
storing up bucolic sketches for future enlargement 
was denied him. The nationalism of Borodin is a 
pure product of heredity and owes nothing to 

His father at the time of Borodin's birth was sixty- 
two years old and his mother but twenty-five ; to this 
disparity in the parents' ages has been attributed the 
weakness in his constitution, which was probably the 
cause of the occasional fits of deep depression from 
which he suffered. 

His mother gave a laudable attention to his educa- 
tion, and the musical side cannot have been neglected, 
for at nine years of age he began already to make 
some experiments in composition. About this time 
his taste for the scientific became active, and the two 
proclivities were fostered through the agency of the 
companionship of his playmate, Stchigleff, who after- 
wards became a successful teacher of music. The in- 
timacy with Stchigleff lasted for a number of years. 
They went together to concerts, and in order to gain a 
close acquaintance with chamber-music, for which they 
had a special regard, they took lessons, Borodin on 
the 'cello and flute, and Stchigleff on the violin. In 
1847 Borodin made his first completed creative essay. 


a concerto for flute and piano, and a little later he 
wrote a trio for two violins and 'cello on a theme 
from "Robert the Devil." 

In 1850, when in his sixteenth year, it was decided 
that Borodin should embrace a medical career, and he 
entered accordingly the St. Petersburg Academy of 
Medicine. He remained faithful to the muse, and 
although he prosecuted his scientific studies with 
vigour, he found time to. cultivate his taste for music, 
to which end he frequently devoted the " small hours." 
He availed himself of every possible opportunity of 
participating in the performance of chamber music, 
and these were frequently offered him at the house of 
his friend, Gavrouschkievich, an attache to the Im- 
perial Chancery. At this time he seems to have in- 
clined towards German music, owing perhaps to the 
circumstance that in deference to his mother's dislike 
of the habits of Russian students, lie foregathered, 
whenever possible, with Germans. He did not neglect 
the technical side of musical study, and in 1854 we 
hnd him trying his hand at a three-part fugue. A 
Scherzo in B minor for piano belongs to the same 
period. This preoccupation with music obtained for 
him the displeasure of his science professor, who fore- 
saw the danger that might arise from a complete 
absorption in music, an obsession which at that time 
seemed imminent. Interesting accounts of his musical 
doings during his medical novitiate were later 
embodied by Stchigleff in his memoirs. 

That Borodin did not fail to satisfy his preceptors 
is proved by his appointment in 1856 as surgeon at 
an army hospital — a circumstance which later assumed 
the greater importance, because it was here that he 


first met Moussorgsky. The first stage of the ac- 
quaintanceship did not last long because the principal 
medical officer at the hospital, at whose house they oc- 
casionally met, resigned his post soon after, and the 
two musicians thus lost sight of each other and did 
not meet again for some three years. This abortive 
association was not, however, entirely unproductive, 
for the influence of Moussorgsky's already emphatic 
views as to the value of nationalism as a source of 
musical inspiration was not without its effect on Bodo- 
din, and is said to have finally emancipated the latter 
from his dangerous affection for German music. 

Borodin took his degree and became a doctor of 
medicine in 1858, and in the following year he began 
a scientific pilgrimage, at the expense of the Russian 
government, which lasted the greater part of three 
years, during which he busied himself in studying the 
theories held and the methods employed at various 
noted centres. He travelled in the company of the 
celebrated chemist, Mendeleieff, and a party of stu- 
dents. They visited in turn, Venice, Verona and 
Milan; thence they travelled to Austria and Germany 
and later a short time was spent -in Paris. A pro- 
tracted stay was made at Heidelberg, and here Boro- 
din made the acquaintance of Catherine Sergeievna 
Protopova, a lady whose personal charm was intensi- 
fied in Borodin's eyes by an impeccable taste for music. 
She afterwards became his wife, and to judge by the 
subsequent correspondence, the union must have been 
a singularly happy one. 

During these travels, Borodin's attention was not 
entirely absorbed by their primary object. Whilst at 
Heidelberg he composed a Sextet in D. This can 


hardly have been regarded as a serous effort, written, 
as the composer informs us it was, "to please the Ger- 
mans." It was performed during i860 at Heidelberg, 
but was never published. 

In 1862, on his return to Russia, he received the ap- 
pointment of assistant lecturer at the St. Petersburg 
Academy of Medicine. In this year he was intro- 
duced to Balakireff, with whom Moussorgsky had 
begun to study, and Borodin was then shown certain 
specimens of nationalistic music, among others the 
first symphony of Rimsky-Korsakoff, which Balakireff 
and Moussorgsky played over to him on the piano. 
This was the beginning of Borodin's serious devotion 
to music. Recognising the limited nature of his tech- 
nique as composer, he placed himself under Bala- 
kireff's guidance, with a view to increasing his re- 
sources. This he must have achieved with rapidity, 
for it was but a little later that he started working 
upon his first symphony (in E flat), which occupied 
him for five years. 

His marriage took place in 1863, and it was in this 
year that he undertook some further lectures in chemis- 
try, to be delivered at the Academy of Forestry. This 
extra work, coming as it did at a time when he was 
busily engaged with Balakireff, must have brought in 
its train a considerable amount of mental fatigue, and 
there was ample evidence soon after that Borodin's 
varied activities were inimical to the interests of his 
health. But he took little account of the strain upon 
his constitution, and inaugurated a campaign on be- 
half of the emancipation and higher education of 
women, a labour which ultimately bore fruit in the 
foundation of the School of Medicine for Women, at 


which institution he afterwards taught, remaining on 
the staff and taking a deep interest in the movement 
for the remainder of his life. 

The Symphony in E flat, begun in 1862, received 
its first performance at the hands of the Russian Musi- 
cal Society, of which Balakireff was then the con- 
ductor, in 1869. Owing partly to the inefficiency of 
the copyist, the band parts were far from perfect, and 
this, coupled with the unfamiliar idiom of the com- 
poser, was responsible for certain misgivings on the 
part of the orchestra during rehearsal. At the actual 
performance, however, the success of the symphony 
was not long in doubt. The scherzo had to be re- 
peated, and at the close of the work Borodin received 
a very cordial testimony of his audience's esteem. 

Some idea as to the technical improvement effected 
by the course of study with Balakireff is to be gathered 
by reference to a letter which Borodin received later 
from Liszt, who praised the symphony very highly 
after hearing it at Baden-Baden in 1880. "The best 
connoisseurs, as well as a very numerous public ap- 
plauded you heartily," wrote Liszt. 

According to Tchaikovsky, this symphony was the 
means of making Borodin's reputation in Germany, 
but the St. Petersburg critics were not disposed to 
forget the origins of the "Five" and did not fail to 
make Borodin the scapegoat of this coterie of 
"soldiers, sailors and chemists." Seroff succeeded in 
surpassing himself in gratuitous impertinence by 
writing that "a symphony by somebody of the name 
of Borodin pleased very few hearers, and only the 
friends of the composer applauded . " 

Borodin was not the sort of man to be deceived by 


any false demonstration of approval, and the fact 
that he derived great encouragement from the result 
of the performance of his first symphonic essay is 
sufficient testimony to the genuineness of its reception. 
He began to work upon an opera after Mey's drama, 
"The Czar's Betrothed," but seems to have felt that 
his powers were not yet ripe for such an undertaking, 
for after a considerable amount of labour upon it, he 
abandoned the work. This period is notable, how- 
ever, for a quite remarkable activity (considering the 
varied claims upon his attention), and in the three 
years following the production of the first symphony, 
he wrote some of his finest songs. These, in order of 
their appearance, are " The Sleeping Beauty," " Song 
of the Dim Forest," "Dissonance," "The Queen of the 
Ocean," "My Song is Bitter," and "The Sea," and all 
have attained a permanent esteem in spite of the criti- 
cal displeasure they provoked at the time of their 
publication. Laroche, who succeeded Seroff as musi- 
cal correspondent on the St. Petersburg " Golos," and 
who affected an attitude which had much in common 
with the earlier manner of his predecessor, contributed 
an article v.'hich is a striking example of the outspoken 
m.ethod of contemporary criticism. The notice refers 
in particular to "The Sleeping Beauty." "The greater 
part of this romance," said Laroche, " is written pianis- 
simo. No doubt the composer uses this mode of ex- 
pression wisely out of consideration for his audience, 
or it may be from a sense of shame, as things are 
whispered which one would not dare to say aloud. 
And certainly in all his works he seems to be bent on 
giving his hearers some disagreeable sensation. The 
title of one of his songs, ' Dissonance,' appears to be 


his motto. Once only, in his quartet, he seems to have 
abjured his ideal. Reflecting on the abundance of 
his cacophonies he wrote one day in self-defence, 'My 
Song is Bitter ' ; but this good inspiration passed away 
too soon and ended in nothing, for last autumn he 
published, through Bessel, three new romances which 
are steeped in the old poison. It is hard to believe, 
but none the less indisputable, that this bitter enemy 
of music is not without talent, for side by side with 
the unwholesome and misshapen extravagances with 
which his work abounds, we occasionally find rich 
harmonies. After all, it may be that the impulse 
which inclines him towards what is unlovely is con- 
trary to his native instinct, and is only the bitter fruit 
of a defective education in art." 

In 1 87 1 Borodin began once more to prepare for the 
composition of an opera, but although he obtained 
from Stassoff the necessary dramatic substance — an 
ancient national epic — "The Epic of the Army of 
Igor" — and made an infinite amount of research in 
order thoroughly to enter into the spirit of the period 
(the twelfth century), he seems again to have suffered 
from a sort of disenchantment. He decided, queerly 
enough, that subjects such as that of "Igor" were not 
to be fitly embodied in opera. 

He resolved to occupy himself instead with a second 
symphony, but had hardly finished the first movement, 
when his attention was drawn once more to the theatre. 
The director of the Russian Opera, Guedeonoff, who 
was himself a dramatic author of some considerable 
power, approached, through Stassoff, four of the allied 
composers, Cui, Borodin, Moussorgsky and Rimsky- 
Korsakoff, with the suggestion that a composite work 

" MLADA." 95 

should be written by them — it was to take the form 
of an opera-ballet — on the subject of "Mlada," which 
was derived from a historic chronicle dating from pre- 
Christian times in Russia. "Mlada" was to have four 
acts. Guedeonoff made himself responsible for the 
libretto, the actual ballet music was to be written by 
Minkus, who had recently returned from a successful 
sojourn in Paris, where he had collaborated in a simi- 
lar enterprise with Delibes, and the four composers 
were each to provide the vocal music of one act. To 
Borodin fell the last act. None of his colleagues was 
more enthusiastic than Borodin, who entered into the 
scheme with ardour and paid a characteristic atten- 
tion to the details of atmosphere and local colour. He 
studied the customs, beliefs and religious ceremonies 
of the pagan Slavs and made every possible research 
likely to contribute to the artistic value of his work. 
He was rewarded in the end by a general acknowledg- 
ment of the superiority of his last act over those pro- 
vided by his friends, who were the first, it must be 
said , to congratulate him. In the end the whole 
scheme fell through. The production was to have 
been carried out on the most sumptuous lines, but the 
question of the inordinate expenditure, which would 
have been involved, seems to have been overlooked 
by Guedeonoff until the material was wellnigh com- 
plete. The project was suddenly abandoned and 
Guedeonoff resigned his post. Borodin's contribution 
was revised after his death, published, and performed 
under the direction of Rimsky-Korsakoff, who was 
so impressed with the beauty of "Mlada" as subject- 
matter that he actually made use, later on, of the whole 


libretto. The resultant work was performed with 
great success at St. Petersburg in 1893. 

It is not surprising that the praise bestowed upon 
his "Mlada" music should have inspired Eorodin to 
return to " Prince Igor." He was further encouraged 
to proceed with this work by a former pupil who had 
recently returned from the Caucasus and who was 
deeply impressed, both by Borodin's intimate know- 
ledge of the subject of "Igor" and the appropriate- 
ness of such of the music as had been committed to 

The libretto of "Prince Igor" is a very slight affair 
and is singularly lacking in dramatic interest. The 
opera consists of a prologue and four acts, which 
seems more than ample space for so thin a plot. The 
prologue shows the market-place of Poutivle, the town 
occupied by Igor, Prince of Seversk. Igor is about to 
pursue the Polovtsi, a nomadic eastern tribe of raiders, 
who have already sustained defeat at the hands of 
Sviatos'.av, Prince of Kiev. Disregarding the evil 
portent presaged by an eclipse of the sun, and deaf to 
the appeals of the townsfolk, Ivan takes his departure 
with his son, Vladimir, having left his wife, Princess 
Jaroslavna, in the care of her brother, Prince Galitzky. 

The first act is divided into two scenes. The first 
reveals the conspiracy organised by Prince Galitzky 
against the absent Igor. He is assisted in the spread- 
ing of disaffection in the town by two hired rascals, 
Eroschka and Skoula, who are relied upon for the 
comic interest of the opera. In the second scene. Prin- 
cess Jaroslavna is seen lamenting her husband's 
absence. Her fears anent the disloyalty of Galitzky 
are increased when she hears that some young girls 

PLOT OF "prince OF IGOR.** 9^7 

have been abducted by him. The scene closes with the 
arrival of the news that Igor and Vladimir are 
prisoners, and that the Polovtsi are advancing upon 
Poutivle. The second act introduces the element of 
pre-nuptial love. This and the succeeding act takes 
place in the Polovtsian camp. Vladimir has suc- 
cumbed to the beauty of Kontschakovna, the chief- 
tain's daughter, and at nightfall serenades her. Their 
love passages are interrupted by Igor, who now mind- 
ful of the omen of the eclipse, is possessed by the fear 
that disaster threatens Poutivle. He is approached by 
Ovlour, a Christian convert, who exhorts him to escape 
and promises his assistance. Igor refuses on the 
ground that he would be dishonoured by thus abusing 
the comparative freedom which has been allowed him. 
At dawn Kontschak, the chieftain, appears and pays a 
tribute to the bravery of his captive and in\'ites him to 
participate in a festival which is to take place on the 
following day. He is anxious to show his apprecia- 
tion of Igor's valour by treating him with every possi- 
ble friendliness. At the opening of the third act, the 
attacking force under Khan Gsak returns from 
Poutivle with prisoners and loot. Igor is appalled by 
the disaster. Vladimir succeeds in convincing him that 
his first duty is to consider his people, and the son 
who backs up his precept by signifying his willingness 
to renounce Kontschakovna, finally induces his father 
to fly. Ovlour, having disorganised the guard by 
means of a liberal application of koumiss^ an intoxi- 
cating beverage, brings horses. But they have rec- 
koned without Kontschakovna, who has overheard 
their plans. She entreats Vladimir not to leave her, 
and only the reappearance of Igor saves the young 



prince from surrendering anew to her enchantments. 
Vladimir is distracted by the conflicting claims of love 
and duty. The dramatic situation is intensified by 
the exhortations of Ovlour, who calls repeatedly to the 
prisoners to make good their escape. Kontschakovna, 
realising the danger of losing Vladimir, gives the 
alarm, and although the father escapes, the son is held 
in a bondage which is eventually dissolved by his 
marriage with Kontschakovna. The scene of the 
fourth act is laid once more at Poutivle. After an 
extremely pathetic lament, Jaroslavna, still bewailing 
the loss of her husband, is suddenly attracted by the 
appearance of two riders on the horizon. These prove 
to be Igor and Ovlour, and soon after, the reunion of 
husband and wife is effected. Eroschka and Skoula, 
who have witnessed the return, are consumed with the 
fear of Igor's vengeance, and as an expedient to estab- 
lish ostensible evidence of loyalty they make use of 
their early intelligence of Igor's safety and are them- 
selves the bearers of the good tidings to the populace. 
It will be seen that the dramatic material is not par- 
ticularly rich in incident. But the vast scope for the 
introduction of oriental colouring was not likely to be 
neglected by one of Borodin's tendencies, and he was 
well prepared by his studies. The festival of the 
Polovtsi gave him a splendid opportunity for a musi- 
cal treatment of the barbaric, and the dances and 
choruses in the second and third acts testify to his 
capacity for such a task. The love scene between 
Vladimir and Kontschakovna gives evidence of his 
power of depicting human passion in musical terms, 
while the passage in the third act between Kontscha- 


kovna, Igor and Vladimir shows his mastery in the 
rendering of psychic torments by the same means. 

In the composition of "Prince Igor" Borodin soon 
discovered, through his own very marked tendencies, 
that a strict adherence to the tenets of the "five" was 
not to be thought of. His own words best describe 
his feelings in respect of the question of operatic con- 
struction. " . from the dramatic point of view I 
have always been unlike the majority (of his friends). 
Recitative does not enter into my nature or disposition. 
Although according to some critics I do not handle it 
altogether badly, I am far more attracted to melody 
and cantilena. I am more drawn to definite and con- 
crete forms. In opera, as in decorative art, details and 
minutiae are out of place. Bold outlines are only 
necessary; all should be clear and straightforward and 
fit for practical performance from the vocal and in- 
strumental standpoint. The voices should occupy the 
first place, the orchestra the second. I am no judge of 
the way in which I shall succeed, but my opera will be 
nearer akin to 'Russian' than to 'The Stone-Guest.' 
That I can vouch for." The passage immediately fol- 
lowing is no less interesting. "It is curious to see how 
all the members of our set agree in their praise of my 
work. While controversy rages amongst us on every 
other subject, all, so far, are pleased with 'Igor.' 
Moussorgsky, the ultra-realist, the innovating lyrico- 
dramatist, Cui, our master, Balakireff, so severe as re- 
gards form and tradition, Vladimir Stassoff himself, 
our valiant champion of everything that bears the 
stamp of novelty or greatness.'' 

The progress of the opera was delayed from various 
causes. Borodin's health was not of the best, and his 


wife had become more or less of an invalid. His work 
at the Academy of Medicine was exceedingly heavy, 
and in addition to these adverse circumstances, he was 
embarrassed by an insufficiency of income. In the end 
Borodin was unable to finish his opera and it was not 
until three years after his death that it received its 
first performance. Its completion was undertaken by 
Rimsky-Korsakoff and Glazounoff, his pupil. Between 
them they orchestrated the greater portion of the work 
and filled in many gaps. The overture had never been 
written down by Borodin, but Glazounoff had heard it 
played by the composer so frequently as to enable him 
to give a faithful account of it on paper, and it was 
orchestrated according to Borodin's own expressed 
plans. He had left a good many materials for their 
guidance, and of these the editors availed themselves 
to the utmost. 

By the end of 1876 Borodin had finished his second 
symphony, and early in February, 1877, it was per- 
formed at St. Petersburg under the direction of 
Napravnik. For this work he had gathered a goodly 
harvest of inspiration from the researches made in 
preparing to deal with " Prince Igor, ' and although the 
symphony is not actually written to a definite pro- 
gramme, it is instinct with the spirit of nationalism. 

" Listening to this music," said one of the critics, 
"we recall the memory of the old Russian warriors in 
all their uncouthness, but also in all their grandeur of 
character." The production of the symphony was not 
attended with any particular success, but its later in- 
fluence on subsequent Russian compositions is incal- 
culable and it is not surprising to find a record of an 
early opinion of Felix Weingartner to the effect that 


this is the most important work of the modern Russian 
school known to him. But what should appear re- 
markable, at least to those who are not constantly 
taking note of the contemporary estimation of pro- 
gressive music and observing the perpetually recurring 
reproach of iconoclasm invariably levelled against the 
pioneer — a permanent feature of musical history — is 
that Borodin was freely spoken of as a "musi- 
cal nihilist." In respect of Borodin there was the 
same tendency to regard the revelation of a new aspect 
of music as a wanton destruction or wilful disregard 
of every tradition. But there is no lack of instances 
of this species of faulty judgment in the history of the 
arts, and at the present moment, as at so many other 
epochs in musical history, the music which not long 
since was alleged to be sending the art "to the dogs," 
is being credited with those attributes which are con- 
sidered likely to gain for it the most cordial approval 
of the gods ! 

In 1877 Borodin made another pilgrimage to western 
Europe. He travelled with two of his science pupils. 
In search of new ideas, they first visited some of the 
principal German universities, and later on Borodin 
continued the journey to Weimar in order to attain 
one of its chief objects, a personal acquaintance with 
Liszt. Liszt's regard for the Russian school had been 
a source of much satisfaction to the "five," and a 
perusal of the letters written by Borodin to his wife 
during his stay at Weimar, not only affords a compre- 
hensive portrayal of Liszt's personality, but shows that 
the friend of Wagner was blessed with an openminded- 
ness and a freedom from the usual distressing effect of 
partisanship quite uncommon in those who have devoted 


themselves to the interests of some one master. At the first 
meeting, Liszt seems to have been eager to gain news 
of Borodin's colleagues and in view of his intimacy 
with their work and his esteem for it, it seems all the 
more strange that it should have fallen short of achiev- 
ing a general popularity throughout Europe. Boro- 
din's account of this meeting is particularly happy in 
that it creates a vivid atmosphere which enables us the 
better to reconstruct the scene between the two musi- 
cians. " Scarcely had I sent in my card when there 
arose before me, as though out of the ground, a tall 
figure with a long nose, a long black frock-coat and 
long white hair. ' You have written a fine symphony,' 
growled the tall figure, in a resonant voice and in ex- 
cellent French ; and he stretched out a long hand and 
a long arm. 'Welcome! I am delighted to see you. 
Only two days ago I played your symphony to the 
grand duke, who was charmed with it. The first 
movement is perfect. Your andante is a chef d'cBuvre. 
The scherzo is enchanting . . and then this passage 
is so ingenious!' and then his long fingers began to 
'peck,' to use the picturesque expression which Mous- 
sorgsky made use of to describe the progression of 
distant intervals, pizzicati, in the scherzo and finale of 
my first symphony. He ran on incessantly ; his strong 
hand caught my own and held me down to a sofa, 
where there was nothing left for me to do but nod 
approval and lose myself in thanks. The fine face of 
the old man, with its energetic, vivacious features, was 
uplifted before me, while he talked incessantly, over- 
whelming me with questions, passing from French to 
German and vice versa." Borodin also describes the 
daily life of Liszt in Weimar. He presents an admir- 


able picture of the relations between the great pianist 
and his pupils and of the constant stream of visitors, 
celebrated musicians, all anxious to pay homage to 

Borodin, like Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff, 
did very little to add to the repertory of the piano, but 
one of his two contributions calls for mention here, as 
it provides evidence of Liszt's sympathy with the new 
Russian school. Eorodin was one day asked by one of 
his adopted daughters (he had several) to play a duet 
with her. He was astonished at the proposal, knowing 
that the girl was no pianist, but was in a way reassured 
when she explained that the object of their concerted 
efforts was to be the pianistic device known in England 
as "chop-sticks."' Eorodin improvised a polka on the 
theme and subsequently submitted the notion to his 
friends. The upshot was one of those collaborative 
enterprises inaugurated by the joint composition of 
"Mlada" and since become quite popular with Russian 
composers. Borodin was joined by Cui, Liadoff and 
Rimsky-Korsakoff. These "Paraphrases," consisting 
of twenty-four variations and fourteen little pieces, 
were published; and quickly attracted the notice of 
Liszt, who was charmed by the humour of the idea, 
both in regard to form and substance. As a practical 
proof of his sincere esteem, Liszt composed an addi- 
tional number in the form of a prelude to a polka by 
Borodin. This was embodied in the second edition. 

On his return from the tour of Germany, Borodin 
set to work again on "Prince Igor," finished his first 
quartet, that in A major on a theme taken from the 
finale of Beethoven's Quartet, Op. 130, and in 1880 he 
composed his symphonic poem, "In the Steppes of 


Central Asia." This, like the second symphony, 
derives a great deal from the exhaustive research 
undertaken during the preparation of the literary basis 
of "Prince Igor." It was written for a series of living 
pictures organised to celebrate the silver jubilee of 
Alexander II, in which were to figure a series of epi- 
sodes relative to the history of Russia. Borodin's 
symphonic poem describes in some very vivid music, 
the passage of a caravan across the desert under escort 
of Russian soldiers. By means of two themes, one 
Russian and the other oriental, which subsequently 
mingle in the harmonic scheme, the composer contrives 
to effect a musical reproduction of the figures in the 
foreground of his picture. The immensity and mono- 
tony of the prairie is suggested by a long and persist- 
ent note given to the violins. This work in its com- 
poser's lifetime was quite the most popular of all his 
compositions, and in his own words had " gone the 
round of Europe from Christiania to Monaco, and in 
spite of its patriotic programme (the success of Russian 
arms in Asia), this work has been encored almost 
everywhere and often repeated by desire, as at the 
Strauss concerts in Vienna and the Lamoureux con- 
certs in Paris." 

In 1 88 1 Borodin paid another visit to Germany and 
had quite an accidental meeting with Liszt. Through 
the latter's intervention, the Russian's advice was sought 
as to the rendering of Rimsky-Korsakoff's symphonic 
suite, "Antar," then in rehearsal for the Magdeburg 
festival, where it was to be conducted by Nikisch. 
During this year he wrote a song — to the text of Push- 
kin — dedicated to the memory of Moussorgsky who 
had just died. 


In 1885 he joined Cui in the visit to Belgium, 
already spoken of in the chapter dealing with that 
composer. In Borodin's lifetime nowhere did he find 
a more sympathetic regard for his works than in 
Belgium. The honours there paid him seem to have 
been such as to turn the head of even this modest man, 
and in a letter to his wife written during this visit, he 
expresses opinions as to the Belgian character which 
might well be calculated to astonish the Belgians 
themselves. The Countess Mercy-Argenteau worked 
hard on his behalf and as a result he was invited to 
conduct his own works at various musical centres in 
Belgium, notably at Antwerp where an international 
exhibition was being held. His second symphony was 
everywhere received with the warmest enthusiasm. So 
great was his success that he had to refuse several 
engagements as conductor, and a proposal was actu- 
ally made by certain musical organisations that they 
should call upon the Russian authorities to grant an 
extension of his leave. Finally he arranged to pay a 
return visit to Belgium at the end of the year and he 
then found himself the object of an idolatry which 
might well have flattered the most hardened prima 
donna. He was "besieged with demands for auto- 
graphs" and "overwhelmed with compliments.'' The 
after result of these visits shows that these demonstra- 
tions were sincere, for the works of Borodin were 
thenceforth looked upon in Belgium as of classic 

He paid a tribute to the Countess by dedicating to 
her a suite comprising seven small pieces for piano, one 
of his choicest works, and a septet for voices and 
piano, which was published at Liege. Jadoul, her 


friend, who had been primarily instrumental in bring- 
ing the Russians to the notice of the Countess, was also 
remembered, and to him was dedicated a scherzo in A 
flat for orchestra. 

Borodin's last creative period profited in the quality 
of its product by his successes in Belgium, which in- 
spired him with something like a complete confidence 
in himself. He seems to have recognised the need to 
repair his neglect of the piano and composed a seren- 
ade for four hands, which was published before his 
death. He joined once more with his friends in cele- 
bration of Eelaieff, the publisher, whose efforts on 
behalf of modern music they wished to acknowledge 
conjointly. Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Liadoff and 
Glazounoff each wrote one movement of a quartet, the 
theme being founded on the musical significa- 
tion of the components B (B flat), La (A), Eff (F). 
The second string quartet in D, of which the lovely 
nocturne (the third movement), has been accorded the 
honour, perhaps a doubtful one, of frequent isolated 
performance, also dates from this year. Lastly there 
were two movements of a Symphony in A minor which 
was never finished but which was later orchestrated by 

This period of the composer's life must have been 
exceedingly depressing. His wife, whose health did 
not permit of her residence in St. Petersburg, lay ill at 
Moscow, and her mother, who was on terms of the 
greatest affection with her son-in-law, was on her death- 
bed. Mme. Borodin recovered but did not long outlive 
her husband. Hardly had Borodin returned to St. 
Petersburg and his work, when, on February 15, 1887, 
he died suddenly, during the height of the gaiety of a 


fancy dress ball, from the effects of a ruptured 

Borodin was buried in the Nevsky Monastery, where 
there is now a monument decorated with thematic re- 
ferences to his composition and chemical formulas, 
designed to serve as a memorial of his dual career as 
scientist and musician. Testimony to his social activi- 
ties took the shape of a silver crown which was placed 
on his cofhn and which bore the following inscription : 
" To the founder, protector and defender of the School 
of Medicine for Women, to the supporter and friend of 
the students. From the women doctors qualified 
between 1872 and 1887." 

Soon after his death, Borodin's friends met at his 
house and it was then decided that the unfinished 
works should be entrusted for completion to Glazou- 
noff and Rimsky-Korsakoff. 



AMONG the terms employed to describe human 
characteristics there are few which have been so 
distorted by misapplication as that of Puritan. 
In Britain, through its association with a certain 
primitive religious sect, Puritanism has come to imply 
an assemblage of an unlimited number of negative 
virtues in a single individual. In choosing the word 
Puritan to classify the artistic mission of Moussorg- 
sky it is necessary, therefore, to guard against any mis- 
conception which might arise from its association with 
the customary sectarian sense of the word and to 
emphasise the fact that it is being used, not in its 
usual relation to human frailities, but rather as a term 
which signifies a determined repudiation of the con- 
ventional in art — a repudiation which becomes active 
directly the conventional shows any sign of domin- 
ating artistic humanity. 

It would not be just to place Moussorgsky in the 
same category as Gluck and Wagner (both of whom 
may be regarded as Puritans) because Moussorgsky, 



while theorising much less, achieved a good deal more 
than these reformers. At the outset of his artistic 
career he made certain excellent reformative resolves 
and as time went on he found little difficulty in main- 
taining a respect for them because they were practical 
as well as prophetic. 

The constituents of Moussorgsky's Puritanism em- 
braced an aversion from the consideration of art as an 
end in itself; he considered that art was so valuable a 
means of human intercourse that to treat it merely as a 
vehicle for the glorification of the beautiful would 
fall little short of a prostitution, or at least a perver- 
sion of its power to effect human improvement. His 
attitude towards the common conception of art, as 
appealing primarily to the cultivated, is comparable 
with that of Tolstoy. He held that as the proletariat 
formed the greater part of the community, it was the 
proletariat which should have the prior claim upon the 
attention of the reformer, and as in his view the 
artist's chief function was that of achieving human 
reform by means of frequent reference to the truths 
of life, he maintained that art's subject-matter should 
be chosen wita a view to its capacity for effecting an 
appeal to the many. 

Moussorgsky is often spoken of as a thorough-going 
realist, but it is important to remember that for him 
realism was not merely an indispensable and essential 
quc-lity in art, but that it rendered art an instrument 
through which the masses could be brought to a realis- 
ation of their moral and social duties. He was 
opposed to mysticism, to the undue elevation of style, 
to the decadent, as a stultification of the true purpose 
of art. 


To speak of Moussorgsky as a Puritan, as an indi- 
vidual with a very strong sense of duty towards art, 
as towards man, and there to leave him would be to 
fall very short of a proper estimate of his worth. 

Music as an art is "growing up," and in proportion 
as it develops, the disposition to regard composition 
as dependent upon education, increases. The history 
of music is punctuated by appearances of epoch-mak- 
ing figures, who have been impelled by a fresh and 
broader conception of the function of music to disre- 
gard the forms respected by their forebears and to 
enlarge the boundaries of the musical art. Each of 
these prophets in turn has been the means of adding 
formulas to those already existing and as music pro- 
gresses the array of musical forms thus becomes more 
and more formidable. In the ranks of professing 
musicians, there are now very few whose association 
with music is not due to a combination of circum- 
stances. The innate latent human sympathy with the 
tonal art becomes lively when brought into contact 
with, or subjected to a musical environment, and it is 
to the fortuitous association of an individual musical 
tendency and a musically cultivated section of the 
community which is to be held accountable for the 
majority of instances in which human beings attain to 
an active appreciation of music. But in the case of 
those whose appreciation is a phenomenon, is purely 
and completely spontaneous, is the outcome of neither 
environment nor heredity, the accepted canons, tradi- 
tions and conventions of the art cannot be treated 
with the respect accorded them by those whose inspira- 
tion has, early in youth, been harnessed, as it were, to 
the grammar with which in the process of its evolution 


the musical art has been loaded. The pure genius of 
mus'-C, in consequence of an ever-increasing number of 
forms, finds himself more and more hampered by the 
obligations of form which musical society imposes 
upon him. The creative genius whose material does 
not quite fit into the approved mould, for instance, of 
either the symphony or the freer symphonic poem will 
seek such freedom as will no longer interfere with the 
expression of his musical thoughts and feelings. 
Sooner or later, however, the academic mind, by a 
judicious adjustment of its rules and regulations, con- 
trives to hnd a new classification ; the latest heresy is 
duly sanctioned and pigeon-holed and our genius, 
without any intention of so doing, has contributed one 
more obstacle to those already threatening to hamper 
expression in the free spirits of posterity. 

The development of the party system in politics 
proceeds on much the same lines. The advent of an 
original thinker into politics is invariably signalised 
by an addition to the existing classifications. The 
ordinary popular representative becomes embroiled in 
the complexus of the political system, and his undue 
respect for the prejudices of his party quickly stifles 
the promptings of his private conscience. The mind 
of the original thinker is not thus enslaved, and his 
policy is directed unswervingly and ruthlessly towards 
the conduct of national affairs in accordance with the 
dictates or requirements of national and inter-national 
integrity. As in the case of the creative artist, how- 
ever, the compiler of chronicles eventually finds a 
suitable label by which the individualistic or unat- 
tached policy can be more or less conveniently classi- 


&ed and the political machine becomes further clogged 
with a new set of party obligations. 

The development of Moussorgsky's musical faculty 
can hardly be said to have depended neither upon 
heredity nor environment, but one is inclined to assent 
that it was in spite of them that his unique capacity 
for artistic purification flourished. 

The rise of the new Russian school as a whole was 
remarkable for a disregard of the accepted conven- 
tions of musical composition. 

In this matter the ideal of nationalism is to be 
looked upon as a question of minor importance com- 
pared with that worship of sincerity and legitimacy 
which figured so largely in the aims of the group. 
But without depreciating the value of the individual 
reformative efforts of the "five" it can safely be 
asseverated that it was Moussorgsky who rendered the 
greatest service. The nature of his genius just hap- 
pened to be in tune with the programme of the group 
— a programme dictated by pure idealism — and he 
alone faithfully adhered to its articles. In him the 
nationalistic principle was inspired as much by his 
anxiety to alleviate the sufferings of the people and 
to widen their mental horizon by means of his art as 
by his recognition of a need for its emancipation. 
There was never the slightest suspicion of compromise, 
of any obeisance to expediency in his artistic conduct. 
From earliest childhood he evinced an affectionate 
regard for submerged humanity and nothing could 
have been more natural than that such an unbending 
Puritan should attribute an equal importance to the 
elements of legitimacy and nationalism to be dis- 


, covered in the documentary articles of reform with 
which Cui has familiarised us. 

In the domain of legitimacy, both in regard to dra- 
matic music and that of song, Moussorgsky was again 
peculiarly fitted to carry these reformative precepts 
into actual practice. Convinced that artistic culture, 
or rather cultivation, is destructive of originality and 
freshness he hoped that by remaining as far as possi- 
ble an unsophisticated and natural musician he would 
minimise the risk of unconscious reversion to an im- 
mediately preceding type. The acceptation of the term 
"conductor's music" is an acknowledgment that con- 
stant association with the creations of musicians past 
and present is destructive of originality and produc- 
tive of stereotyped phrases. Moussorgsky's fear was 
that by studying accepted forms he might arrive at an 
undue respect for them and this he considered inimical 
to the interests of the great work of reform which it 
was his intention to undertake. It is a little difficult 
to arrive at a just estimate as to the real extent to 
which his technique was limited and to determine whether 
the supposed "limitations'' were, in fact, the product 
of an instinctive feeling for the future trend of music, 
because so many of his works have been " revised '' 
since his death by Rimsky-Korsakoff, a composer 
whose mentality was not of a kind likely to secure a 
suflicient insight into the prophetic quality of the work 
of his friend. It is thus supposed by more than one 
authority that many features which deserved to sur- 
vive were, in the process of an over-conscientious re- 
vision, toned down until their essential significance was 

Moussorgsky's devotion to the people is clearly ex- 



emplified in his two operas in which, as has often been 
remarked, the people are the protagonists as far as the 
actual dramatic content is concerned, and their import- 
ance is musically signified by the abundant employ- 
ment of folk-song and folk-lore. 

In the realm of vocalism he made a complete revolu- 
tion. Up to his time the vocal solo had been regarded 
as a piece of tuneful music for the voice to the accom- 
paniment of a piano. Moussorgsky made no deliber- 
ate sacrifice of melody but he refused to allow the 
sense of the word to be subordinated to considerations 
of melodic beauty, and, to an extent undreamed of by 
Dargomijsky, he succeeded in making vocal music con- 
form to the inflections of the speaking voice and in- 
terpret the uttered word. This plan was also adopted 
in his operas in which works he has provided a power- 
ful instrument for the emancipation of the operatic 
artist. There is absolutely nothing in the operas of 
Moussorgsky which could for a moment be regarded 
as encouraging the glorification of the individual per- 
former. Everything makes for the truth and beauty 
of the whole. 

Moussorgsky's artistic creed and behaviour may 
be summed up as a single-minded devotion to the 
principle of "art for life's sake," and if not by virtue 
of his constancy to this ideal then by the immense in- 
fluence which, through a comparatively limited output, 
he has exerted in the direction of the legitimisation of 
the musico-dramatic as well as the vocal art, he may 
be considered as a figure unique in the annals of music. 

Modeste Petrovich Moussorgsky was born at his 
father's country house at Karevo, in the Government 
of Pskoff — a village two hundred miles or so to the 


south of St. Petersburg— on March 28, 1839. His 
father belonged to the small landowner class and pos- 
sessed moderate means. The child passed his first ten 
years in ranging over a countryside which is varied 
and picturesque, and was thus in close touch from the 
beginning with the peasantry — an experience which 
was later to inspire the expression of feelings of un- 
divided sympathy with the land and the people. His 
vivid imagination was stimulated during these early 
days by the many fairy-tales recounted by his nurse, 
and the songs heard among the peasantry made such 
an impression upon him that he tried to reproduce 
them on the piano long before he had any technical 
knowledge of the instrument. This" evidence of a love 
for music pleased his parents and, soon after it was 
observed, his mother began to give him lessons on the 
piano. A German lady was later called in to under- 
take his elementary musical education, and little 
Modeste showed very soon a decided talent for the 
piano which in later years developed to the extent of 
earning for him quite a reputation. In his autobio- 
graphy Moussorgsky records that at the age of seven 
he was already able to render the smaller pieces of 
Liszt, and two years later, he played a concerto by 
Field at a party given by his parents. His attention 
to music was not confined to the interpretative, for he 
often went to the piano and improvised musical set- 
tings for the fairy-tales heard from his beloved 

His father, rejoicing at these manifestations of a 
truly musical nature, decided to provide a means of 
developing the boy's talent, and in 1849, when Modeste 
and his brother Philaret were taken to St. Petersburg, 


an opportunity naturally presented itself. It must 
not be supposed, however, that the father had any idea 
that the boy would become a musician by vocation, for 
no such notion could have entered his head. Modeste 
was intended for the army, and on his arrival in St. 
Petersburg, was entered at the Military Cadets' School. 
His parents fully realised the importance of music in 
the scheme of education and engaged a well-known 
piano teacher, Herke, to assist the youth in his musical 
studies. Progress was rapid, and at twelve years of 
age he played at a private concert with such success 
that his teacher, a man of austere character, was over- 
joyed and presented him, as a tribute, with a copy of 
a Beethoven sonata. At this time Moussorgsky 
learned a good deal about the old Greek liturgical 
chants from a priest, Kroupsky by name, who was en- 
trusted with his religious instruction. This know- 
ledge, as we shall see, was to become exceedingly use- 
ful to him. 

In 1852 he passed into the school for ensigns of the 
Guard. His music lessons were not interrupted by 
this change, and in the same year he again delighted 
Herke by composing an "Ensigns' Polka," which he 
dedicated to his schoolfellows. This little piece was 
published in deference to his master's wish. 

The death of his father in 1853 does not seem to 
have brought about any alteration in the manner of 
Moussorgsky's life. He continued his military 
studies and his general education, became proficient m 
German and Latin and evinced a particular fondness 
for history and philosophical literature. He took 
weekly music lessons from Herke. 

A youth of very amiable character, he formed a 


good many friendships. One of his first companions 
was Asanchevsky, who was a year his senior. This 
choice is sufficiently significant, for Asanchevsky in 
later life became director of the St. Petersburg Con- 

After leaving the cadets' school and entering the 
Preobajensky regiment, to which he was gazetted in 
1 8^6, he met several 3'oung men of about his own age 
and tastes, and to one of these, Obolensky, he dedi- 
cated a "souvenir of childhood" for piano. This was 
never published. His varied accomplishments — for 
in addition to his pianistic talent and his awakening 
faculty of composition, he had a very pleasant bari- 
tone voice — soon secured for him a prominent position 
in musical society. That he had begun to take him- 
self seriously is plain from the fact that during his 
first yeir of military service, he set to work upon an 
opera, the text of which, derived from Hugo's "Han 
d'lslande,' he himself undertook. As he was barely 
seventeen years old, his failure to get beyond the 
libretto of this work could hardly have been regarded 
as significant of musical impotence. 

In the autumn of 1856, Moussorgsky first met 
Eorodin, who was five years older. Borodin had 
already begun some more or less serious musical 
studies, and, as will be remembered, he was just then 
somewhat sympathetically inclined towards the Ger- 
man musical style. Allusion has already been made 
to this auspicious meeting, but Borodin's account of 
the impression made upon him by his future colleague 
intensifies the interest of the occurrence in no small 
measure. Shortly after Moussorgsky's death, Borodin 
devoted some newspaper articles to the work of his 


deceased friend and herein occurs the following 
description : 

" I met Moussorgsky for the first time in the autumn 
of 1856. I had just been appointed army surgeorL 
Moussorgsky was an officer in the Preobajensky regi- 
ment. He was then seventeen. Our meeting took 
place at the hospital in which we were both serving; 
we met in a common room, which we both found 
equally dull. Both of us felt the same need for ex- 
pansion, and we were not long in fraternising. The 
same evening we had an invitation to the house of the 
principal medical officer. Monsieur Popoff had a mar- 
riageable daughter and frequently invited the doctors 
and officers on duty. Moussorgsky was what is popu- 
larly termed a smart officer, elegant in dress and in 
person; small feet, hair well trimmed, nails correct, 
aristocratic hands, distinguished in carriage and 
choice in conversation ; he spoke with some affectation 
and sprinkled his discourse with French phrases a 
trifle pretentiously. In all this there was a touch of 
fatuity, but it was very slight and was tempered by a 
really superior education. He was a favourite with 
the ladies, and would sit down to the piano and play 
with grace and expression fragments from the 'Trova- 
tore' or 'Traviata,' enchanted to hear his feminine 
audience murmur his praises in chorus. 

" I met Moussorgsky three or four times at Popoff's, 
and in the common room of the hospital. Then I lost 
sight of him. Popoff resigned and there were no more 
evening gatherings." 

Their next meeting did not take place until three 
years later. 

There is nothing in this narrative which would lead 


anyone to suppose that Moussorgsky's subsequent 
musical, poetic and psychological development might 
at this time have been anticipated by any of his 
acquaintances. Nevertheless, the evidence of Stassoff 
shows that his emancipation had already begun and 
that he was beginning to recognise the purposelessness 
of much Italian music. This, in view of Borodin's 
impression, is a somewhat necessary explanation of 
his readiness to listen when, in the following winter 
his acquaintance with Dargomijsky gave him an 
opportunity of hearing the views of that composer. 
As their friendship ripened, Moussorgsky's sympathy 
with the ideals of Dargomijsky underwent a marked 
expansion and the seed of the life-work of the com- 
poser of "Boris Godounoff" may be said to have been 
sown when Dargomij sky's dual desire for legitimacy 
in the relation of song to speech and for a general 
sincerity in the realm of musical creation was first 
communicated to him. 

Prior to these musical confabulations, Moussorg- 
sky's knowledge of native works had been of the 
slightest, but when, towards the end of 1857, his meet- 
ing with Cui led to an acquaintanceship both with 
Balakireff and Stassoff, he began to take the liveliest 
interest in the musical products of his country, and 
soon perceived that the incipient socialistic tendency 
of which he had lately become conscious could be pro- 
vided with a medium of expression in a novel and 
freer form of music. An examination of the works of 
Glinka strengthened his determination to endow his 
art with a truly national basis, while those of Dar- 
gomijsky led him to see that the conventional musical 
patterns were negligible and could be discarded by a 


composer in whom conviction and inspiration were 
strong and constant. Under the guidance of Bala- 
kireff, who had assumed an unofficial directorship in 
relation to the little coterie, he made an analytical 
survey of the best works of the classical and roman- 
tic composers, playing them over by means of four- 
handed arrangements and gaining from Balakireff's 
comments an intelligent insight into their qualities of 
form and style. 

This examination of masterpieces kindled Mous- 
sorgsky's lambent creative flame and he composed a 
symphonic first movement (of which the manuscript 
was lost) an orchestral Scherzo in B minor which came 
to be considered worthy of performance in i860 at the 
Russian Musical Society's concert, when it was con- 
ducted by Rubinstein, another Scherzo in C sharp, a 
setting of Sophocles's "Qidipus Rex," of which one of 
the choruses was given in 1 861 under the direction of 
Constantine Liadoff (the father of Anatole Liadoff) 
and some songs which were never published. 

Moussorgsky's character had not at this date under- 
gone that radical metastasis by which it was eventu- 
ally transfoiTned. At some of the informal musical 
parties given by Cui he appears to have been in cheer- 
ful enough a mood, exercising a talent as comedian, 
reciting humorous pieces by standard authors, and in 
one notable instance using his baritone voice in the 
interpretation of the principal role in Cui's comic 
opera, " The Mandarin's Son," which was being given 
a private hearing. 

About this time Moussorgsky began to grudge the 
time spent on his military duties. He had no great 
taste for them and he had already a half-formed inten- 


t:on of resigning his commission. It so happened that 
in 1859 he found himself transferred to a garrison 
outside, though not far from St. Petersburg. He 
foresaw that the frequent meetings with his mother to 
whom he was very much attached, his family and his 
friends, would no longer be possible, and that his 
musical studies would be seriously menaced. Mous- 
sorgsky decided therefore to leave the army. His 
friends, fully alive to the importance of a staple occu- 
pation, tried their hardest to induce him to stick to 
soldiering, even if only as a source of income, but 
without avail. 

In the summer following his resignation, he was 
unable, however, to do any work, being overtaken by a 
serious affection of the nerves which entailed under- 
going a cure. This was happily effective and in the 
autumn he was able to apply himself to music, undis- 
turbed by other considerations. He composed a little 
scherzo for piano, published some years later, and an 
" Impromptu " inspired by a popular " sex-problem " 
novel of the period. 

There is a hint in the description given of Mous- 
sorgsky by Eorodin, who then him for the second 
time, that the degeneration which 'ater was to become 
so marked had already set in. "I met him once 
more," wrote Borodin, "at the house of one of the 
assistant professors of the academy, M. Ivanovsky, 
doctor to the School of Artillery. Moussorgsky had 
then left the army. 

"He was no longer the handsome youth that I had 
known at Popoff's; he had grown stout and lost his 
fine bearing, but he was as careful as ever of his per- 
sonal appearance. His habits were just the same and 


his foppishness had grown if anythingf a degree more 
marked. On being introduced we had no difficulty in 
recognising each other. 

" Moussorgsky assured me that he had only resigned 
in order to devote himself to music. It was our chief 
topic of conversation. I was at that time enthusiastic 
over Mendelssohn; Schumann was unknown to me. 
Moussorgsky was already a frequent visitor to Bala- 
kireff's, and his head was filled with a number of new 
works of which I had no idea. 

"Ivanovsky asked us to play Mendelssohn's A 
minor Symphony as a duet. Moussorgsky at first 
made some objections and begged to be excused the 
andante, which, he said, was not symphonic, and 
rather resembled one of the ' Songs without Words ' 
orchestrated. He played the first movement and the 
scherzo. Moussorgsky afterwards began to speak with 
enthusiasm of Schumann's symphonies. He played 
fragments of the one in E flat major. Suddenly he 
broke off, saying: 'Now for the mathematic!' 

"All this was quite new to me and captivated me 
from the first. Seeing that it took my fancy, he 
played other new works, and I soon learned that he 
was a composer himself, which increased the interest 
his personality had awakened in me. He then played 
a scherzo of his own, and on reaching the trio, he 
whispered to me: 'This is quite oriental!' I was 
astonished at these musical forms which were quite 
novel to me. I cannot say they pleased me at first. 
I was bewildered, but by dint of listening I soon 
began to appreciate them and find in them a certain 
charm. I must confess that when Moussorgsky had 
told me of his intention to devote himself seriously to 


music I took this declaration at first for a bit of brag- 
gadocio, and laughed in my sleeve. But after hearing 
his scherzo, I asked myself : ' Can I believe it, or 

From this time on, Moussorgsky, having sacrificed 
the emolument derived from his commission, was never 
free from financial embarrassments, and to add to his 
troubles his family was broken up by dissension — his 
brother married, and his mother withdrew to her coun- 
try property. Moussorgsky divided his time between 
town and country and seems to have been unable to 
settle down for any prolonged period. His intentions 
in respect of an assiduous devotion to composition 
were not being realised, and the works which date from 
this period are few, and to judge from the surviving 
example, " King Saul " (to an original text founded 
on Byron) poor in quality. 

Moussorgsky's early instrumental compositions do 
not foreshadow the marked individuality of expres- 
sion which is the outstanding feature of his later 
works. It was not until he renewed the acquaintance, 
formed in childhood, with the peasantry, that he 
began to evolve a mode of expression quite peculiar to 
himself. In a letter written to Cui in 1863 he men- 
tions that residence in the country is beginning to 
take effect upon his artistic sensibilities. Arrived at 
manhood, he was beginning to acquire a perception of 
true values and his knowledge of the peasants' nature 
drove him to the conclusion that the voice of the people 
alone could be reckoned upon for a faithful artistic 
expression of nationality. 

This realised, he finally turned his back on all the 
conventions of the social system and determined on 


living a life which was in accord with the actually- 
prevailing social conditions. Of the somewhat fop- 
pish and affected guardsman there soon remained no 

On returning to St. Petersburg Moussorgsky joined 
with five friends in forming an intellectual coterie. 
Each of them had a separate room and the evenings 
were spent in discussing matters of artistic moment 
and of social importance. Moussorgsky began just 
now to feel the pinch of poverty and in order to earn 
a little more he was obliged to undertake translation 
work. Later he took a minor post in a governmental 

During his sojourn in this combined household, he 
began to occupy himself with a work which, although 
it was not destined to be completed, became the source 
of several numbers subsequently embodied in the 
creations of his maturity. In 1863 he decided to 
begin an opera upon the subject of Flaubert's 
" Salammbo," with an original libretto. Here already 
he began to adopt the plan of attaching a supreme 
importance to the People in his dramatic scheme, and 
the scenes in which the principal characters ap- 
peared were of a nature rendering them less 
likely to be invested with the usual paramount interest. 
In the construction of "Salammbo" there was also 
evidence of a preoccupation with the niceties of scenic 
legitimacy. He was particularly scrupulous in his 
endeavours faithfully to reproduce the characteristics 
of scenery and costume to be found in Flaubert's work 
After a good deal of work upon "Salammbo," of 
which he completed one scene of the second act and 
one of both the third and fourth acts, Moussorgsky 


put the work to one side and not until a long time 
after did he return to it for the purpose of drawing 
therefrom various numbers, which were transposed for 
use in his later and better known works. 

Soon after, in 1 864, Moussorgsky turned his attention 
to the voice. First came " Night," already foreshadow- 
ing the later harmonic freedom. This was followed by 
"Kallistrate," to words of Nekrassoff, a song in which 
he fully reveals his sympathy with the soil. 

In the following year the death of his mother 
stirred up strong memories of his childhood and he 
then wrote a song which has come to be regarded as 
one of his finest and most characteristic works of this 
class. The " Peasant's Cradle-song " is set to a text 
taken from Ostrovsky's drama, "Voyevode." Its 
music follows with extraordinary fidelity the senti- 
ment of the words which voice the complaint of the 
peasantry against the conditions of their labour. He 
also composed about this time two small "Reminis- 
cences of Childhood" for the piano, the hrst, "Nurse 
and I," the second, " Nurse shuts me up in a Dark 
Cupboard," both of which, like the "Peasant's Cradle- 
song,'' were dedicated to his dead mother. Although 
these were never published, they are worthy of men- 
tion as attempts to realise the occurrences of life in 
art music. 

Moussorgsky was now in constant association with 
his colleagues of the "band," but although he was re- 
ceiving a sort of instruction from Balakireff, it was 
rather toward Dargomijsky that he turned for a mode' 
and it was Moussorgsky alone who accepted in their 
entirety the precepts of the composer of "The Stone 


Towards the middle of 1865 Moussorgsky was once 
more attacked by the nervous affection from which he 
had suffered a few years earlier. He was obliged to 
relinquish his post and to leave his friends. At his 
brother's suggestion he went again to live in the coun- 
try where his health soon took a turn for the better. 

An episode which occurred during this period of 
rustication inspired one of Moussorgsky's most re- 
markable essays in realism. Through his open window 
he overheard, one day, the piteous accents of a half- 
witted villager who was addressing himself vehem- 
ently in amorous supplication to the village beauty. 
Moussorgsky, deeply impressed with the pathos of 
this little scene, embodied it in a song reproducing its 
tragedy with a realism which serves to place 
"Savicnna" in a category of its own in the sphere of 
vocal music. 

The year 1866 was comparatively uneventful. 
Moussorgsky spent part of his time at Minkino, his 
brother's home, but his friendship with Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff, which was to become so firm, was cemented at this 
time by a frequent exchange of musical ideas, each in 
turn seating himsel f at the piano whilst the other listened. 
Moussorgsky was trying to improve his orchestral 
technique and by the end of the year he had completed 
the greater part of a work for chorus and orchestra, 
" The Destruction of Sennacherib," which was pro- 
duced in the following year by Balakireff at a free 
school concert. The result of his efforts towards 
improvement seems to have satisfied him. In 1867, 
in addition to the orchestration of an Intermezzo, 
written six years earlier for the piano and dedicated 
to Borodin, he wrote one of his most popular works, 


"Night on the Bare Mountain," for orchestra. This 
work is not exactly to be regarded as belonging to 
this period because its musical elements are largely 
derived from the last scene of the third act of the 
abandoned " Salammbo." It was, moreover, several 
times revised and later employed in a dramatic work, 
of which more hereafter. 

"Night on the Bare Mountain" has a definite "pro- 
gramme" which appears in its score. It describes the 
unholy revels of a witches' sabbath on a mountain 
range in the province of Kief. The spirits of dark- 
ness are joined in their festivities by Tchernobog. Al 
a moment when the orgies are at their height the dis- 
tant sound of a village church bell is heard and at 
this hint of dawn the spirits disperse. A characteris- 
tic device is herein employed. Moussorgsky supple- 
ments the stroke on the gong with overtones played by 
wind instruments. This is to be noted in other of the 
composer's uses of the bell. 

During the years 1866 and 1867 Moussorgsky wrote 
some songs which later attracted a good deal of atten- 
tion on their own account, apart, that is to say, from 
public interest in the composer's personality : " The 
Seminarist," a song which enters the region of satire 
with its portrayal of the amorous preoccupations of a 
theological student, was banned by the censor and was 
published in consequence at Leipzig; "The Classicist,'' 
a satirical portrait of Famyntsin, a contemporary re- 
actionary critic; "Near the Don," to the text of Kolt- 
soff, a charming picture of a day-dreaming village 
girl; "The Magpie" (Fushkin), a highly imaginative 
little work; "The Ragamuffin," in which the " cheek'' 
of a guttersnipe deriding the person of an old woman, 


is wonderfully suggested by means of rhythmic 
figures, as also the well-merited drubbing he receives 
at her hands, and the " Hopak," derived from Mey s 
adaptation of the words of Chevchenko (a prophet of 
the emancipation of serfs) an alternating and semi- 
savage recital of the sentiments of love and hate. 

Most of the year 1868 was spent m the country in 
circumstances which appear to have tended to excite 
the composer's creative faculty, for this period was a 
particularly fruitful one. Encouraged by suggestions 
from Dargomijsky and Cui, that he should undertake 
an opera, and impressed by Gogol's comedy, " Mar- 
riage," he resolved to set the play, exactly as it stood, 
to music, without the customary adaptation. This pro- 
ceedmg was the more daring because Gogol's comedy 
is written in prose. Only one act of "Marriage" was 
completed, although some further sketches were made, 
but it is clear from his letters that Moussorgsky con- 
sidered this work as representing himself at his best, 
and from the details of its form and content given by 
M. Calvocoressi in his comprehensive monograph it is 
not difficult to perceive that "Marriage" came nearest, 
of all the dramatic works of the ",'' to the ideal of 
Dargomijsky. One characteristic of "Marriage' 
which causes it to stand out is that it was a representa- 
tion of contemporary life; this was the first instance 
of the adoption by any composer of a subject dealing 
with the manners and customs of his own day — a plan 
which has since commended itself to but few, although 
the examples provided by Charpentier and Puccini 
have given proof enough that the proceeding is not 
altogether incompatible with musico-dramatic success 

The humour of Gogol's comedy was faithfully re- 

" MARRIAGE." 1 29 

produced in the music. There were but four charac- 
ters in the piece : Podl<olessin, a booby anxious to 
contract a matrimonial alliance; his servant, Stepan, 
who lives in a perpetual state of exasperation at the 
stupidity of his master; Thecla, a bland and loquaci- 
ous matchmaker; and Kotchkareff, a wiseacre. In 
devising the musical characterisation of these pro- 
tagonists, Moussorgsky resolved to make use of every 
conceivable means of transposing them from their ori- 
ginal sphere of comedy proper to that of comic music- 
drama without loss of atmosphere, and in the execution 
of this plan he availed himself of such expedients 
as a melodic imitation of the spoken word and an in- 
cessant change of rhythm, by which latter he hoped to 
effect a musical reproduction of the exquisite humour 
of the dialogue in the spoken version. Nowhere, it 
seems, was the task beyond him. 

Moussorgsky returned to St. Petersburg in th.'^ 
autumn and this completed first act of "Marriage" 
was performed at some of the meetings of his little 
circle, quite informally, of course. The composer 
played the part of the would-be Benedict, and Dar- 
gomijsky undertook Kotchkareff. At the piano was 
the lady who became the wife of Rimsky-Korsakoff. 

Moussorgsky found time during 1868, apart from 
his work on " Marriage," to compose some of his most 
notable songs. " The Orphan '' is a wonderful reflec- 
tion of the monotonous chant of a street beggar. The 
text, from the composer's own pen, is so faithfully 
served that its musical setting is in reality nothing 
more than a medium for enhancing the emotional 
significance of the words and makes no appeal on its 
own account, when separated, that is to say, from the 



text. Its conclusion — the despair of the orphan, left 
standing by the passer-by to whom he has been 
addressing his plaintive recital — is of a poignancy 
which is intensified by the composer's novel and 
entirely convincing treatment. For " Eremouchka's 
Cradle-song," his next, he again wrote the words. To 
the encouragement of Dargomijsky, who recognised 
the amazing truthfulness of Moussorgsky's picture of 
child-life in the song called " Nurse, tell me a Tale," 
written at this time and dedicated to the composer of 
"The Stone-Guest," is owed that remarkable series, 
"The Nursery," of which there will be occasion to 
speak further on. "A Child's Song" (Mey) was pub 
lished separately in 1871. 



IN the autumn of 1868, on his return from Minkino, 
Moussorgsky established himself in the house of 
a musical family called Opochinin, friends of Dar- 
gomijsky. He lived with them for two years. He 
was now dependent on a minor post in the Ministry of 
the Interior, an occupation leaving him a fair amount 
of leisure, and he found himself in circumstances 
which were very favourable to the elaboration of his 
creative designs. He was once more in the regular 
enjoyment of the society of his friends and came again 
into touch with Nikolsky, whom he had met some time 
before at the house of Mme. Chestakoff, the sister of 
Glinka. It was Nikolsky's idea of seeking in Push- 
kin's "Boris Godounoff" the basis of a national music- 
drama which so fascinated Moussorgsky that he 
resolved there and then to shelve " Marriage," and 
applied himself in September to the new work. After 
two months of feverish activity, he finished the first 
act, and the whole of the first version of " Boris 
Godounoff" was completed in a year. The orchestra- 
tion was carried out in the winter of 1869-70. Before 



his death in 1869, Dargomijsky heard the first act 
and a further scene at one of the occasional informal 
meetings of the circle. In these fragmentary per- 
formances Moussorgsky himself rendered the vocal 
parts, and Alexandra Pourgold, the future sister-in- 
law of Rimsky-Korsakoff, reproduced the orchestral 
matter at the piano. Dargomijsky, it is said, at once 
realised that on the shoulders of Moussorgsky his own 
mantle would fall. 

The shape in which "Boris Godounoff" is now 
known differs substantially from this early version. 
Moussorgsky's friends were the first to point out cer- 
tain weaknesses, one of them being an absence of 
feminine interest. The composer was not at all in- 
clined to admit the justice of their criticisms until, in 
the autumn of 1870, the work was refused by the 
directorate of the Opera, and Moussorgsky then set 
himself to revise and to make certain additions to the 
work; a labour which occupied him for the whole of 

Moussorgsky had now left the Opochinins and was 
sharing quarters with Rimsky-Korsakoff — also busy 

" Boris Godounoff " was again submitted to the 
judgment of friends in the following winter, the per- 
formances being of the same private nature as before. 
Not long after, in February, 1873, a public representa- 
tion of certain portions was given at the Maryinsky 
Theatre, St. Petersburg, on the occasion of the benefit 
of Kondratieff, who was officially connected with the 
house. These fragments were received with warm 
approval, and a few months later the whole work was 
put into rehearsal. 


"Boris Godounoff" was produced on January 24, 
1874. Certain versions of its story have been used by 
various dramatists, including Schiller, but that of 
Pushkin is the best known and it is from the latter 
source that Moussorgsky derived the "book" of his 
national music-drama, making certain additions from 
the chronicles of the great historian, Karamzin, which 
had already been carefully studied by Pushkin him- 
self before designing his famous poem. 

The substance of the story is founded on one of the 
most remarkable series of events in the history of the 
Russian empire. The diabolical behaviour of Ivan 
the Terrible had resulted in a thorough subjection of 
all classes in Russia and a consequent weakening of 
character in his subjects. There was one, however, 
whose spirit had not been cowed. This was Boris 
Godounoff, who was not only attached to Ivan's court, 
but was connected with the royal circle by other ties; 
he himself married a member of the Czar's entourage, 
and his sister became the wife of Feodor, Ivan's son. 
Feodor was the rightful heir to Ivan, but as he was 
feeble-minded, and as his half-brother, Dmitri, was 
but an infant, Godounoff was made regent. When it 
became certain that the half-witted Feodor could 
never be counted upon to govern, the fitness of Boris 
Godounoff as occupant of the throne was discussed. 

It is supposed that Godounoff, who was exceedingly 
ambitious, became obsessed by his desire for supreme 
power and that this was what drove him to secure the 
removal of the little Dmitri. The child was found 
murdered in the church at Ouglich in 1581, It does 
not seem to have been certain that Godounoff actually 


instigated the crime, but this has been assumed by the 
dramatist and laid largely under contribution for the 
psychological material it affords. He was invited to 
ascend the throne and after a period of doubt, the 
genuineness of which has been questioned, he acceded 
to the request of the people. Boris's reign was that 
of a reformer, but it was clouded by his own remorse 
for the act which secured him the throne and by the 
periodic appearances of pretenders, one of whom 
obtained a considerable measure of support from the 
Poles, who were always alive to the advantage of 
creating a disturbance in Russia. The appearance of 
this impostor is supposed to have intensified Godou- 
noff's remorse and to have driven him to the madness 
which ended in his death. For those interested 
primarily in the opera, discussion as to the truth of 
the story is negligible; it suffices to note that the 
murder at Ouglich is an essential in the dramatic sub- 
stance, both of Pushkin and Moussorgsky. 

Moussorgsky did not, however, mike Godounoff the 
sole point of interest. From the earliest moment in 
the prologue the People, their sentiments and their 
actions are brought well to ths fore. Even without a 
knowledge of Moussorgsky's sympathies, it would not 
require much penetration to perceive that the hero of 
"Boris Godounoff" is the Russian nation and the 
ostensible protagonists arc in reality nothing but 
objects on which the light of nationalism may shine. 

"Boris Godounoff" is entitled "National Music- 
Drama in four acts with a Prologue."* The first 

* For the sake of convenience the order of narration is that 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff's 1908 edition. 


scene of the prologue shows the populace in the court- 
yard of the Monastery of Novodievich. They are 
calling upon the Deity to persuade the unwilling 
Godounoff to assume the monarchy. Some of the 
crowd are not particularly fervent in their implora- 
tions for the reason that they have but an imperfect 
idea as to their requirements. In order to secure a 
semblance of zeal the nobles have commissioned some 
policemen to use force, and the peasants are driven to 
express themselves with greater vehemence by threats 
of violent chastisement at the hands of the police. 
The secretary of the Douma, Stchelakoff, enters and 
brings intelligence of the diffidence of Boris, who has 
been living in retirement in the monastery since the 
assassination of Dmitri. This "backwardness in 
coming forward" is attributed by Pushkin to the guile 
of Godounoff, who wished to make quite sure of the 
cordiality of his prospective subjects. They renew 
their entreaties, and in the second scene, which is 
pitched in the Red Square in front of the Kremlin, 
Godounoff has been won over and is seen passing 
through the cheering crowd on the way to his corona- 
tion. Here the prologue terminates. The text of these 
two scenes is the work of Moussorgsky. 

The first scene of the initial act, which is taken 
practically intact from Pushkin, is laid in a cell of the 
Monastery of the Miracle. Pimen, an old monk, is 
discovered putting the finishing touches to his 
chronicle of the history of Russia, one of its conclud- 
mg incidents being the murder of Dmitri. Near him 
lies a young novice, Grigory Otrepieff. The latter 
awakes from a terrifying dream and questions Pimen 
as to the circumstances of the murder of the Czarevich. 


Grigory, learning- that Dmitri was the same age as 
himself, falls a prey to an exaltation of mind, to 
which his own ambition is to some extent contributory, 
and persuades himself that he is to be the agent of his 
Maker in bringing about the exposure and punishment 
of the newly appointed Czar. 

The second scene of this act brings us to the 
Lithuanian frontier, and represents the interior of a 
country inn. After a song by the hostess, in which 
number the vein of the " Hopak " is recalled, there 
arrive two vagabond friars, Varlaam and Missail, ac- 
companied by the your^- novice, Grigory, who has 
escaped from the monastery and has assumed a dis- 
guise under which he hopes to gain the frontier. After 
some passages between the lively friars and their taci- 
turn companion, Vv'hom they taunt on his refusing to 
join in their carousal, a peremptory knock is heard 
and the police enter to prosecute their search for the 
missing novice. They produce a warrant and hand it 
to Varlaam, whom they already suspect. Varlaam, a 
little overcome by liquid refreshment, is at first apa- 
thetic, but when Grigory reads from the document a 
fictitious description of Varlaam, which he substitutes 
for that of himself, the friar seizes the warrant and 
interprets it faithfully. Grigory is at once recognised 
from the verbal portrait, but, before the astonished 
police can act, he draws his knife and escapes through 
the window. The songs of the hostess and Varlaam 
are based on folk-material. 

The second act takes place in the private apartments 
of the Imperial Palace. Xenia, the Czar's daughter, 


is lamenting the death of her betrothed* Boris's young 
son, Feodor, is examining the works of a clock. Their 
nurse endeavours to console the mourning Xenia, and 
proposes a " singing game " in which she takes so lively 
a part that she fails to notice the entrance of her im- 
perial master. Boris is, however, in a sympathetic 
mood. The nurse and Xenia withdraw and the father 
notices that Feodor is engrossed in the study of a map 
of Russia. He prophesies that his son will one day 
rule over the land. Just then a disturbance is heard 
outside, and during Feodor's absence in search of its 
cause, Prince Shouisky arrives with the news of the 
appearance on the frontier of a pretender who claims 
to be the murdered Dmitri. Before Shouisky can be 
admitted, Feodor returns and explains that the noise 
was caused by the excitement of the servants at the 
escape of a parrakeet belonging to the palace. I' 
Feodor then retires and Shouisky enters and gives an 
account of the Polish rising, at the head of which is 
the pretender. Boris conjures Shouisky to swear that 
the victim of the murder at Ouglich was really the 
child Dmitri, and Shouisky's reply takes the form of 
a description of the actual crime, which is so realistic 
that Boris, after dismissing him, has a &t of the hor- 
rors; he is the victim of a hallucination and imagines 

* This ijrobably refers to the marriage which had been ar- 
ranged with John of Denmark, the brother of James the First's 
consort, one of the schemes attributed to the worldly ambition 
of Godounoff. John's premature death upset this plan. 

t Karamzin records that the first bird of this species intro- 
duced into Russia was presented to the Czar Boris, and it is 
thouglit that Moussorgsky refers to this in order to heighten 
the historical interest of the opera. 


himself confronted by the bloody corpse of the mur- 
dered prince. The curtain falls. Here again Push- 
kin's text remains virtually unaltered, but for the 
episodic details introduced by the nurse and the in- 
cident of the parrakeet. 

The text of the third act belongs entirely to Mous- 
sorgsky and serves to introduce the Polish insurrec- 
tionary element and also the love interest of the drama. 
The first scene takes place in the apartments of 
Marina Mnichek, a Polish princess, whose father is 
holding a festival at his castle of Sandomir. The 
princess has been persuaded by her Jesuit advisers to 
receive Grigory v^'ith hospitality for the purpose of 
using him as an instrument whereby the Russian throne 
may be assailed. Grigory has conceived a passion for 
Marina and is thus an easy tool. Marina, who is 
making her toilet, is interrupted by a Jesuit priest, 
Rangoni. The priest calls upon her to exert every 
possible influence over the false Dmitri, so that through 
him the conversion of the Muscovites to the one true 
faith may be achieved. Marina, at first horri&ed by 
the lengths to which Rangoni proposes she should go 
in order to encompass the enslavement of her lover, 
refuses, but being threatened by the Jesuit with the 
Divine displeasure, she capitulates. 

The next scene discovers Grigory awaiting the ful- 
filment of Marina's assignation with him in the castle 
gardens. The agreed trysting place is near a foun- 
tain. Grigory's soliloquies are cut short by Rangoni, 
who assures the pretender that lie is the object of 
Marina's tender passion. Once more alone, Grigory 
overhears the plot of the Poles whose designs against 
his country are not by any means in accord with his 


own ambitions. But when Marina arrives, she man- 
ages by feminine wiles to overcome his fears, and 
they plight their troth — to the intense satisfaction of 
the spying Rangoni. 

The fourth and last act is divided into two scenes. 
The first shows the highway to Moscow, near the forest 
of Kromy. The pretender is passing through the 
forest with his troops, bent on the capture of Moscow. 
The country is in revolt, and the peasants are seen 
baiting an old noble. A group of youngsters are 
tormenting a poor half-witted lad. The two friars, 
Varlaam and Missail, have attached themselves to the 
pretender's forces and are doing their drunken best 
to arouse popular feeling in support of the new Czar. 
After a bout between the crowd and two Jesuit priests, 
who narrowly escape hanging at the hands of the 
peasants, the usurper arrives and calls upon the people 
to follow him to the Kremlin. The people, who are 
represented as having no minds of their own, rush 
after the pretender in an access of crazy enthusiasm 
for the latest revolutionary notion, and the sole re- 
maining occupant of the stage, the poor idiot boy, 
sobs a lament for his country and its folk. 

The second and final scene brings us back to Mos- 
cow. It takes place in the hall of the Douma, where 
p. special sitting of the nobles is being held for the 
purpose of discussing a proper punishment of the 
usurper. Shouisky brings word that the Czar is suf- 
fering fearful mental torture from the hallucinations 
engendered by the recollection of the unforgettable 
crime. Shouisky is still enlarging on the ruler's state 
of mind when Boris rushes in in a paroxysm of fear. 
He is supposed to have emerged from his encounter 


with the apparition of the real Dmitri, which took 
place in the second act. 

In the presence of his nobles Boris becomes a little 
calmer, and Shouisky announces that an old monk is 
awaiting an audience. Pimen appears and relates a 
story he has heard from an old shepherd. The shep- 
herd, who had been blind since childhood, had heard 
in his dreams a voice which commanded him to go to 
the tomb of Dmitri and there to pray. He obeyed the 
voice, which was that of the dead Czarevich, and his 
sight was restored to him. The nobles, hearing this 
recital, look upon it as convincing proof of the falsity 
of the pretenders claim, but Boris, instead of evincing 
the satisfaction they expect, is so consumed with re- 
morse at this final and conclusive evidence that the 
crime instigated by him was really committed, that 
he collapses and succumbs, after commending his 
young son to the nobles. 

In these two scenes which are pregnant with a fright- 
ful realism, Moussorgsky is responsible for the text. 
Only the episode of the idiot and the recital of Pimen 
belong to the original. 

For various reasons "Boris Godounoff," as it is now 
performed, is not to be considered as a completely 
spontaneous product. In the first place, the difference 
between the first version with its lack of feminine in- 
terest, and the second, is by no means slight. 

Acting on the advice of Stassoff and of Hartmann, 
an architect, Moussorgsky made a very considerable 
addition to the existing substance of the work. The 
opening portion of the inn scene, containing the hos- 
tess's song, the chiming clock and parrakeet mcidents, 
as well as the children's diversions in the scene of 


the royal apartments, and the whole of the Polish 
scene, were all included at the instance of his friends. 
The scene in the cell was enlarged and the choral 
fragments were brought in. Then, persuaded by his 
friend Nikolsky, the composer altered the order of 
the last two scenes so that the drama finished, not with 
the death of Boris, but with the reappearance of 
Grigory as pretender, the revolt of the people, and 
finally the plaint of the idiot. 

Fifteen years after Moussorgsky's death, Rimsky- 
Korsakoff undertook a "revision" of the opera, in 
which he seems not only to have toned down a good 
many musical features which would have won accept- 
ance to-day as having been extraordinarily prophetic, 
but to have cut out a good deal of the supplementary 
numbers in Moussorgsky's second version. Two years 
later these were replaced by the reviser in his edition 
of igo8, but a further and quite radical change has 
since been made by the producers, and in the version 
given in Paris and London, in 191 3, the whole of the 
Polish act had disappeared, as also the episode of 
the parrakeet, and several minor excisions were made. 

It has further to be remembered that a good deal 
of the music of "Boris Godounoff" was not composed 
expressly for that drama, but originated in the for- 
saken "Salammbo" (1866), a work of a different order. 

The music of Boris's death scene, the love scene 
between Dmitri and Marina, Boris's aria in the second 
act, the hustling of the two Jesuit priests, as well as 
the people's welcome to the pretender in the Erst scene 
of the fourth act, and some of the Douma scene, were 
all originally composed for "Salammbo" and were 
grafted on to "Boris Godounoff" after undergoing 


the process of modification and improvement dictated 
both by Moussorgsky's ripened powers and the exi- 
gencies of transplantation. 

As usually performed, "Boris Godounoff" gives the 
impression of being a series of historical illustrations 
rather than a music-drama, and at first acquaintance 
with the work, the absence of overture, entr'actes, of 
everything of the kind but a brief introduction which 
reunites the temporarily interrupted vocal line, 
heightens such impression. There is, however, a strong 
link between the various sections, a musical thread 
which serves effectively to connect the whole. One 
feels that Moussorgsky's desire for dramatic legitim- 
acy has much in common with that of the modern 
British dramatist, and the elimination of the factitious 
from "Boris Godounoff" is certainly an early step in 
the direction taken by Bernard Shaw when, in " Getting 
Married," he rings down the curtain on a handshake, 
but on lifting it again shows the greeting still in pro- 
gress, thus making an interval to meet the demands 
of the audience without disturbing the progress of 
dramatic events. 

Although there is nothing in the symphonic develop- 
ments in "Boris Godounoff" which approaches the 
complexities of Wagnerian music-drama, the leading 
motives are quite definitely associated with the charac- 
ters and emotions of the drama. The music which 
accompanies reference to the false Dmitri comes fre- 
quently to the fore after its first appearance in Pimen's 
cell, and in the mazurka theme of Marina's aria, one 
of the weakest numbers of the whole opera, Moussorg- 
sky risks exposure of its poor quality by an excessive 
allusion to its melody and rhythm in the Polish act 


(Act III). Noteworthy features in the realm of musi- 
cal suggestion are those of the music accompanying 
the hallucinations of Boris, where Moussorgsky for- 
sakes the conventional custom of employing the heavy 
brass and reproduces the frenzy in musical terms by 
means of a downward chromatic passage played 
treinolo by strings — an effect which succeeds because 
it has a far more direct appeal to the nerves of the 
listener than the more abstract commentary of the 
German operatic masters, past and present; again 
when Eoris makes his imperialistic reference to his 
son's map, a few simple but majestic chords serve 
admirably to convey a sentiment of ambitious mon- 
archism. Many moments in "Boris Godounoff" 
testify to the capacity of its composer for realistic 
musical reproduction of the thing acted. The undu- 
lating line which accompanies the writing of the vener- 
able scribe, Pimen, the musical devices which assist in 
the suggestion of the vinous obfuscation of the bibu- 
lous Varlaam, the addition of harmonics to the bell 
tones by means of auxiliary notes given to wind in- 
struments, the use of ancient liturgical modes in con- 
nection with the Pimen interest, for the knowledge of 
which Moussorgsky was indebted to his earlier re- 
searches under Kroupsky's guidance, the highly sug- 
gestive pathos of the music in the episode of the tor- 
mented idiot — a reminiscence of " Savichna " and the 
uncompromising truthfulness of the innkeeper's song. 
From the dramatic view point there are certain 
lapses from legitimacy. In the monastic cell scene, 
for instance, it is not until the awakened Grigory has 
been singing at the top of his voice for some con- 
siderable time that Pimen notices — apparently for the 


first time — that the novice is no longer slumbering. 
Again, the appearance of Shouisky at the very moment 
when his absence from the Douma meeting is first 
noticed, is a blemish which might easily have been 
avoided. Such defects as these, no doubt, would 
have passed unnoticed on any stage in the early 
seventies but they are sufficiently remarkable when 
associated with the work of a man whose reformative 
efforts were directed precisely at such inconsistencies. 
That he was not blind to niceties of the kind is mani- 
fest from his recognition of the dramatic force and 
appropriateness of Boris's entrance to the Douma 
meeting, immediately after Shouisky's report on his 
state of mind, ejaculating the very word "avaunt" 
which has just fallen from Shouisky's lips. 

A considerable stress has been laid upon Moussorg- 
sky's employment of folk-tunes. It seems a little un- 
safe to attribute any deliberacy to the composer in this 
matter, apart, that is, from the use of the complete 
popular folk-melodies such as those in the scene with 
the nurse, for in spite of certain definite allusions like 
that of the "Russian theme" of Beethoven's Quartet, 
Op. 59, occurring in the coronation scene, there is every 
reason to believe that Moussorgsky had so steeped 
himself in folk-music, both during childhood and in 
his frequent visits to the country, that he hardly knew 
himself what was original and what was not. In 
passing, it may here be suggested that this is a very 
desirable consummation of the nationalistic proposi- 
tion, one which finds a parallel in the work of other 
composers with a purpose such as Sibelius and Grieg. 
Other Russian composers have made copious refer- 
ences to the treasury of native folk-song, but none 


have invested their quotations with the quality or 
appearance of spontaneity which is an essential condi- 
tion of the artistic htness of such a proceeding. 

"Artistic fitness" is the expression which best sums 
up the work of Moussorgsky in "Boris Godounoff," 
and lest the full measure of its importance should 
escape the notice of those who peruse that remarkable 
score for the first time in the twentieth century, a 
reference to the musico-dramatic works, accessible in 
the late sixties and early seventies of the nineteenth, 
should provide sufficient contrast to testify to the 
amazing genius and prophetic insight of the master 
who created it. 

At its production "Boris Godounoff" was accorded 
a reception of a kind now commonly associated with 
works that break new ground. For the sake of con- 
venience such audiences may be roughly divided under 
the two heads of "young-minded" and ''old-minded,'' 
irrespective of the age of individual components. The 
young-minded section of the St. Petersburg musical 
public, in 1874, understood the purport of Moussorg- 
sky's innovations and recognised their profound signi- 
ficance. The old-minded hurled every kind of criti- 
cal missile at the composer, accusing him of technical 
ignorance,, vulgarity, want of taste, and exposed their 
own perversity by asserting that the only successful 
numbers were those which were in the accepted oper- 
atic style. The opera was given twenty successive 
performances and was greeted on the one hand with 
tremendous enthusiasm and on the other with furious 
indignation. Admirers of the work left the theatre 
singing its popular choruses and paraded the streets 
in choral parties. Four wreaths, appropriately in- 



scribed, were brought to the theatre on one of the 
evenings, but through the machinations of the infuri- 
ated opposition their presentation, intended to take 
place during the performance, was obstructed, and they 
had to be sent to Moussorgsky's private dwelling. 
After these initial performances, "Boris Godounoff" 
was taken off and made but infrequent appearances. 
It was mounted at Moscow in 1889, but was not again 
p'.aced in the regular repertory at ,St. Petersburg until 
after its revision, in 1896, by Rimsky-Korsakoff. 

During his preparation of the opera which is usu- 
ally considered as his masterpiece, Moussorgsky found 
time for the composition of several other works of note. 
In 1870 he wrote "The Peep Show," a song of the same 
order as the "Classic," but on broader lines. In "The 
Peep Show" he did not confine himself, as before, to 
the lampooning of one critic but committed himself to 
a characteristic reproduction of the particular musical 
foible of each of the "old-minded." This song or 
" humorous scena " was suggested to Moussorgsky by 
Stassoff. It invites inspection of a series of puppets 
in a showman's booth. The first is Zaremba, then 
director of the St. Petersburg Conservatorium, "pietist 
and arch-classic," whose fidelity to Handel offered an 
easy vehicle for musical caricature. The second is 
Theophile Tolstoi, whose attention to the musical art 
was seemingly limited to an undying and oft-ex- 
pressed admiration of Patti. Next comes Famyntsin 
of the "Classic," here introduced by a reference to one 
of his own ephemeral compositions. The last is Seroff, 
whose critical extravagances have already been referred 
to in these pages; the redoubtable Wagnerian is repre- 
sented by a theme from "Rogneda." The critical atti- 

"THE PEEP-SHOW." 1 47 

tude towards "Boris Godounoff" is now partly ac- 
counted for ! The identity of the victims is even more 
clearly revealed than that of the dramatic critics in 
the prologue to "Fanny's First Play," and this salu- 
tary exposure of their prejudices was hardly calculated 
to evoke an unbiassed estimate of the genius of the 
satirist or its product. The music of "The Peep 
Show" is, of course, less representative of the com- 
poser than the use to which it was put. That the 
scena was for a long time one of the few specimens of 
Moussorgsky's output at all familiar to English audi- 
ences, is one of those curious misdemeanours of cir- 
cumstance which are now and again responsible for 
much misunderstanding. 

A "Child's Song," dating from 1868, has been men- 
tioned. Dargomijsky, impressed with the value of 
this, had given a great deal of encouragement to Mous- 
sorgsky to make further essays of the kind, with the 
result that the latter wrote four more, to which another 
two were afterwards added. These little sketches of 
child-life, known as " The Nursery," contain the quint- 
essence of Moussorgsky's artistic and human qualities. 
Each of these little scenes is a self-contained comedy 
of nursery life — a comedy, be it understood, from 
which pathos is not long absent. Moussorgsky makes 
it quite plain that he really understood children and 
no less that he loved them. By means of the most in- 
genious rhythmic and melodic devices, he has con- 
trived to paint these musical pictures with such extra- 
ordinary realism that almost every gesture of the child 
is portrayed therein and every shade of meaning in 
the words is faithfully interpreted by the music. 
There is not the slightest regard for the formulas of 


conventional song-writing, and much of the music, if 
separated from the text, would be meaningless. 
Nothing more need be claimed than that in the whole 
domain of child-art these songs would hardly find a 
parallel in significance and power. 

The first, " Nurse, tell me a Tale," pictures a child's 
demand for a story " about the bogey man who gobbles 
up little children," or about the club-footed prince 
whose every step causes a mushroom to come up out of 
the ground, or of the princess who sneezes so violently 
that she breaks the windows. The rhythmic pattern 
of this song is changed at every turn in the story, and 
it has gained a sort of notoriety for its twenty-seven 
variations of time-signature. 

The second, " Go in the corner," describes the nurse's 
return after a brief absence, to find the nursery strewn 
with a fearful mess of cotton, wrecked stitching, and 
all the contents of the nursery work-basket, to which a 
bottle of ink has contributed even greater devastation. 
Michenka is beamed and sentenced, and after his 
already grave offence has been further aggravated by 
rudeness, Moussorgsky tactfully draws a veil. 

The third tells of a breath-taking encounter with a 
bold cockchafer which intrudes upon the child's build- 
ing operations in the garden. Michenka hits out 
blindly and is quite mystified at the passivity of the 
enemy, lying on his back, his legs trembling in a final 
and ineffective protest against a premature end. 

The fourth is a charming cradle song to a sleeping 
doll which is beseeched to remember its dreams so 
that they may liven waking hours. 

"The Child's Prayer," which follows, probablv 
brings us nearer to the real Moussorgsky than any 

"THE NURSERY." 1 49 

other of the gems of his legacy to us. The child 
prays on behalf of a whole string of people and for- 
gets "what comes next" at the moment for craving 
God's indulgence for her own little sins. Nurse, who 
cannot remember how many times she has had to tell 
her, supplies the elusive phrase. 

The sixth is another nerve-shattering occurrence 
which recalls the slaughter of the cockchafer. The old 
cat is discovered in a murderous attack upon the 
robin's cage. Michenka watches his chance and — 
bang ! Complete rout of the cat, and a tingling hand 
the only damage. 

The seventh and last scene, "The Hobby Horse,'' 
shows the child astride a stick, "transforming his 
nursery into a veritable battle-field, assaulting defence- 
less chairs and inflicting upon them, here a broken leg, 
there an arm."* The intrepid warrior does not emerge 
unscathed from the conflict, and one of the most beau- 
tiful and effective modulations in the tonality and 
text alike is wrought in illustration of the parental 
endeavour to distract the child's attention from the 
damage caused by a fall sustained whilst at full 
gallop. This passage recalls the music of another 
between Boris Godounoff and his son. 

Appreciation of what Moussorgsky has done for the 
children could hardly be better expressed than in the 
words of M. Combarisu. " Other composers have sung 
or portrayed childhood. Schumann is one of the most 
celebrated. He has written pieces for children which 
are pearls beyond price. But how different is the work 
of the Russian musician. Schumann remains a spec- 

From a notice by Debussy. 


tator of the youngster's games, he dreams, he thinks 
and feels, and as a true German he is profoundly 
touched (always Gemiith !) as though in contemplation 
of a pellucid stream or a starry sky. . . With 
Moussorgsky it is a very different thing. He is no 
onlooker; in depicting the children he himself returns 
to childhood ; one might say that he plays with them 
and sulks with them. . " 

On the pubMcation of " The Nursery,'' Moussorgsky 
received a gratifying surprise in the shape of a most 
warm appreciation from Liszt; the feelings thereby 
aroused are expressed in a letter from the former to 
Stassoff. "Liszt amazes me. If I am a musical 
simpleton, it seems that I was not one when I wrote 
'The Nursery.' For, to understand children, to look 
upon them as human beings with minds of their own 
and not as so many amusing dolls, is not the privilege 
of simpletons." 

As has e^.sewhere been chronicled, it was in the 
winter of 187 1-2 that Guedeonoff approached Mous- 
sorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakoff and Cesar Cui 
with his "Mlada" project, and Moussorgsky was bus)' 
with the composition of the portion for which he had 
made himself responsible, until the end of that winter. 
Llis contribution included the setting of a grand fan- 
tasmagoric scena, "The Offering to the Black Goat on 
the Bare Mountain," which was a somewhat modified 
version of the symphonic poem written in 1867. 
"Mlada," as we know, was abandoned. 


QUITE soon after Moussorgsky had finished work- 
ing upon " Mlada," Stassoff proposed to him 
the composition of another opera. Stassoff 
considered that " the antagonism between the ohi 
Russia and the new, and the triumph of the latter, 
would provide excellent material. Moussorgsky," 

continues Stassoff, "was of the same mind He 

set to work with ardour. To study the history of the 
Raskolniks (Old Believers) and the chronicles of 
seventeenth century Russia involved immense labour. 
The many long letters he wrote me at this time were 
full of information as to his researches and views as 
to the music, characters and scenes of the opera. The 
best sections were written between 1872 and 1875." 

Moussorgsky's enthusiasm for his new work, and the 
extent to which he was engrossed in it are best 
described by his own expression of amusement, when, 
in 1873, the performance of the three fragments of 
"Boris Godounoff" was announced to take place at 
the Maryinsky Theatre. "When our attempts to re- 
present human beings by living music shall be under- 


stood by those who understand the art of living, and 
when those who merely vegetate begin to throw hand- 
fuls of mud at us; when we are cruci&ed by the musi- 
cal Pharisees, then shall we have begun to make real 
progress. The more mud the greater progress. 
This is how they will criticise ' Boris.' It is 
highly gratifying to think that we are absorbed in 
' Khovantchina,' whilst they are reproaching us for 
' Boris.' Our g-aze is fixed upon the future and we 
are not to bs deterred by criticism. They will accuse 
us of hiving violated all the divine and. human 
canons. We shall just say 'Yes,' adding to ourselves 
that there will be many such violations ere long. 'You 
will soon be forgotten,' they will croak, ' for ever and 
aye,' and our answer will be: ''Non, non, et non, 
Madame! " 

To appreciate the profound significance of "Khov- 
antchina" in its relation to the social and religious 
strife which it depicts, it is necessary to turn to those 
pages in Russian history which record the struggles 
arising out of the revision of the bible. 

During his regency, Boris Godounoff made an im- 
portant change in ecclesiastical administration. 
Hitherto the Russian Church had been governed from 
Constantinople in consequence of the adoption by 
Russia of the Byzantine form of Christianity. 
Godounoff, desirous of obtaining the support of the 
Russian clergy, established a Patriarchate at Moscow. 
To this office Nikon was appointed in 1642. During 
his tenure, Nikon determined upon making what he 
considered a very necessary revision in the liturgical 
books of the Church. These had for generations past 
been copied by hand, and many inaccuracies had crept 


into their pages. On the adoption of printing, these 
inaccuracies were of course invested with sanction. 
Nikon went to the fountain-head and obtained copies 
of the Greek originals from Constantinople with the 
object of making the necessary restoration. Errors 
had also been made in copying the painted icons or 
sacred tokens. Nikon introduced certain reforms in 
the ritual in reference to the manner of making the 
sign of the cross, of pronouncing the name of Jesus, 
and of alluding to the Deity in the Creed. These 
changes, together with those in the liturgical books, 
brought about the schism which divided the whole 
Russian Church. The adherents of the traditional 
and accepted form of worship called themselves Old 
Believers; the reformers called them Raskolniks or 
Dissenters.* Nothing could more plainly reveal the 
fanaticism which has entered into the dispute between 
the two bodies than the surviving rejection of all 
printed religious literature which the Raskolniks still 
consider as more likely to contain errors than written 
versions. By some of the Raskolniks, to cress oneself 
before a painted icon is characterised as an act of 

Allied with this movement against ecclesiastical re- 
form we find in " Khovantchina " an allusion to a con- 
temporaneous disUke of Western ideas and customs 
which were already being introduced into Russia, an 
attitude of distrust which came to be justified long 

* The Orthodox Chvirch had been doing its best for nearly 
three hundred years to stamp out these non-conforming sects, 
when, in 1906, Stolypin granted recognition to all religious 
sects in Russia, 


after, when a taste for the art, music, literature, and 
even a knowledge of the Russian tongue itself, were 
regarded as "bad form." 

The period from which the action of " Khovant- 
china" is derived is that between the years 1682 and 
1689. Feeder, the eldest son of the Czar Alexis, had 
just died without issue. The throne was then occu- 
pied by Peter (afterwards Peter the Great), who was 
ten years old, and who was given the preference over 
his brother Ivan, a child of feeble mtellect. Sophia, 
a daughter of Alexis by his first marriage, was not 
inclined to suffer the claim of Ivan to be thus wai\ed, 
and she organised a revolt of the Streltsy (archers — 
from striela, an arrow), a standing regiment of guards, 
most of whom were Old Believers and whose leader 
was Prince Ivan Khovansky, with the result that Ivan 
was appointed to share the throne with his brother 
Peter, Sophii acting as regent. The regency lasted 
for seven years, although it came near to being inter- 
rupted by a new revolt, this time engineered by 
Khovansky in favour of his son Andrew. This rising 
proved abortive owing to the assassination of the elder 
Khovansky, and when at the end of the regency, on 
Peter's taking over the reins of government and as- 
serting his independence, the Old Believers found that 
he intended to pursue a policy of Westernisation, they 
resolved in thousands to commit suicide rather than 
accept teachings which they considered as emanating 
from the Anti-Christ. It was Peter who gave the name 
of Khovantchina to the risings associated with the 
Khovansky family. 

Moussorgsky, at Stassoff's suggestion, made use, in 
"Khovantchina," of much of the copious material 


forthcoming from these historical circumstances. 
Stassoff placed a complete sketch of the dramatic 
material before Moussorgsky. " I thought it would be 
well," he said, "to take as the central figure that of 
Dositheus, the spiritual head of the Old Believers, a 
strong, energetic, profoundly intelligent and experi- 
enced man, who would act as the guiding influence 
over the two princes, Kliovansky (representing the old 
Russian regime of traditionalism and fanaticism) and 
Galitsin, who, together with Sophia, should represent 
the Europeanising influence. Other characters; the 
occurrences which took place in the German and Strelt- 
sian quarters; the priest and his elderly sister, his 
young nephews; the two Old Believer women — the one 
Martha, full of youth and passion (something after 
the style of Potiphar's wife), the other, Susan, in the 
sere and yellow, whose predominating characteristic 
should be a fanatic and intolerant asceticism — both 
women perpetually in conflict; the youthful Peter with 
his playmates; Sophia, artful and energetic with her 
fierce Streltsy ; the Old Believers and their collective 
suicide on hearing from Dositheus that 'the old Russia 
is dying, the birth of the new is at hand' — all this 
seems to us a fruitful subject." 

Moussorgsky did not, however, adopt Stassoff's 
scheme in its entirety. Owing to illness and the claims 
of another composition which occupied him at that 
time, he made ruthless cuts in the plan in order to 
arrive at the completion of a presentable version before 
it should be too late. In this way the unity of the 
drama was seriously menaced. Sophia and Peter were 
dispensed with. Martha is presented as quite a dif- 
ferent character from that originally conceived, and 


the amours of Andrew Khovansky were introduced, 
presumably as an imperative concession. Between the 
characters retained there is no lack of contrast; be- 
tween Khovansky and Galitsin, representing two en- 
tirely different political tendencies, and further between 
Martha, standing for the full-blooded type of woman- 
hood, and Susan, whose moral and religious fanatic- 
ism is the product of a nature exuberant only in a 
negative attitude towards the joys of life. The lo\e 
intrigue brings in the contraposition of Khovansky s 
profligate son Andrew, and Emma, the unwilling vic- 
tim of his amorous importunities. 

After a short orchestral prelude, the curtain rises 
upon a scene representing the Red Square in Moscow, 
upon which dawn is just breaking. A group of 
Streltsy are seen, one of whom is lying near a pillar, 
mumbling sleepily about an attack of the previous 
evening in which many violent deeds had been 
wrought. A public letter-writer enters to assume his 
wonted " pitch," and after some horseplay at his ex- 
pense the Streltsy leave the square. The noble, Chak- 
lovity, then arrives and employs the letter-writer to 
draw up an impeachment of the Khovanskys, whom 
he accuses of plotting against the Czar. Whilst this 
is being concocted some people pass at the back of 
the stage singing a lively folk-song, and later the 
Streltsy are heard parading the neighbourhood, to the 
terror of Chaklovity and the writer. When the docu- 
ment is complete, Chaklovity takes possession of it 
and goes off, after recommending the writer to keep 
silence on the subject, if he would save his skin. 

Immediately after, the stage becomes filled with 
people, and the Streltsy enter with the pompous 


Khovansky at their head. He uses this position to 
obtain the support of the people and assumes the atti- 
tude of a fatherly ruler towards them, exhorting them 
to put down the rising on behalf of Peter. They re- 
ceive him with expressions of respect and sing a chorus 
of acclamation in which the white swan of the Khovan- 
sky coat-of-arms is referred to. He then goes off fol- 
lowed by his guard and an enthusiastic crowd. 

As they depart, Emma, a young Lutheran, is seen 
trying to avoid the importunities of Andrew Khovan- 
sky. She refuses to listen to his protestations of love, 
and bitterly reproaching him with having brought 
ruin and death upon her family, invites him to kill 
her. They are interrupted by Martha, an Old Be- 
liever, who accuses Andrew of infidelity towards her- 
self. He, furious, draws his knife and tries to stab 
Martha, but she is too quick for him and tears the weapon 
from his grasp. She then proceeds to deliver a mystic 
prophecy in which in vague terms she foretells the 
ultimate fate of Andrew. 

His father then returns with his guard, still fol- 
lowed by the flattering crowd, and inquires into the 
cause of the disturbance. Emma's appearance pleases 
him, and he directs his guard to seize her, but Andrew 
threatens all manner of violence, and finally tries to 
kill Emma to prevent her from being thus abducted. 
At this moment Dositheus arrives upon the scene, sur- 
rounded by Old Believers, and interferes in the alter- 
cation. He orders Martha to conduct Emma to her 
home and to protect her, and after the withdrawal of 
Khovansky, Dositheus addresses to the crowd an ex- 
hortation to remain faithful to the traditional and 
orthodox religion. The curtain falls on the solitary 


figure of the venerable Dositheus; the departing crowd 
is heard chmting a supplication to the Deity. 

Act II passes in the palace of Prince Galitsin. He 
is disrovered at the rise of the curtain reading a letter 
from the regent Sophia, with whom, in earlier days, he 
has evidently been on terms of affection. His com- 
ments on her tender words reveal that his former feel- 
ings for her have not survived, and he is somewhat in 
fear of her irrepressible ambition. To him enters 
Martha, whom he has caused to be summoned. In 
spite of his Western education he credits her with the 
power of clairvoyance. Then follows a very effective 
scene. Martha calls for a basin of water, envelops 
herself in a long black cloak, and gazing into the water 
foretells disgrace and death to Galitsin. At the close 
of her incantation, Martha goes out. GaUtsin is 
alarmed and incensed, and rings for a servant whom 
he instructs to see that Martha is seized and drowned 
in the neighbouring marshes. Galitsin is soliloquis- 
ing over his own predicted degradation and Ihe effect 
of the prevailing strife upon the fate of Russia, when 
Prince Khovansky enters unannounced. He complains 
of GaUtsin's attitude toward the nobles and does his 
best to sting him by means of various discreditable 
insinuations. Galitsin at first preserves his temper, but 
before long becomes thoroughly nettled by Khovan- 
sky's sarcastic tone. Dositheus enters and tries to 
pacify the disputants. Outside the palace is heard 
the chanting of the Old Pelievers, and Dositheus in- 
terposes a remark to the effect that the activity of the 
people is in favourable contrast with the wordy wrang- 
ling of the nobles. Suddenly Martha rushes in with 
a story of an attempt upon her life by the royalist 


faction. She is followed by Chaklovity, who brings 
news that Sophia has discovered the Khovansky plot 
against her, and the scene ends with a general 

The third act takes place in the Streltsian quarter. 
The Old Believers pass, still chanting their hymn. 
Martha separates herself from them and seats herself 
upon a mound in front of Andrew Khovansky's house, 
which occupies one side of the stage. She sings a 
plaintive song reminiscent of the happier days, before 
Andrew's passion had cooled. She finishes by pro- 
phesying speedy retribution for his treachery. Her 
soliloquy is interrupted by Susan, who has overheard 
her passionate references to Andrew and is scandalised 
by these shameless allusions. 

When Martha resumes her song, Susan becomes 
frenzied and invokes the fires of hell against the per- 
son of the abandoned Martha. During the subsequent 
altercation between the two women, Dositheus emerges 
from Khovansky's house and admonishes Susan with 
such vigour for her arrogance and harshness toward 
Martha, that the dried-up old woman flies in terror 
from the scene. There is a passage in which Dosi- 
theus comforts Martha, and reference is made to the 
coming suicide of Old Believers. On their departure, 
Chaklovity enters from the opposite side of the stage 
and sings an aria invoking God's aid on behalf of his 
harassed country. At its conclusion there is a rush of 
Streltsy, all clamouring for a detailed narrative from 
the letter-writer, who has heard of an attack, by Peter's 
guard, upon a Streltsian force, in which the latter has 
been completely routed. The present contingent are 
now harried by their wives, who arrive in a mass and 


upbraid them for their brutality and infidelity. When 
they are able once more to address themselves to the 
situation, they decide to ask their leader's advice. Old 
Khovansky comes out of his house and in response to 
their appeal counsels temporary submission to Peter. 

The fourth act is in two scenes. The first is that 
of a large hall in the Khovansky country palace. 
Prince Ivan is discovered at table. The meal finished, 
he orders his singers to provide entertainment so that 
his somewhat gloomy thoughts may be dispelled. 
Presently a messenger arrives from Galitsin, who sends 
warning to Khovansky of a personal danger threaten- 
ing him. Khovansky imagines this to be an attempt to 
frighten him, and after brusquely dismissing the mes- 
senger, calls for his Persian dancers. After a very 
pretty divertissement, Chaklovity enters with a com- 
mand that Khovansky shall wait upon Sophia, the 
regent. Thinking this to be a sign of returning power, 
Khovansky dresses himself in his smartest and most 
ceremonious attire, and is about to start, cheered by a 
chorus of singers, who strike up the hymn of glory to 
the white swan, when he is stabbed to death. The 
whole entourage flies in terror. Chaklovity, the in- 
stigator of the crime, sings a strain of the hymn over 
the corpse, breaking out into a derisive laugh. The 
curtain falls. 

The second scene represents a public square in Mos- 
cow. Crowds of people await the passage of some 
exiles under military escort, among whom is presently 
seen Prince Galitsin, now bereft of all power. Dosi- 
theus mixes with the people, lamenting the fall of two 
such leaders as Galitsin and Khovansky; he is joined 
by Martha, who brings word that the military have 


received orders to put all the Old Believers to death. 
Dositheus decides thereupon that the time has come 
for them to die by their own hand. 

Prince Andrew enters in haste, seeking Emma, and 
upbraids Martha for having hidden her. He is ignor- 
ant of his father's assassination. He threatens Martha 
with death, and she, desirous of enlightening him as 
to his true position, invites him to blow his horn and 
to summon the Streltsy. This he does, but there is 
not the immediate and reassuring reply he expects. 
Instead, the defeated Streltsy are brought in guarded 
by soldiers, the fallen archers bearing axes and fag- 
gots. A herald then announces that the two Czars, 
Ivan and Peter, have granted a pardon to the Old 
Believers, and the scene ends with their dispersal. 

The final scene shows the Old Believers preparing 
for the act of self-immolation, which is to take place 
in a space outside a hermitage in the depths of a wood 
near Moscow. The Old Believers, encouraged by 
Dositheus, have decided that death is preferable to the 
inevitable renunciation of their faith. Martha's 
thoughts are with Andrew, whom she would like to 
share her fate, and presently he comes in sight, still 
searching for Emma. By an effort, half physical, half 
hypnotic, she manages to induce Andrew to mount the 
pyre just as it is being lighted. The Old Believers 
sing their hymn until silenced by the flames. The 
royal troops arrive and stand aghast at the spectacle. 
Trumpets ring out and the curtain falls to the sound 
of a military march* which serves to symbolise the 

* This march possesses a peculiar interest, seeing that it is 
associated with the Precbajensky, Moussorgsky's own regi- 
ment, which was raised by Peter the Great. 



rising of the new Russia from the ashes of the 

One of the most marked differences between "Boris 
Godounoff" and "Khovantchina" is that the latter has 
a completer dramatic continuity. While the scenes of 
"Boris Godounoff" are somewhat loosely connected 
and bear an appearance of being self-contained rather 
than that of interdependence, the dramatic interest of 
"Khovantchina" is gradually evolved, and with in- 
creasing effect, as the drama proceeds. This effect was 
secured in spite of the large amount of curtailment 
which the book underwent at the hands of Moussorgsky 
(who wrote it) — his reason for compression being 
that the composition of the work was causing 
him a good deal of trouble and he therefore 
believed that his creative energies were begin- 
ning to wane. Had " Khovantchina " been completed 
on the scale and according to the plan on which 
it was originally conceived, there is little doubt that 
the work would, as a drama, have possessed a very 
much greater power. Moussorgsky used his pruning- 
knife, not as an artistic weapon, but as an instrument 
of expediency, and in 1875, when the characters of 
Sophia and Peter were eliminated, everything that 
was not immediately reducible to shape was ruthlessly 
lopped off. 

The music of "Khovantchina" is much better suited 
for its purpose than that of " Boris Godounoff." It is 
more classical in style, more lyrical, and gains rather 
than loses by being less deliberately realistic. Its com- 
parative simplicity is a very fitting quality, for the 
dramatic substance of " Khovantchina " pertains so 


largely to the primitive. The passion and the reli- 
gious emotion which permeate the work are alike ele- 

The musical characterisation shows an increased 
subtlety, and the development of the personal themes 
is much more persistent than in '' Boris Godounoff." 
Not only are the musical "labels" particularly appro- 
priate, but their symphonic treatment is exceedingly 
happy. Nothing in the whole opera, for instance, is 
more successful than the dialogue between Galitsin 
and Khovansky, in which the admirably suggested 
contrast between the two characters enlivens an act 
(the second), which on the whole is somewhat dull. 
" Khovantchina " alludes even more frequently to folk- 
song thin does " Boris Godounoff. ' And here again, 
be it noted, Moussorgsky is found profiting by his par- 
ticular knowledge of the religious music of the Middle 
Ages, acquired under the guidance of Kroupsky. 

There are many numbers of great beauty in "Khov- 
antchina." The preludial music to the first act, which 
so vividly depicts the sights and sounds of dawn, the 
folk-song of the passing crowd during Chaklovity's 
conversation with the letter-writer, the splendid chorus 
acclaiming Khovansky in Act I, the song in which 
Martha first reproaches Andrew with his inconstancy, 
Dositheus's exhortation to the Old Believers, with 
which the first act concludes, Martha's " divination by 
water" scene with Galitsin (which has since become 
popular as a separate song), the Old Believers' chorus 
at the opening of Act III, the song of Martha, which 
so enrages Susan — one of the most inspired and 
charming pisces in the whole work — Chaklovity's 
lament for his falling country, the concluding chorus 


of Act III, the delightful song of the Hungarian mer- 
cenary given by Khovansky's serving-women, the Per- 
sian dances which succeed this ; all are striking testi- 
mony to Moussorgsky's power, both of inventing beau- 
tiful music, and of beautifying traditional music. 

Although he seems to have profited by bestowing a 
minor attention to the demands of musical realism, 
"Khovantchina" provides a certain number of in- 
stances to show that Moussorgsky has plainly occu- 
pied himself with realistic effect. Thus there is again 
a figure to suggest the writing of the scrivener in Act I 
which recalls that used to accompany the movements 
of Pimen's quill in "Boris Godounoff"; the "nagging" 
quality of the music reinforcing, as it were, the pro- 
test of the Streltsy women in Act III, and the synco- 
pation which, shortly after, accompanies the entrance 
of the "winded" scrivener, are both notable. As to 
dramatic legitimacy, nothing is better worth quoting 
than the manner in which the letter-writer's recital of 
the proclamation to his listening client, Chaklovity 
(Act I) is welded to the chorus of the passing crowd. 
In such achievements as this, Moussorgsky demon- 
strates that it is possible to accord an equal considera- 
tion to dramatic verity and musical beauty without 
making the slightest sacrifice. The only doubtful 
moment in the whole opera is the pyre scene, which 
depends overmuch upon the ingenuity of the stage- 
contriver, a functionary with whose limitations Wag- 
ner representations have made opera-goers only too 

The unfinished "Khovantchina" was orchestrated 
after Moussorgsky's death by Rimsky-Korsakoff, who 
found a provisional arrangement of the opera for 


piano and voice, which was completed, but for the 
linale, by the composer during his stay in the country 
in the summer of 1880. The last pages of the work 
were added by Rimsky-Korsakoff. The Persian 
dances were actually orchestrated during Moussorg- 
sky's lifetime. 

A good deal of discussion has arisen as to the fit- 
ness of some of Rimsky-Korsakoff's emendations of 
" Khovantchina." M. Calvocoressi has pointed out in 
a newspaper article that the most recent acting version 
contains a good deal which was suppressed or modi- 
fied by Rimsky-Korsakoff and subsequently restored 
by Messrs. Stravinsky and Ravel, thanks to which 
labour, says the distinguished critic, "we can see that 
the said score (that published by Rimsky-Korsakoff in 
1883) was little better than a libel on his (the com- 
poser's) creative faculties. Rimsky-Korsakoff .... 
erred in all good faith . . Moussorgsky believed 
anything resembling formalism to be fatal to art; he 
was as convinced that Rimsky-Korsakoff's idiom and 
methods were superfluously stiff and conventional as 
Rimsky-Korsakoff was convinced that ' Boris God- 
ounoff ' and ' Khovantchina ' remained uncouth and 
crude. So that the very spirit of Rimsky-Korsakoff's 
emendations — which Moussorgsky would never have 
tolerated — is antagonistic to the spirit of the music 
emendated." In a further article M. Calvocoressi com- 
ments upon a letter published by M. Andrew Rimsky- 
Korsakoff (the son) in which the writer quite ill-ad- 
vised ly characterises the restoration as an act of van- 
dalism and actually puts up a plea for the considera- 
tion of "Khovantchina" as the fruit of a collabora- 
tion between Moussorgsky and the writer's father. 


Here, as M. Calvocoressi's comments justly imply, we 
have a definitely -flagrant and peculiarly perverse mis- 
application of the word "vandalism" by one for whom 
the vandal istical cap might well have been made to 
measure ! 

" Khovantchina " was given its first complete public 
performance in 1885 at St. Petersburg through the 
efforts of a number of persons interested in the whole 
life-work of the composer. It was revived at the 
Solodovnikoff Theatre, Moscow, in 1897, but has never 
been accorded the measure of attention which, in Rus- 
sia, of all countries, it so thoroughly deserves. 



OOON after the production of "Boris Godounoff," 
<^ Moussorgsky addressed himself to the composi- 
tion of a work in which the element of "pro- 
gramme" was introduced in a manner so daring that 
it is difficult even now, after a continued development 
and exploitation of the programmatic idea, to cite a 
parallel. An exhibition of pictures by Moussorgsky's 
recently deceased friend, Victor Hartmann, was held 
in the spring of 1874. Moussorgsky, desirous of ex- 
pressing on his own behalf a respect for the memory 
of the painter, choss, as his medium, the reproduction 
of certain of the paintings exhibited in the form of a 
series of tone-pictures for the piano. The title of this 
set of pieces is "Pictures from an Exhibition." In 
them the composer, in a manner thoroughly character- 
istic, has relied upon rhythmic suggestion rather than 
harmonic colouring in the musical projection of the 
"literary" subject. The pieces are preceded by an in- 
troduction called "Promenade," the theme of which is 
employed to suggest the perambulations which, as it 

were, punctuated the actual inspection of the pictures. 



"The composer," says Stassoff, to whom the suite is 
dedicated, "here shows himself walking to and fro, 
now loitering, now hurrying to examine a congenial 
work; sometimes his gait slackens; Moussorgsky is 
thinking sadly of his dead friend." 

The pictures treated are as follows: (i) " Gnomus." 
Picture representing a little goblin hobbling clumsily 
along on his misshapen legs. (2) " II Vecchio Cas- 
tello." A medisEval castle in front of which sings a 
troubadour. (3) " Tuileries." Children wrangling in 
the Tuileries garden. (4) " Bydlo." A Polish chariot 
on huge wheels drawn by oxen. (5) "Ballet of 
Chickens in their Shells." A sketch by Hartmann for 
scenery of the ballet, "Trilby." (6) "Samuel Golden- 
berg and Schmuyle." Two Polish Jews, one prosper- 
ous, the other needy. (7) "Limoges." The market 
place. Bickering market-women. (8) " The Cata- 
combs." Hartmann represents himself visiting the in- 
terior of the catacombs of Paris. (9) "The Hut on 
Fowls' Legs." Hartmann's picture represents a clock 
in the shape of Baba-Yaga's hut. Moussorgsky added 
the trail of the witch journeying to and fro in her tra- 
ditional mortar. (10) "The Bohatyr's Gate at Kieff." 
Hartmann's drawing was of a proposed gate in the old 
Russian massive style with a cupola in the shape of a 
Slavonic helmet. 

Of this suite it is hardly possible to say that it pos- 
sesses such qualities as are likely immediately to ap- 
peal to the pianist. These "pictures" form an ex- 
ceedingly successful study in realism, but one is 
obliged to admit that for the most part the numbers 
which are strikingly realistic are the least pianistic. 
The realism of "Gnomus," of "Bydlo," with its 


rhythmic insinuation of lumbering cattle, the amazing 
mastery in portraiture of the musical images of the 
prosperous Goldenberg, and the skinny, whining 
Schmuyle, the power and resource displayed in the 
tone-picture of the old legendary witch, are excellent 
examples of the out-and-out descriptive in music. The 
pictures of the Spanish castle and of the brawling 
market-women at Limoges might conceivably be con- 
sidered as pleasantly musical, but not for a moment 
as powerfully conjuring up the vision of Hartmann's 
work or of anything resembling it. The number in 
which the pictorial best succeeds without detracting 
from the absolute musical value is that of the Kieff 
Gate. Here we have the effect of architecture on the 
mind, which could never have been conveyed by words, 
rendered in terms of music — a feat which has in a 
sense been emulated by Debussy in his " Cathedrale 
Engloutie" — one which, in defiance of the apparent 
anachronism the employment of such a term involves 
(in discussing a work of the later seventies) is only to 
be regarded as a particularly aggressive specimen of 

A further example of the musical reproduction of 
the pictorial, attributable to the important influence 
exerted on Moussorgsky by his friend Golenicheff- 
Koutousoff, a poet of no little ability, with whom he 
shared rooms at this time for a whole year, came im- 
mediately after the "Exhibition." Golenicheff-Kou- 
tousoff was inspired by Verestchagin's famous picture, 
" Left Behind," representing a neglected corpse on a 
battlefield, to write a short poem, and this was set to 
music by Moussorgsky, not this time with a view to 
depicting the actual thing seen, but rather with the 


object of obtaining a musical evocation of the emo- 
tions aroused by tlie contemplation of Verestchagin's 
ghastly painting. 

Golenicheff-Koutousoff is in a way responsible for 
two works — two groups of songs — which figure amongst 
the most remarkable items of Moussorgsky's output. 
These were written during the close association which 
the circumstance of their common dwelling-place 
afforded the friends, and the texts are the work of the 
poet. The hrst series, entitled " Without Sunlight, ' 
contains six songs for baritone or mezzo-soprano. The 
opening song, "Within Four Walls," is the lamenta- 
tion of an invalid, who, within the dull white walls 
of a hospital, suffers the slow agony of approaching 
death. " In these suffocating chords," wrote M. Pierre 
Lalo, "one seems to breathe the air around a death- 
bed." The second, " Lost in the Crowd," reveals the 
pain of Moussorgsky's later years and shows more 
plainly by its music than mere words could tell that 
in the portrayal of suffering the composer had little 
need to look beyond his own life for inspiration. " The 
Festal Days are Over," the third of the series, is a 
doleful reminiscence — the poignant wretchedness in- 
duced by the recollection being musically emphasised 
by the harmonic and rhythmic devices which Moussorg- 
sky employed with such skill and which seem so ex- 
actly fitting for the emotional interpretation of the 
text as to stamp them with every appearance of com- 
plete spontaneity. In "Ennui," the fourth, the vocal 
portion is hardly ever melodic and only breaks away 
from pure recitative here and there to join the accom- 
panying melody. In the penultimate "Elegie," the 
voice mingles with the accompaniment — is never quite 


independent of it, and in the last, "On the Water," 
the melodic line of the piano part is almost wholly 
followed by the vocal, which thus maintains a char- 
acter rather musical than declamatory. As to the 
poetic content of the latter numbers, their setting con- 
tributes to the whole series a comprehensive realisation 
of an idea which, if not strictly comparable with that 
of Newman's "Dream of Gerontius," at least recalls 
it. "Without Sunlight" is a lyrical prevision of death 
and transfiguration. 

The second group of songs to words of Golenicheff- 
Koutousoff, of which the first three appeared in 1875, 
and the last in 1877, are called "Songs and Dances 
of Death." In these marvellous little pieces there is a 
fusion of all the greatest components of Moussorgsky's 
genius. The poems of Golenicheff-Koutousoff seem to 
have appealed with such intensity to the composer as 
to have evoked from him a work of art which has no 
equal either in his own output or indeed in the whole 
range of modern song. In the " Songs and Dances of 
Death," Moussorgsky is found capable of creating 
"absolute" or "pure" music without sacrificing in any 
degree the realistic interpretation of the sense and 
emotion of his text; he is able, musically, to "realise" 
both the physical and psychological elements in his 
subject-matter and yet to retain the essential value of 
the music qua music. The poetic invention of Goleni- 
cheff-Koutousoff has a superlatively beautiful and ap- 
propriate complement in the musical commentary of 
his collaborator, and those who may have difficulty in 
appreciating the "daring" methods of the "Nursery" 
or of "Without Sunlight" will here, at least, find mat- 
ter that requires no effort of the imagination, but ap- 


peals immediately by means of an extraordinary power 
and delicate charm to the emotional sensibilities. 

'"Death and the Peasant,'" writes M. Bellaigue, of 
the first of this series, "is a rondo, but a rondo of 
death." It is night, and on the open plain Death has 
seized a peasant, broken down by suffering and drink. 
To the tune of a Trepak (national dance) Death sym- 
pathises with his wretched captive and promises him 
comforts denied him by Life. " My white snow shall 
cover thee and warm thy perished limbs." Death 
calls upon the tempest to prepare the bed and to fur- 
nish a slumber song. The peasant is sung to sleep. 
" Sleep, my friend ; henceforth be happy. See ! the 
summer returns . . the sun smiles on the plains 
the corn ripens . . " The rocking rhythm of 
the slumber song gives place to the Trepak in a 
softened version, which dies away in a sob, and in the 
three final chords is reflected the gentle smile which 
betokens the peasant's realisation of perfect peace. 

The "Berceuse," which succeeds, plumbs the depths 
of pathos. To a mother who has been watching all 
night by her dying child, comes, by the window. Dawn; 
through the door enters Death, who, with persuasive 
words of comfort and sympathy, offers to relieve her 
vigil. "I will watch over him even better than thou; 
my song will be softer." The terrified mother pro- 
tests and pleads in vain. " In my arms," replies Death, 
"the child will sleep well . . . " and after a final 
outburst of terror from the mother, in a passage in 
which the music itself recalls the "Erl-King" of Schu- 
bert . . " there ! my song has brought slumber .... 
sleep, child, sleep . . . ." 

The next song, "Serenade," is the most lyrical of 


the series. A young girl nearing her end lies by an 
open window. Death comes in the guise of a youth 
and proffers deliverance by means of his magic power. 
To the rhythm of a serenade, he sings : " Take thy 
mirror; in thy face is resplendent beauty, thy cheeks 
rival the roses, thy locks are of silk, how supple thy 
graceful body .... thy breath is warm like the sun; 
I am entranced by thy charm. To possess thee I will 
bestow my most precious possession." The girl thus 
won over is enfolded in the deathly embrace. Her 
breathing dies down .... then in a final outburst the 
triumphant Serenader exclaims, "Thou art mine!" 
The diminishing tonic pedal, the awful silence, and 
the last chord of exultation succeeding it, produce an 
effect which causes the heart to stand still. 

The last song is called "The Commander-in-Chief." 
It is exceedingly dramatic, but the translation of its 
drama into music reveals rather more of the conven- 
tional than we are accustomed to in the work of Mous- 
sorgsky. A battle has been raging all day. "A few 
bars suffice," says M. Bellaigue, "to sketch the corpse- 
strewn plain, the Russian plain, the immensity of which 
the music of Russia surpasses itself in presenting to us." 
With nightfall. Death appears in the uniform of a 
general riding his charger, the pale moonlight reveal- 
ing the glistening bones of the skeleton through his 
diaphanous garb. He climbs on to a mound and 
mockingly orders a parade. Here we have Death not 
wooing nor pleading, but frankly jeering at those who 
relieve him of so much labour. On his face we per- 
ceive a sardonic expression. The music is in martial 
strain; in this number the note of tragedy is struck, 
but the pathos is not of an intimate quality. In the 


other songs of the group Moussorgsky makes us feel 
as though we stood between Death and his victim. 
But in "The Commander-in-Chief" we feel at a com- 
paratively safe distance and are spectators of, rather 
than participators in, the scene. 

That these collections — "Without Sunlight" and 
"Songs and Dances of Death" — composed between 
1874 and 1877, were never performed in Russia until 
the year 1902, is not necessarily to be attributed to a 
positive want of taste and judgment in the country 
of their origin, but rather to the circumstance that they 
were absolutely unlike anything that had yet been 
written in the form of songs. They were hrst pro- 
duced in Paris in 1896, and were not heard in Moscow 
until 1902. The critics on both occasions seem to have 
been uniformly favourable, and in the first-named city 
a full appreciation of their extraordinary genius was 
evinced by the leading writers on music. The Moscow 
critic, Krouglikoff, writing on the subject of "With- 
out Sunlight," avowed that he had always considered 
this work as showing Moussorgsky at his feeblest — an 
ooinion which he had shared, it is necessary to add, 
with such strong partisans of the composer as Cesar 
Cui and even his friend StassofF. " But," continues 
Krouglikoff, "I must make full amends . 'Within 

Four Walls,' ' On the Water,' ' Ennui,' have completely 
humbled me . . When such a talent as this illumin- 
ates one, one cannot be without sunlight." 

It must be borne in mind that during the period in 
which the above works were composed, and indeed in- 
termittently until the end of his life, Moussorgsky 
was occupied with " Khovantchina." This labour, how- 


ever, in spite of such obstacles as failing health and 
certain excesses, which latter, while doubtless pro- 
viding some little mental relief, must have contributed 
to the physical decadence, does not constitute the sum 
of his creative products. In 1874 he took one of the 
choruses from "Salammbo," the work which had 
already been drawn upon for several numbers in 
"Boris Godounoff," revised, enlarged and polished it. 
In its new guise, under the name of "Joshua," it took 
the form of a vocal solo with mixed cnorus, and was 
completed in 1877. "Joshua" is cited by M. Calvo- 
coressi as one of the few instances in which an Ori- 
ental flavour figures in the music of Moussorgsky. 

About the same time Moussorgsky conceived the idea 
of writing an operatic work in which he could dedi- 
cate the chief character to the interpretation of his 
friend Petroff, the singer who had created the role of 
Varlaam in "Boris Godounoff." For his libretto he 
took one of the " Stories of Mirgorod," by Nicholas 
Gogol, the author of "Marriage," entitled "The Fair 
at Sorotchinsk." Here again he drew some material 
(that which had already been utilised in the ill-fated 
"Mlada") from "Salammbo." Of this work only a 
few fragments were completed. One of its numbers, 
a Hopak, was afterwards revised and took the form 
of a piano piece, which later on was orchestrated by 
Liadoff. Such of the fragments of "The Fair at Sor- 
otchinsk" as could be issued were published in 1904 
and were performed in Paris at the Theatre des Arts 
in the spring of 1913. 

We are now entering upon what may be regarded 
as Moussorgsky's mental as well as physical decline. 


A tendency to melancholy was heightened by the 
withdrawal of "Boris Godounoff" in 1876 from the 
bill of the Imperial Opera. His funds were extremely 
low, and as the small salary derived from his employ 
by the State was insufficient, he began to undertake 
the playing of accompaniments at concerts, a task for 
which he was particularly well qualified, but he was 
not successful in obtaining much work of the kind. 

In 1878 the death of his close friend Petroff, the 
widely-esteemed singer, was very deeply felt by Mous- 
sorgsky, and for the rest of that year he found it im- 
possible to apply himself to any musical work. 

In 1879, after a change of State employment, he 
arranged a long concert tour in South Russia with Mme. 
Leonoff, a singer of repute who had associated herself 
with his compositions and had figured as the inn- 
keeper in "Boris Godounoff." This enterprise was a 
marked success, both artists receiving every demonstra- 
tion of appreciation in the principal South Russian 
towns. During the tour Moussorgsky, encouraged no 
doubt by the warmth of his reception, composed several 
small piano pieces, inspired by his immediate geo- 
graphic environment. The "Song of the Flea" — the 
entirely unrepresentative work by which he first became 
known to English audiences — was also produced. 

In the winter of 1879-80 his only work was the or- 
chestration of his contribution to "Mlada," which im- 
mediately after was performed by the Russian Musi- 
cal Society, under the title of "Turkish March." 
During the following summer he made a few sketches 
for a suite for orchestra, harp and piano, which seems 
also to have been inspired by his Southern tour, and 


worked for the last time on " Khovantchina." He gave 
up his appointment and lived for a time in the coun- 
try, but becoming weaker and weaker in health, he 
was obliged to enter the military hospital in St. Peters- 
burg, where, on his forty-second birthday, March i6, 
1 88 1, he died. One of the last to chat with him at 
his bedside was Balakireff, who survived him some 
thirty years. During Moussorgsky's last days his por- 
trait was painted by the eminent Russian artist, Repin, 
and this quite ruthlessly faithful picture provides a 
sad reminder of the fearful inroads made upon its 
subject's physique by the demoralising effect of poverty 
and drink. 

Moussorgsky was buried in the Alexander Nevsky 
Cemetery, and his grave was adorned a few years later 
by a monument commissioned by various friends and 

Moussorgsky has himself provided us with material 
suitable to serve as epitaph to the present chronicle of 
his life and work which may best be concluded by a 
quotation from his brief autobiography : " By virtue 
of his views on music and of the nature of his com- 
positions, Moussorgsky stands apart from all existing 
types of musicians. The creed of his artistic faith is 
as follows: 'Art is a means of human intercourse and 
not in itself an end.' The whole of his creative ac- 
tivity was dictated by this guiding principle. Con- 
vinced, like Virchow and Gervinus, that human speech 
is strictly governed bv musical laws, Moussorgsky con- 
siders that the musical reproduction, not of isolated 
manifestations of sensibility, but of articulate human- 
ity as a whole is the function of his art. He holds 


that in the domain of the musical art, reformers such 
as Palestrina, Bach, Gluck, Beethoven, Berlioz and 
Liszt have created certain artistic laws; he does not 
consider these laws as immutable but as strictly sub- 
ject to the conditions of evolution and progress no less 
than the whole world of thought." 


IN our survey of the life and work of Moussorgsky 
we have acquired sufficient information to enable 
us to perceive that both the aims and achievements 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff were in sharp contrast to those of 
his friend. A man of regular habits, he had a respect for 
tradition which was to lead him into the hrm conviction 
that his own advancement in matters artistic was best to be 
secured by an evolutionary and not a revolutionary pro- 
cess. Thus it was that after having made his mark as 
a composer he was attacked by qualms that progress 
was impossible for him without a thorough grasp of 
that scientific knowledge which has been accumulated 
by successive observers of musical evolution. As to 
the actual effect upon Rimsky-Korsakoff of this re- 
tarded grounding in musical theory, there are certain 
definite indications. We know that it did not choke 
the flow of his inspiration, but at the same time one 
cannot help feeling that it was these studies which 
awakened the latent academicism to be held account- 
able for his want of appreciation of Moussorgsky's 



attempts to break down boundaries. Further, his 
adoption, fairly late in life, of that type of symphonic 
development, regarded by Russians as peculiarly non- 
Russian and typical of the occidental and more especi- 
ally of the German mind, seems likely to have sprung 
from the same origin. On more than one occasion, it 
is interesting to note, Moussorgsky expressed himself 
with considerable force concerning what seemed to 
him a thoroughly misguided step on his friend's part, 
and when it is borne in mind that the two composers 
lived together for some little time, one cannot but feel 
that the bond of friendship must have been fairly 
tough to have withstood the strain exerted upon it, 
not only by such a difference in temperament as their 
opposed views suggest, but by the difference in the 
views themselves. 

It has been seen that the operatic precept of Dar- 
gomijsky, as fulfilled in the "Stone-Guest," became 
something of a burden to the "Group." A survey of 
his dramatic works shows that while Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff was not unmindful of his obligation to produce 
operas of the declamatory type, he could not settle 
down into an acceptance of the hard and fast canons 
of Dargomijsky. Classification of his operas reveals 
a sort of wandering movement in search of a definite 
procedure, and towards the end of his life he showed 
a very marked sympathy with Wagner. But failure 
to render a consistent obeisance to the " Stone-Guest '" 
does not imply a total secession from the tenets of 
Russian musical nationalism, and Rimsky-Korsakoff 
is entitled to be regarded as an upholder of the 
Glinkist tradition, sine-':' in addition to his fund of 
melodic inspiration he was a determined advocate of 


folk-music- He made a remarkable collection of pop- 
ular melodies and drew heavily upon it in building 
up his operas. His persistent and felicitous employ- 
ment of the elements of nationalism, not only in his 
operas, but in his orchestral works and in some of his 
songs, seems to warrant our considering him as the 
culminating figure in the nationalistic movement. 

Nicholas Andreievich Rimsky-Korsakoff was born 
at Tikhvin in the Government of Novgorod, on March 
18, 1844. He shared with his colleagues, Balakireff 
and Moussorgsky, the great advantage of spending his 
early life in the country — one which was denied Boro- 
din. On his father's estate were four Jews who formed 
a little band which was called upon to supply music 
at all social functions taking place under the Korsa- 
koff s roof. From the music heard on these occasions 
the child obtained his first impressions of the art. At 
the age of six he received his first piano lessons, and 
three years later the creative impulse was already 
manifesting itself. His parents, like those of Mous- 
sorgsky, do not appear to have had any desire to stifle 
their son's taste for music, but they had no thought 
of his adopting any other vocation than that of the 
navy, which was a family tradition. Lovers of Kip- 
ling will remember a string of names cited in "Stalky 
and Co. "* borne by " sons of officers in one or other 
of the services." In Russia, it seems, the name of 
Rimsky-Korsakoff has in some degree a like associa- 
tion. In 1856, when twelve years of age, young 
Nicholas was taken to the St. Petersburg Naval Col- 

* "The Flag of their Country." 


lege. He contrived to leaven the ordinary curriculum 
of that establishment with musical studies, taking les- 
sons on the piano and 'cello, his piano master, Kanille 
by name, giving him some instruction in composition. 
In 1861 the youth made the acquaintance of Bala- 
kireff and was brought into touch, in consequence, with 
Cui, Moussorgsky and Eorodin, with the quite natural 
result that he then began to take his musical studies 
very seriously. He commenced a course of lessons 
with Balakireff, and these continued for about a year, 
until, in 1862, Rimsky-Korsakoff found himself 
obliged to undertake the three years' cruise in foreign 
waters which serves to conclude the education of the 
naval cadet. But, besides increasing his technical re- 
sources, his intercourse with the leader of the "coterie" 
had already made a very deep impression upon him 
and it is not surprising that the young sailor-musician 
was unwilling to sever his connection with his precep- 
tor for so long a period. It was therefore arranged 
that correspondence should be kept up as far as pos- 
sible during the cruise, and thus it was that Rimsky- 
Korsakoff was able to improve himself musically 
during his tour of the world by submitting his essays 
in composition to Ealakireff and receiving from him 
at the first available port a detailed criticism of his 
work. A letter sent home to Cui during the voyage 
shows pretty plainly that Rimsky-Korsakoff was fully 
alive to the discomforts of seafaring, but some of his 
later compositions prove that he was by no means 
devoid of a poetic appreciation of his marine sur- 
roundings. The experiences referred to in this letter 
did not at any rate damp his musical ardour, and 
during this cruise on the "Almaz" ("Diamond") he 


composed and revised the symphony which bears the 
distinction of being the first work in that form by a 
Russian composer. 

In 1865, on the conclusion of his naval cruise, Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff resumed his personal association with 
Balakireff and the other members of the " Group," and 
in December of that year the symphony was given its 
initial performance by Balakireff at a concert of the 
Free School directed by him. The public showed a 
great interest in the work, an interest which naturally 
became much keener when a young naval lieutenant 
came forward to acknowledge their plaudits. 

In 1866 we find him inaugurating the friendship 
with Moussorgsky which lasted until the latter's death 
in 1 88 1, and the two composers, as we learn from the 
records of Mme. Chestakoff, the sister of Glinka, 
always came earlier than the rest of the little circle 
to their meetings, in order to exchange notes and im- 

It seems likely that the importance of folk-lore as 
a basis of nationalistic music formed the subject of 
some of their confabulations, for in the following year, 
1867, Rimsky-Korsakoff, whilst perusing some of the 
legends in which the Russian literature is so rich, 
was so vividly impressed by that of "Sadko" that 
he decided to compose a symphonic version of the 
story. "Sadko" (Op. 5), which is the first orchestral 
poem ever composed by a Russian, was one of the first 
fruits of the poetic inspiration derived from the com- 
poser's term of cruising. Its basis is an old legend 
concerning a merchant-minstrel whose impassioned 
performance on the "'guslee" during a sojourn in a 
submarine kingdom causes storms and shipwrecks. As 


we shall have later to refer to an opera on the same 
subject written nearly thirty years after the symphonic 
poem, our detailed treatment of the maritime literary 
material common to both works is deferred. " Sadko " 
is scored for a full orchestra with bass-drum, cymbals 
and gong, and, as a piece of thorough-going "pro- 
gramme music," is closely related to the subject illus- 
trated. It reveals the composer's early power of bril- 
liant orchestration, his feeling for splendid effects of 
colour and above all his possession of humour. It 
was first performed by the German Musical Union at 
Altenburg in 1876, but was not heard in St. Petersburg 
until 1882, when it achieved a success. 

Soon after the completion of "Sadko" Rimsky- 
Korsakoff began his orchestral fantasia on Serbian 
themes (Op. 6). This work was the means of attract- 
ing the notice of Tchaikovsky, as it was produced at 
a charity concert at which he made his first appearance 
as conductor. Rimsky-Korsakoff's fantasia was rather 
scornfully received by the critics, but Tchaikovsky 
had enjoyed a good opportunity, during rehearsals, of 
gaining a close acquaintance with the work and had 
previously heard encomiastic reports of its composer 
from Balakireff. Favourably impressed with the fan- 
tasia and convinced that the St. Petersburg circle were 
well-disposed towards him, Tchaikovsky hastened to 
show his friendly esteem by publishing an article in 
the paper which had made light of Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff's powers, expressing himself as very highly pleased 
with the work. This was his first essay in musical 
criticism and the beginning of a friendship which 
was kept up by correspondence for many years. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff began now to turn his attention 


to the composition of operas — a sphere of work which 
was to form a permanent attraction for him and in 
which he became the most fertile of all the Russian 
school. His operatic career shows plainly enough the 
obstacles which bestrew the path of the conscientious 
composer of music-drama who is anxious to preserve 
the unities. The legacy of Dargomijsky — the princi- 
ples of the "Stone-Guest" — became the source of much 
artistic doubt which troubled Rimsky-Korsakoff almost 
to the end of his life. Cheshikin, in his survey of 
Russian opera, likens the case of the Russian operatic 
composer to that of Columbus starting out to find 
India and discovering America; himself by no means 
satisfied with the result, his followers more or less con- 
tented. The operatic composer, says Cheshikin, has not 
succeeded in attaining his ideal, but has introduced 
many novel features which may be calculated to satisfy 
the requirements of even the most fastidious opera- 

Rimsky-Korsakoff, despite his vacillations in the 
matter of vocal writing, will be found to have adhered 
to one of the most important axioms formulated by 
Cui in his manifesto, namely, that the music of an 
opera must have a consistent intrinsic value as music 
apart from its interpretative mission. Another feature 
of his operatic work is his faithfulness to Russian 
subject-matter. In his fifteen operas there are but 
three exceptions. One treats of Polish life and is by 
a Russian librettist, the second is based upon a drama 
of ancient Rome by Mey, and the third takes as its 
libretto a famous work of Pushkin. A sufficiently 
striking comparison can here be made which illus- 
trates a point to be touched upon later. Of the nine- 


teen operas of Rubinstein but eight have Russian 
Hbretti and in one of these, "Demon" (Lermontoff), 
the choice does not seem to have been the outcome 
of any predilection for nationalism, but rather a desire 
to meet a demand for nationalisic opera to which the 
encourag-ement given to Moussorgsky by the imperial 
operatic authorities (in 1872) appeared to testify. 

In " Pskovitianka," Rimsky-Korsakoff's first opera 
— begun in 1870 — we fi.nd evidence pointing to an 
anxiety to produce a work thoroughly representative of 
the prevailing views as to operatic construction. The 
solo-vocal portions are cast in ivezzo-recitative. The 
chorus is given great prominence, there is a liberal use 
of folk-song, and the subject, which belongs to Russian 
history, is taken from a drama by the native poet, Leo 

The drama deals with events which occurred in the 
reign of Ivan the Terrible (1547-84), and touches upon 
the cherished privilege of self-government which in 
those times attached to certain Russian cities. At the 
opening of the play the city of Novgorod has just 
been deprived of its freedom, and in the endeavour to 
resist the interference of Ivan, a fearful holocaust has 
befallen its people. Pskoff, another autonomous city 
— the scene of the drama — is in dread of a similar 
fate, anticipated as an inevitable consequence of Ivan's 
threatened advent. The citizens of Pskoff, meeting in 
council, are faced with two alternatives ; the first, ad- 
vanced by Prince Tokmakoff, the Governor, is sub- 
mission to the tyrant ; the second, impetuously advo- 
cated by the free-spirited Michael Toucha, the son of 
the Mayor (posadnik), is that of unqualified resistance 
and an uncompromising claim to the retention of civic 


liberty. The citizens choose the former, but Toucha 
gains the support of the militia. Toucha is in love 
with Olga (the "Maid of Pskoff"), the supposed 
daughter of Tokmakoff, but the prince does not favour 
the young man's suit. When the Czar arrives at the 
Governor's house he is struck by Olga's resemblance 
to a former lover, Vera Scheloga, and on definitely 
identifying her as his own daughter, he decides to 
renounce his tyrannical plans respecting the city's 
future. The first scene of the last act introduces a 
royal hunt, after the passing of which Toucha makes 
an endeavour to win Olga over from her allegiance 
to Ivan. This is interrupted by myrmidons of the 
noble Matuta, who is favoured by Tokmakoff as 
Toucha's rival for Olga's hand. Toucha is wounded 
and Olga is carried off. In the last scene the news 
of his newly-found daughter's abduction is brought 
to the Czar in his tent. He furiously demands Olga's 
immediate deliverance and on joining him she man- 
ages to extract a promise of pardon for the insurgent 
Toucha. Hardly is the point settled when Toucha, 
at the head of his militia, makes an attack upon the 
royal guard, and Olga, anxious to reassure her lover 
as to his future safety and to give him news of an 
anmesty granted to Pskoff, on leaving the tent for 
this purpose is accidentally killed by the combatants 
outside. The drama ends with the grief of Ivan, 
prostrate on the corpse of his daughter. 

" Pskovitianka " is in three acts, subdivided into 
five tableaux, and unlike the operas of Moussorgsky 
it has a self-contained overture which consists of a 
development of the themes subsequently associated 
respectively with Ivan, Toucha and Olga. The two 


latter are recognisable as folk-songs, together with 
such numbers as Olga's song of the strawberry-picker, 
Toucha's to the cuckoo, Olga's prayer in the first 
tableau of Act I, the song of the rebels in the second 
tableau and the plaint of the citizens at the beginning 
of Act II. The penultimate and anti-penultimate are 
to be found in Ealakireff's collection and are actually 
culled from the Government of Nijni-Novgorod. A 
feature of the work worthy of notice is the bell effect 
which accompanies the summoning of the citizens of 
the council. The actual bell, originally used, was, it 
has been stated, an object of mistrust to the censor, 
owing to the association of bells with political move- 
ments in Russia, and the orchestral imitation was there- 
fore substituted. The Russian fondness for bells is 
a byword, and the characteristic has not escaped the 
attention of composers, some of whom have succeeded 
— Borodin and Moussorgsky, for instance — in repro- 
ducing the bell-sound with extraordinary realism.* 

Rimsky-Korsakoff does not seem to have been very 
much at home in employing the inezso-recitative in 
" Pskovitianka, ' and it is somewhat dry in character. 
Eut his harmonic colouring, his fine choruses and his 
brilliant orchestration unite in rendering this work a 
very notable first venture in the theatre. It was com- 
pleted in 1872 and was given its first performance at 
the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, on January i, 
1873. Accounts vary as to its reception. It is re- 
corded that exception was taken to certain "audaci- 
ous" harmonic innovations — a judgment which begins 

* The latest employment of bell-effect by n Russian com- 
poser is in one of Stravinsky's songs. 


to sound somewhat familiar ! That " Pskovitianka " 
was given sixteen performances might really be con- 
sidered to suggest that it was not an unpopular work, 
but its subsequent treatment — it was neglected until as 
long after as 1895 — hardly bears out the theory. It 
was revived by a musical society in St. Petersburg and 
performed at the Panaieff Theatre, having been re- 
vised and much improved by the composer for this 

In 1 87 1 Rimsky-Korsakoff accepted the invitation of 
Asanchevsky, whose name will be recalled as belong- 
ing to one of Moussorgsky's earliest musical acquaint- 
ances — now at the head of the conservatorium at St. 
Petersburg — to join the staff of that institution, and 
he was appointed professor of composition and 

It was at this time that he and Moussorgsky estab- 
lished themselves under one roof. While living 
together they actually worked at the same table upon 
" Pskovitianka " and " Khovantchina " respectively. 
They were further engaged during the winter of 1871-2 
on their appointed contributions to the joint "Mlada" 
production — a commission shared by them with Cui 
and Borodin. This finished, Rimsky-Korsakoff, 
already displaying a superior talent for orchestration, 
took in hand Dargomijsky's "Stone-Guest." 

Rimsky-Korsakoff seeaiis in a measure to have been 
a victim to that same hesitation in the choice of a 
mould for his symphonic works as has been noted in 
connection with his operas. His first symphony was 
written entirely on classical lines — likewise his third. 
But the work which we have now to mention, " Antar " 
(Op. 9), he called a symphonic suite, adding a sub- 


title, "Second Symphony." In reality, it is a sym- 
phonic picture in four sections. "Antar," scored for 
full orchestra, is a remarkably fine piece of descriptive 
music. Its "'programme," which prefaces the score is 
derived from an Arab story by Sennkovsky. The 
work is dedicated to Cui, and as the composer-critic 
wrote a notice upon it (in 1886) in which the scheme is 
set forth, we propose to quote his article. 

"The subject," wrote Cui, "is taken from an oriental 
tale. Antar, weary of human ingratitude, retires into 
the desert. Suddenly there appears a gazelle fleeing 
from a gigantic bird. Antar kills the monster, saves 
the gazelle, falls asleep and is transported in his 
dreams to a magnificent palace where he is captivated 
by charming songs and dances; the fairy* who dwells 
in the palace promises him the three greatest joys of 
life. Awakening from his dream he finds himself back 
in the desert. This is the programme of the first part. 
It is an admirable specimen of descriptive music. The 
sombre chords depicting the desert, the graceful 
gazelle's race for life, the cumbrous flight of the 
winged monster, expressed by sinister harmonies [sic^ 
finally the dances full of voluptuous abandon, all 
give evidence of abundant inspiration. Only in the 
dances, the subject is too short for their length and is 
thus repeated too often. The second part, the joy of 
vengeance, is full of barbaric energy, of bloodthirsty 
violence which characterises alike the music and its 
orchestration. The third part, the joy of power, con- 
sists of a glittering oriental march ornamented with 
arabesques both novel and charming. The last part. 

The fairy Gul-Nazar turns out to be the gazelle transformed. 


the joy of love, is the cuhninating point of the work. 
The poetry of passion is wonderfully rendered in 
terms of music. Two more observations in reference 
to ' Antar.' In order to enhance the appeal of local 
colour Korsakoff makes use of three Arab themes and 
the symphony is invested with a considerable cohesion 
by the circumstance that despite the dissimilarity in 
character of the four sections the 'Antar' theme has 
been introduced into each." 

We come now to the epoch in Rimsky-Korsakoff's 
career at which after having given indisputable proofs 
of his genius in the domain of operatic and symphonic 
art and having written twenty -two songs, some of which 
are among the best to be found in the Russian treasury 
of vocal music, he began to feel that his technical know- 
ledge and equipment were insufficient. To account for 
this more or less sudden realisation does not seem 
difficult if it be borne in mind that he had recently 
begun to teach, and it is not unlikely that it was the 
need for a more facile instrument of instruction rather 
than an improved medium of expression which was so 
strongly felt. Whatever the cause the result may be 
traced in the output of Rimsky-Korsakoff at this time, 
such as the six variations on the theme "B-a-c-h" for 
piano and the six fugues, Op. 17, written during the 
period of self-tutorial discipline. These works were 
composed when their creator was immersed in text- 
books which must obviously have emanated from a 
western source. His own native style got the upper 
hand only when he wrote as a result of direct 

Five years after this resolve was made, Tchaikov- 
sky, writing to Mme. von Meek, describes, in terms of 


the Tchaikovskian point of view, the state of mind 
which prompted it. " 1 possess a letter dating from 
that time which moved me very deeply. Rimsky- 
Korsakoff was overcome by despair when he realised 
how many unprofitable years he had wasted, and that 
he was iollowing a road which led nowhere. He 
began to study with such zeal that the theory of the 
schools soon became to him an indispensable atmos- 
phere. During one summer he achieved innumerable 
exercises in counterpoint and sixty-four fugues, ten of 
which he sent me for inspection. From contempt of 
the schools, Rimsky-Korsakoff suddenly went over to 
the cult of musical technique. . At present (1877) 

he appears to be passing through a crisis, and it is 
hard to predict how it will end." 

In an earlier letter to Rimsky-Korsakoff himself (in 
1875) Tchaikovsky wrote: "You must know how I 
admire and bow down before your artistic modesty 
and your great strength of character ! These innum- 
erable counterpoints, these sixty fugues, and all the 
other musical intricacies which you have accomplished 
— all these things from a man who had already pro- 
duced a " Sadko '' eight years previously — are the ex- 
ploits of a hero. How small, poor, self-satisfied 
and naive I feel in comparison with you ! I am a 
mere artisan in composition, but you will be an artist, 
in the fullest sense of the word. I am really con- 
vinced that with your immense gifts — and the ideal 
conscientiousness with which you approach your work 
— you will produce music that must far surpass all 
which so far has been composed in Russia. I await 
your ten fugues with keen impatience. ." 

A composition which proves that Tchaikovsky's 


fears, expressed in the first quoted of these letters, 
were not by any means groundless, is the string quartet 
(Op. 12) written for a competition organised by the 
Imperial Society of Music. This, a singularly dull 
work, seems quite obviously to have been composed as 
an exercise in classic style. It contains no feature 
which would suggest that it was written by a master in 
whose work brilliancy of effect was so consistent. 

In 1873 Rimsky-Korsakoff decided finally to sever 
his connection with the Navy. It seems a little curious 
that his professorship, already held for two years, 
should not sooner have rendered this resignation 
imperative. And if we should search for an odder or 
more incongruous combination than Moussorgsky the 
guardsman and liberator of opera, it is surely upon 
the figure of the naval officer attending the conserva- 
torium as instructor in musical theoretics that our 
choice would fall. It is to be presumed that it was 
not with the object of creating a precedential alliance 
between the arts of war and peace that the Grand Duke 
Constantin Nicholaevich obtained for Korsakoff the 
post of Inspector of Naval Bands, but rather as a 
means of supplementing a somewhat depleted income. 
This inspectorship was held by the composer until 1 884. 

The year under review also saw the beginning of the 
fine collection of folk-songs (Op. 24), which were pub- 
lished in 1877. Rimsky-Korsakoff was not long in 
putting some of these tunes to a thematic use. In the 
"Sinfonietta on Russian Themes" (Op. 31), which is in 
three movements, he employed no less than five of 
them. Others appear in the works of Moussorgsky 
and Tchaikovsky, both of whom contributed to the 
collection. The third symphony (Op. 32), in four 


iy4 A SHORT HlSTORV OK Rl'SSlAN l\[L'Sl(\ 

nio\emenl-5 (moderato assai, scherzo, andante, leading' 
to allegro con spinto) m which the composer is seen 
favouring the "old and archaic musical forms," and 
the symphonic talc (Op. 20) based on the prologue 
from Pushkin's " Russian and Ludmilla,'' both belong 
to this year which saw the production of " Pskovitianka." 

But there was an event of at least equal importance 
to those already chronicled which rendered the year 
) 872 a notable epoch in Rimsky-Korsakoff's career. 
This was his marriage with Nadejda Pourgold. The 
name of Pourgold soon becomes familiar to the student 
of Russian musical history. Alexandra Pourgold, who 
became Mme. Molas, was a singer possessing quite ex- 
ceptional powers of artistic perceptivity. She was a 
pupil of IDargomijsky, and almost invariably under- 
took the female characters hi those operas, which like 
"Boris Godounoff," received "scratch" performances 
at the periodical gatherings of the "£i\'e'' and their 
friends. As for the lad)' who became the wife of 
Rimsky-fvorsakoff, one can but surmise that the suita- 
bility of the union can hardly have been the subject of 
any doubt on the part of those who knew the couple, 
fn 1868 we fmd Nadejda Nicholaievna as "orchestra" 
(at the piano) in the parlour performance of " Boris." 
In 1 87 1 she is asserting her judgment in advising the 
modification of certain chords in Tchaikovsky's 
"Romeo and Juliet" overture — submitted for the ap- 
proval of Balakireff who took a great interest in this 
work — a suggestion of which Tchaikovsky readily 
availed himself. In the winter of 1872-3 her offer to 
make a piano arrangement of the finale of the Malo- 
Russian symphony, is accepted with enthusiasm and 
it is to her that Borodin dedicated his first string quar- 


tet which he finished in 1878, surely a tribute unique in 
the history of Woman ! She also assisted in the re- 
duction of Borodin's "Prince Igor,'' and has since lent 
similar aid to her husband. 

In 1874 Balakireff relinquished his post as conduc- 
tor of the Free School concerts and was succeeded by 
Rimsky-Korsakoff, who filled the position until 1881. 
He appears at this time to have combined the study of 
musical theory with the formation of certain operatic 
plans, an odd enough mixture of occupations from the 
academic point of view. A letter written by Borodin 
in 1875 shows the attitude of the writer towards his 
colleague's industry. Borodin, reporting general pro- 
gress, speaks of the operatic activity of Cui and Mous- 
sorgsky ; "Rimsky-Korsakoff," he continues, "is work- 
ing for the Free School, he writes counterpoint and 
teaches his pupils all kinds of musical devices. He is 
writing a monumental course of instrumentation which 
will be without a rival, but he, also, has no leisure and 
has abandoned his work. . Many people have 
been distressed to see Korsakoff take a retrograde step 
and give himself up to the study of musical archaeo- 
logy. For myself I quite understand it, and it does 
not trouble me." 

1877 saw the publication of the first collection of 
folk-songs and is the date of Rimsky-Korsakoff's con- 
tribution to the " Paraphrases " or " Chopsticks " suite 
devised by Borodin. The "work" referred to by 
Borodin in the above-quoted letter is doubtless Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff's second opera, "A Night in May," 
finished in 1878. For its subject he went to one of 
Gogol's fantastically humorous tales which were written 
at the suggestion of Pushkin. As will be seen the 


character of the story involved a complete change of 
sentiment, the subject calling for something far 
removed from the stern realism of " Pskovitianka," 
and the composer almost wholly forsaking the de- 
clamatory method introduced a note of brightness 
and of humour which was well and clearly sounded in 
a fund of melody and lyricism. The story concerns a 
headman of a lakeside village, his son I^evko, who is 
in love with Ganna, a village maiden, and a haunted 
house to which a legend attaches. The headman is 
also making advances to Ganna, and Levkc, who has 
just made up his mind to solicit his father's consent to 
his marriage, is so disgusted on hearing of the parental 
plans that he determines to gi\'e his father a shock, and 
organises a sort of riotous orgy during which the head- 
man's house is bombarded. In the confusion the head- 
man, under the impression that he has caught one of 
the miscreants, locks up his sister-in-law, and other 
ridiculous mistakes are made. Levko gets into touch 
with the russalka who frequents the haunted house, 
and when he succeeds in rendering her a service, she 
gives him a written request to his father that the 
hoped-for match shall be sanctioned. Her handwrit- 
ing IS taken for that of the commissary and Tevko and 
Ganna are made happy. This is but the bare outline 
of a somewhat complicated libretto into which the ele- 
ment of the supernatural enters very largely. The 
legend of the haunted house allows the introduction of 
a beautiful chorus of russalki. The work is not, how- 
ever, entirely comic in character, and as a contrast to 
the fantastic element in the second act the music of 
the first is couched in a vein of tender melancholy. 
In this opera Rimsky-Korsakoff's delicate and caprici- 


ous humour is fully displayed as well it might be in 
the musical interpretation of such a master as Gogol. 
" A Night in May," which is in three acts was produced 
at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, in January, 
1880, and was revived in October, 1894. It is dedi- 
cated to the composer's wife. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff's next important venture was a 
further opera, begun in the summer of 1880. The 
"Snow-Maiden" (Snegourochka), which is to be classi- 
fied as a melodic opera, impresses one with the inten- 
sity of its composer's love of nature and his earnest 
observation of its various phenomena. It is clear that 
the rustic surroundings of his youth must have engen- 
dered something more than a desire to picture the 
people in song, for in " The Snow-Maiden " we are 
face to face with a thoroughly poetic presentation of 
what may be called their background. The text of 
this opera is drawn from a piece by one of the greatest 
Russian dramatists, Ostrovsky, who at the bidding of 
the directorate of the Great Theatre, Moscow, in 1873, 
forsook the sphere in which he had achieved fame — 
that of satirical comedy with the Muscovite bour- 
geoisie as subject — and undertook to write a fairy piece 
on the subject of "Spring." His musical collaborator 
was Tchaikovsky, who completed his contribution in 
two months. Tchaikovsky was about to revise his 
work in order to reconstruct it as an opera proper, 
when Rimsky-Korsakoff, in response to an invitation 
from the Imperial Theatre, brought forward his own 
completed operatic setting of the same text. 

The story which is derived from folk-tale is as fol- 
lows : Its scene is the neighbourhood of Berendey 
during early spring. The "Snow-Maiden" is the off- 


spring of an attachment between the Fairy Spring and 
Old Winter, dating from sixteen years prior to the 
opening of the story. Old Winter realises the danger 
which would arise from the exposure of his daughter 
to the power of his perpetual enemy the Sun God. The 
Fairy Spring has, however, an excessive maternal pride 
in the delicate beauty of her child, the Snow-Maiden, 
now entering womanhood, and allows her to roam 
about unchecked. The mother, noticing that her 
daughter is apparently incapable of passion or any 
warmth of feeling owing to the snow which fills her 
veins, endows her with the missing attributes. But no 
sooner has the Snow-Maiden made choice of a lover 
than the warm June sun pierces her unsubstantial 
frame and, becoming deliquescent, she floats to heaven 
in a vapour. 

For the four acts and prologue the composer has 
found an ample fund of incident and interest in the 
legend, and the beliefs of pagan Russia, which are re- 
ferred to from time to time in its pages, help to create 
an atmosphere of nationality. There is quite a host of 
accessory characters ; birds, flowers, nobles and their 
wives, the Czar's suite, players of the giislce, the rebec 
and the pipe, blind men, buffoons, shepherds, youths 
and maidens and Berendeys "of every class" all help- 
ing to make a striking pictorial effect. As for the 
scenery, its description in the score is sufficient to sug- 
gest that, from a man of Rimsky-Korsakoff's wealth of 
imagination, it could not do less than evoke music 
which would fulfil all the needs of the picturesque 
legend of spring. The song and dance of the birds 
in the prologue, the songs of the shepherd Lei (who 
personifies Russian folk-lore), the prelude to the third 


act and certain of the folk-song choruses are specimens 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff's inspiration at its zenith. The 
composer makes good use of his themes but avoids 
Wagnerian persistence, relying on a melodic presenta- 
tion when making a psychological or personal refer- 
ence. Certain directions in the score reveal that the 
composer, following the tradition set up by his school, 
Iiad become a stickler for thoroughness of production 
and they enforce a scrupulous regard for the niceties of 
stage management. "During the performance of the 
lyrical pieces in this opera," he admonishes his pro- 
ducers, "those who have to remain silent on the stage 
are requested not to distract the public attention from 
the singing by an excessive play of gesture." He 
further insists that there must be no cuts. The "Snow- 
Maiden" received its first performance in 1882 at the 
Imperial Theatre, St. Petersburg, the proceeds being 
reserved for the chorus of that establishment. A 
special French edition was prepared for its production 
at the Opera-Comique, Paris, in 1908. 

In 1882 Rimsky-Korsakoff published a second col- 
lection of folk-songs and then spent some little time 
in the editing of Moussorgsky's two operas, of which 
labour enough has already been said. In 1883 he was 
appointed assistant director of the Imperial Chapel, 
.St. Petersburg, a post held by him for eleven years. 
The third symphony was revised in 1884. 

A year later he received an invitation from Tchai- 
kovsky to take over the directorship of the Conserva- 
torium in Moscow, an office filled by Nicholas Rubin- 
stein from its foundation in 1864 until his death in 
1 88 1. Tchaikovsky, writing primarily to prepare Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff for a somewhat over-critical revision of 


the latter's harmony guide, then under process of com- 
pilation, adds : " Now I am going to lay a serious 
question before you which you need not answer at once, 
only after due consideration and discussion with your 
wife. Dare I hope that you would accept the position 
of director of the Moscow Conservatoire. . . Your 
upright and ideally honourable character, your distin- 
guished gifts, both as artist and teacher, warrant my 
conviction that m you we should find a splendid direc- 
tor. Think it over and send me your answer." 
This offer was declined, and the directorship was, 
after a lapse of time, offered to S. I. Taneieff, who 
was succeeded in i88g by Safonoff. 

In 1885, M. P. Belaieff, the patriotic publisher, founded 
the organisation known as the Russian S}'mphony 
Concerts, for the performance of native compositions, 
and in the following year Rimsky-Korsakoff accepted 
the conductorship. About this time he contributed the 
opening allegro to the string quartet jointly composed 
in honour of the "Russian Maecenas," Belaieff, by 
Borodin, Liadoff, Glazounoff and himself. His piano 
concerto in three movements (Op. 30, C sharp minor), 
dedicated to Liszt, was also published in 1886. 

On the death of Borodin in 1887, he undertook the 
revision and completion of the works left by his friend, 
a task in which he was assisted by Glazounoff. The 
opera, " Prince Igor," the fragmentary third symphony, 
the second string quartet and some songs were eventu- 
ally published by Belaieff. 

In the same year he completed that "colossal master- 
piece of instrumentation,"* the Capriccio Espagnole 

* Tchaikovsky. 


(Op. 34), for " grand " orchestra, which has since at- 
tained a general popularity. This work is divided into 
five movements, thus arranged : (a) Alborada, Varia- 
zioni, Alborada, (b) Scene e canto gitano, (c) Fan- 
dango asturiano. It is thoroughly Spanish in charac- 
ter, brilliantly scored, contains some epoch-making 
combinations of instruments — that of drums, tambour- 
ine and cymbals, with the rest silent, following the 
violin cadenza in the fourth movement is sufficiently 
uncommon — and is a monument to the composer's re- 
markable flair for orchestral colour. The "Capriccio" 
was first performed on October 31, 1887, by the 
orchestra of the Imperial Opera, St. Petersburg, the 
composer conducting, and the score which was pub- 
lished in the following year was dedicated to this 
body ; its title page bears a picturesque design intro- 
ducing certain Spanish emblems which decorate a 
pillar bearing the names of the whole orchestra. The 
violin fantasia on Russian themes, chief among which 
is that numbered seven in Balakireff's collection, - 
belongs to this period. 

Another orchestral work which now enjoys an equal 
esteem and an enhanced popularity, by reason of its 
adoption as the basis of one of the items in the Rus- 
sian ballet repertoire, was composed soon after the 
"Capriccio Espagnole." "Scheherazade" (Op. 35) is 
a symphonic suite in four movements, written to a 
"programme," based on stories from the "Arabian 
Nights." The "plot" affixed to the score is narrated 
in the following terms by the composer himself. "The 
Sultan Schahriar, impelled to the belief that all women 

• A variant will be found in the collection of Prokunin. 


are false by nature, had sworn to put each of his suc- 
cessive wives to death on the morrow of the nuptials. 
But the Sultana Scheherazade saved herself by excit- 
ing his interest in the tales she told him during a thou- 
sand and one nights. Driven by curiosity, the Sultan 
deferred his wife's execution from day to day until 
finally he revoked his slaughterous resolve. Mnn_\' 
wonders were narrated to Schahriar by the Sultana 
.Scheherazade. For her tales, the Sultana borrowed 
from the poets — their verses, from popular songs — the 
words, and she intercalated the stories and the adven- 
tures one in another." The score is remarkable for 
certain successful experiments in instrumentation and 
also for the employment of the various instruments as 
soloists, which procedure might well be supposed to 
have arisen out of the composer's intense satisfaction 
at the first performance of the preceding work. The 
interpretation of his programme is carried out with all 
the power and resource which Rimsky-Korsakoff had 
at his disposal, and which, together with his penchant 
for the oriental, place him, m works of this class at 
least, far be3'ond his contemporaries — Balakireff him- 
self not excepted. 

That the purely symphonic was exerting a fascina- 
tion upon the composer at this time is suggested by the 
appearance, shortly after ".Scheherazade" of the 
"Easter" overture Op. 36) which is based on Russian 
church tunes. This work, like "Scheherazade," is 
written to a definite programme — one, however, of a 
very different character. Its purport is explained by 
two biblical quotations, one from Psalm LX\TII, and 
the other from Chapter XV' of St. Mark, which preface 
the score. Again there is an exceeding brilliance of 


orchestration, and the use of bell effects which accom- 
pany the appearance of the Easter hymn is at once 
characteristic, appropriate and masterly. 

In 1889 Rimsky-Korsakoff appeared in Paris and 
conducted two concerts, consisting of Russian music, 
at the Trocadero under the auspices of the Inter- 
national Exhibition, and in the following year, in i^e- 
sponsc to an invitation from the executive of the 
" Concerts populaires," travelled for the same purpose 
to Brussels — the scene of his labours being the Theatre 
de la Monnaie. The composer was enthusiastically 
received and entertained at a banquet at which a 
special reference was made to the efforts of the Coun- 
tess Mercy-Argenteau, who, as we know, had worked 
untiringly on behalf of the cause of Russian music in 
Western Europe. 

These tours abroad did not cause a cessation of 
Rimsky-Korsakoff's creative activities. In 1889 he 
began a remarkable series of operatic works which 
flowed from his pen with extraordinary rapidity. 
Between 1870 and 1889, as we have seen, he composed 
but three operas. Between the last-named date and 
iiis death — a period of similar length — he completed 
no less than twelve. Of these the first was " Mlada." 
The origin of this work was the proposal of Guedeonoff 
to Borodin, Cui, Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff in the winter of 187 1-2. The subject had doubt- 
less '' grown upon " Rimsky-Korsakoff in the mean- 
time, for in addition to the section composed by him 
for the abortive production he had orchestrated Boro- 
din's contribution, the last act. In "Mlada" he still 
favours the lyrical method, a condition imposed by the 
nature of the libretto which is that of Guedeonoff. 


"Mlada" is described as an "opera ballet," and is in 
four acts. Its performance demands an immense stage 
and the employment of a large and complicated cast 
which comprises a varied array of dramatic personages, 
mortal and supernatural. The second act calls for 
some ten auxiliaries, all of whom fulfil solo vocal roles. 
In addition there are parts for a pantomimic artist and 
a solo danseuse, a chorus divided into small groups 
and certain imitative instruments in the orchestra, de- 
signed to relieve the usual functionaries of the onus of 
" stage noises " production. 

The composer is not satisfied with his prefatory in- 
junction that the privilege of imitating such elemental 
phenomena as thunder and wind is to remain with the 
orchestra, but iinrls it necessar}' to emphasise this 
decree at sundry meteorological moments in the 

The action of "Mlada" takes place in the ninth or 
tenth century in the town of Rhetra near the river Laba 
and the Baltic coast, and introduces certain pagan cus- 
toms, such as the worship of Peroun, the god of thun- 
der, and other elemental deities which prevailed prior 
to the introduction of Christianity, then imminent. 
Mstivoi, Prince of Rhetra, has designs upon Arkonsk, 
and wishes to encompass the downfall of its ruler, 
Jaromir. To this end he seeks the union of Jaromir 
with his daughter, Voislava, and makes the latter, who 
is in love with Jaromir, his instrument, by causing her 
to present a poisoned ring to Jaromir's affianced bride 
at the wedding ceremony. At the opening of the opera 
Voislava anticipates the arrival of the bereaved Jaro- 
mir at her father's palace, Voislava, who has failed 

Korsakoff's "mlada." 205 

to derive satisfaction from the worship of Lada, pro- 
ceeds at the instigation of her nurse, Sviatokna, to 
invoke the infernal goddess, Morena, whose earthly 
shape is in fact that of the nurse herself. On Jaro- 
mir's arrival he quickly falls a victim to Voislava's 
charms, but sees, while sleeping, a vision of his wed- 
ding with Mlada, and perceives for the first time that 
it is none other than Yoislava who is responsible for 
the death of his bride. On awaking, however, his 
newly-kindled passion is still ablaze and Mstivoi's 
scheme seems likely to bear fruit, until at the moment 
when the lovers are about to embrace, the shade of 
Mlada persistently intervenes and ultimately carries 
off Jaromir. On his return to earth the disillusioned 
lover kills the perfidious Voislava, who is claimed by 
Morena as her part of the bargain between them, and 
the final curtain falls on the benediction of Mlada 
and Jaromir by the goddess Lada. 

In "Mlada" Rimsky-Korsakoff again makes a judi- 
cious use of the leitmotiv and nowhere employs it more 
effectively than in the intervention of Mlada's shade 
when the chorus is urging Jaromir to embrace Vois- 
lava. There is some very beautiful music in the dream 
of Jaromir and some exceedingly characteristic pas- 
sages occur in the second act when the merchants are 
crying their wares in the market — a device again used 
in a somewhat different fashion in a later opera. Here 
the composer introduces an Eastern element in the 
shape of a "cadenza" which embodies the cry of the 
Moorish merchant. A further Oriental episode is that 
in which the Queen Cleopatra figures. Some fine 
spectacular music occurs in the third act, depicting 


" Night on Mount Triglav,"* which is the scene of 
Moussorgsky's " Bare Mountain " (the final shape of 
his third act in the Guedeonoff version) and in which 
are seen a number of mythical and legendary beings, 
such as Tchernobog, the black god, and Kostchei, the 
man-skeleton. From this act the composer afterwards 
drew the material for a " symphonic picture." The 
" Redova " dance in the first act must also be men- 
tioned as one of the choicer numbers in a score which 
is quite one of Rimsky-Korsakoff's richest works. 
"Mlada" was produced in November, 1S92. 

In 1 894 Rimsky-Ixorsakoff relinquished the assistant- 
ship of the Imperial Chapel, a step which doubtless 
contributed to his subsequent activity in operatic com- 
position. He was now at work upon an opera in which 
the element of humour is more pronounced than in any 
other from his pen. The subject of " Christmas Eve 
Revels" is taken from one of the fantastic "Stories 
of Mirgorod," by Gogol, who wrote them at the sug- 
gestion of Pushkin. In 1873 the subject had been 
chosen for a competition inaugurated by the Grand 
Duchess Helena Pavlovna, who had previously com- 
missioned Polonsky, a well-known poet, to prepare a 
libretto for Seroff. 

Tchaikovsky was the successful competitor. His 
opera, originally named "Vakoula the Smith," was 
given a mixed reception at St. Petersburg in 1876, and 
having undergone revision and two changes of name 
was successfully produced at Moscow as "Oxana's 
Caprice" in 1S87. The attractiveness of Gogol's story 
is evidenced by the fact that it has been treated by 

* Triglav was a three-headed god. 


no less than five composers — the others beiny Solo- 
\ieff, Stchourovsky and Lissenko. The libretto of 
Rimsky-Korstikoff's work was of his own writing. The 
'' plot " deals with the machinations of a witch called 
Solokha in partnership with the Devil. The scene is 
the village of Dikanka on a moon-ht Christmas eve. 
The Devil bears a grudge against Vakoula the smith, 
because the latter has portrayed the satanic features on 
the wall of the village church. Vakoula is going to 
visit his lady-love Oxana, the daughter of the Cos- 
sack Choub, and the last-named is engaged to sup 
with the sacristan. The Devil's revenge upon his cari- 
caturist is wrought by means of the theft of the moon 
and stars. The resultant darkness brings about a 
fearful confusion. Choub loses his way and missing 
the sacristan's abode comes back in a circle to his own, 
only to be refused admission by Vakoula, who assumes 
that he must be a rival for the hand of Oxana. Further 
complications ensue in which the village headman is 
involved, but eventually the moon is replaced. Oxana, 
who has hitherto rejected Vakoula's suit, promises 
half in jest to marry him if he will bring her the shoes 
of the Tsaritsa. Vakoula getting the upper hand 
of the Devil, exacts from him a promise to obtain an 
interview with the Tsaritsa, and the latter being in a 
pleasant mood, allows him to carry off the shoes which 
are duly presented to the now relenting Oxana. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff's score occupies itself -with em- 
phasising the humorous and fantastic in Gogol's story, 
thus differing from Tchaikovsky's lyrical treatment 
of the subject. The former composer possessed quali- 
ties which enabled him better to appreciate the subtle 
kinds of humour; the latter appears to have been 


sensible only to the more obvious and superficial. 
Rimsky-Korsakoff gave variety to the work by intro- 
ducing a reference to the sacred aspect of Christmas ; 
the overture is built upon two themes of a character 
which leaves no doubt as to the composer's intention. 

"Christmas Eve Revels" is in four acts, subdivided 
into nine tableaux. It was produced at the Maryin- 
sky Theatre, St. Petersburg, in 1895, but remained only 
a short time in the repertoire, thus sharing the fate of 
several other Russian operatic works of distinction. 

The year 1896 is noteworthy for the celebration of 
Rimsky-Korsakoff's twenty-fifth year of work as pro- 
fessor at the Conservatoire. 

His next opera, on which he had been working since 
1895, was produced in 1897. There has already been 
occasion briefly to refer to its subject in speaking of 
the symphonic picture, " Sadko," composed in 1867. 
Rimsky-Korsakoff drew from his operas, " The Snow- 
Maiden," "Mlada," "Christmas Eve" and "Tsar Sal- 
tan," the material for orchestral suites. Here he re- 
verses the process and elaborates the scheme of a sym- 
phonic work to build up an opera. In "Sadko" the 
declamatory style of vocalisation is given somewhat 
wider scope and the melodic element is less noticeable. 
Cheshikin, who discusses at length the question of Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff's variation of methods, hints that the 
composer's hesitation with respect to the basic princi- 
ples of operatic construction might have been assumed 
to be at an end with " Sadko," which is a thoroughly 
well-balanced and at the same time a highly original 
work. This, as we shall see, was not so. 

"Sadko" is very rich in material of the historical 
as well as of the legendary kind. The minstrel-hero 

" SADKO." 209 

lived in the elevenlli century, and records of his actions 
are to be seen in the " Cycle of Novgorod," the third 
or the five series of "tales of the olden times'' (builini) 
and in various folk-songs. The cycle of Novgorod, 
which is divided into two legends, deals with mer- 
chants, pilgrims and town-builders. Sadkohas a story 
to himself. It runs as follows : 

At Novgorod dwelt a poor minstrel who earned a 
precarious livelihood by performing on his giislee to 
the rich men of the city. One day at a banquet he 
had the misfortune to annoy those present by reproach- 
ing them with their love of wealth, and was uncere- 
moniously bundled out. Hurt by this treatment, he 
betook himself one lovely summer's evening to the 
banks of I.ake Ilmen, and sang his woes to its waves. 
Attracted by the music, the beautiful Volkhova, young- 
est daughter of the Ocean Monarch, emerged from the 
water, surrounded by her suite of maidens. En- 
chanted both by the beauty and talent of Sadko, Volk- 
hova promised that they should meet again, when 
riches and happiness would become his lot. She in- 
structed him to cast his nets in the lake waters and 
assured him that he would draw golden fish from 
them in sufficient abundance to enable him to travel 
the world over. Sadko, overwhelmed with joy, re- 
turned to the town and wagered his head against the 
wealth- of the merchants that he would catch golden 
fish in Lake Ilmen. Volkhova fulfilled her promise, 
but Sadko, unwilling to profit to the full extent, was 
satisfied with a fleet of thirty vessels with which he 
set sail for a long voyage. One evening in mid-ocean 
his' ship suddenly came to a standstill and its sails 
were torn from its masts. In order to propitiate the 



Sea-King casks of gold and precious stones were 
pitched into the waves. This proving of no avail, it 
was assumed that the king required a human sacrifice. 
Lots were drawn and Sadko, who had already guessed 
that Volkhova's hand was directing these circumstances, 
was placed on a plank and drawn down to the Sea- 
King's domain. Entranced by Sadko's glorification, sung 
in his honour, the King bestowed his youngest daughter, 
Volkhova, upon the minstrel. The betrothal was cele- 
brated with submarine pomp and circumstance. Sadko 
then began anew to play and sing, but his music rose 
to such a high emotional pitch that the whole company 
joined in with a frenzied dance. This caused a storm 
and many ships were wrecked. Suddenly St. Nicholas 
appeared, and remonstrating with Sadko, dashed his 
giislee to the ground, thus putting an end to the dance 
and to its attendant storm. He bade the minstrel 
return to his home and transformed Volkhova into 
the river that flows by the city of Novgorod. 

In this opera, Rimsky-Korsakoff adopts a method of 
recitative which lends itself to the narration of legend- 
ary lore, but he indulges his gift for melody in many 
charming songs and dances, and gives scope to his flair 
for the picturesque by introducing a series of solos 
for three oversea merchants, demanded by Sadko as a 
musical acknowledgment of his clemency in renounc- 
ing the greater part of the booty won in his wager. 
Quite a feature of the opera is the wonderful variety 
of rhythm, one of the most original specimens being 
the song of Niejata, a minstrel from Kiev, in which 
the rhythms of 6-4 and 9-4 appear in alternate bars. 
Among the many beautiful numbers in the score may 
be mentioned the procession of maidens (the King's 


daughters) and every kind of marine marvels in the 
penultimate tableau (there are seven), and Volkhova's 
slumber-song in the last. 

The instrumer^tation is novel and effective, the guslee 
music being rendered by a combination of pianino and 
harp. Several themes from the symphonic "Sadko" 
are employed in the opera. 

The directorate of the St. Petersburg Imperial Opera, 
to whotn the work was duly submitted, was somewhat 
disconcerted by its originality, and refused to produce 
it. Luckily for the composer and for the musical pub- 
lic, there had lately been inaugurated, in Moscow, an 
operatic organisation supported by private funds, and 
under these auspices " Sadko " was staged with such 
success that the Imperial Opera authorities were 
obliged, in 1901, to reverse their decision, and the work 
has since been performed wherever possible in Russia. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff was naturally nettled by this 
action and determined never again to submit his work 
to this body. In 1899 he addressed a letter to a Rus- 
sian musical journal in which he voiced the complaint 
that whereas native composers were obliged to present 
their works when soliciting performance, foreigners 
were not thus penalised. He also referred to the per- 
forming fees paid to foreign composers and their re- 
presentatives, which he characterised, in view of the 
absence of an understanding with other European 
countries in the matter of "rights," as an act of pure 
generosity, and recommended to the authorities the 
nationalisation of such benevolence. 

In 1898 he was already faced with the problem 
of placing a fresh opera. "The Tsar's Betrothed" is 
founded on a drama by Mey, but contains some sup- 


plementary material from the pen of Tumeneff. Its 
subject is the same as that of an abortive operatic 
essay by Borodin begun in the 'sixties. It relates to 
a custom obtaining in the time of Ivan the Terrible— 
that of selecting an Imperial bride. Ivan's choice falls 
upon Martha, who is already loved by Griaznoi, an 
officer. Griaznoi devises the plan of giving Martha a 
potion which will efface the memory of a further claim- 
ant, Lykoff. But the officer does not reckon vfith his 
discarded mistress, Liuba, who replaces the potion 
with another which robs Martha of her beauty. 
Griaznoi stabs Liuba and gives himself up to justice. 
This work, which is in four acts, is the only one in 
which, musically speaking, the composer comes West. 
The subject is of course purely national, but the treat- 
ment in general is of a kind which savours of Mozart 
and of the Italian manner. Of operas already men- 
tioned, " Pskovitianka " and "A Night in May," have 
long overtures in the traditional pattern. The "Holy 
Night " introduction to " Christmas Eve Revels," which 
serves as preludial matter, contains but fifty bars; 
that of " The Tsar's Betrothed " is more than six times 
as long, has some half-dozen changes of key-signature 
and is fitted with a "concert-ending." The opera is 
divided into the conventional operatic divisions : arias, 
duets, trios and quartets, and the chorus-work em- 
phasises the '"occidental" quality of the score. "The 
Tsar's Betrothed " was produced at the Moscow Private 
Opera on October 22, 1899, with very pronounced suc- 
cess and two years later at the Maryinsky Theatre. 
The taste of the larger Russian public was betrayed 
by this reception — it retained in a considerable measure 
what Cheshikin calls, its "Italianomania'' and a com- 


bination of Russian subject and Italian manner must 
still have been at even so late a date the approved 
ingredients of operatic success. 

As has been seen, Rimsky-Korsakoff, since his first 
operatic work, " Pskovitianka," had forsaken the de- 
clamatory method. In " Mozart and Salieri," however, 
he adopted a procedure which reminds us of Dar- 
gomijsky, to whose memory it was dedicated, and his 
" .Stone-Guest." It seems as though Rimsky-Korsakoff, 
after wandering in search of a solution of the problem 
of operatic construction, had determined on returning, 
as it were, to the fold. "Mozart and Salieri," a "dra- 
matic duologue" by Pushkin, is set from end to end 
to the unaltered text, and in these "dramatic scenes "of 
Rimsky-Korsakoff — a title replacing that of "opera" 
— the melodic recitative is maintained unbroken. The 
dramatic substance concerns itself with the supposition 
that Mozart's death was caused by poison administered 
to him by his southern rival, and refers to the mys- 
terious stranger — the emissary of that "musical ghoul," 
Count Walsegg — who in the last year of Mozart's life 
commissioned the " Requiem." " Mozart and Salieri " 
is in two scenes. In the first are seen the two com- 
posers and an old fiddler who has been brought to 
Mozart's house by his rival. Salieri is piqued by 
Mozart's merriment at the old man's expense, but when 
the master plays, Salieri, always impressionable, com- 
pares him with God. Mozart declares in jest that 
" God is hungry " and Salieri invites him to dine at a 
restaurant. While Mozart is informing his wife of his 
proposed absence from the domestic table, Salieri de- 
cides to poison him. 

The second scene takes place at the restaurant. As 


an explanation of a somewhat morose mood, Mozart 
mentions the stranger who haunts him. Saheri quotes 
Peaumarchais's words to the effect that champagne is 
the best remedy for low spirits. Mozart then inquires 
as to the truth of the story that the author of "Figaro" 
poisoned someone, and asserts his belief that a genius 
would be incapable of murder. Salieri, in course of 
conversation, finds an opportunity to introduce some 
poison into Mozart's glass, and the latter, after an 
attempt to render his "Requiem" at the piano, is over- 
come by the effect of the potion. Salieri, pondering the 
question as to the incompatibility of genius and mur- 
derous instincts, is plunged into despair at this ap- 
parent reflection upon the quality of his own capacities. 

The score introduces several imitative references to 
the musical matter of the text, such as Salieri's men- 
tion of a simple scale and an allusion to an organ, 
which evokes a pedal-point. Rimsky-Korsakoff ad- 
heres as far as possible to the style of the Mozart 

"Mozart and Salieri" was produced at the Solodov- 
nikoff Theatre, Moscow, in 1898. It was the first opera 
in which the subject was not nationalistic, but this 
cannot be looked upon as a serious lapse from the 
composer's ideal, seeing that its literary material was 
derived from the greatest figure in the history of Rus- 
sian literature. 

The declamatory style was again predominant m 
Rimsky-Korsakoff's next work, but this is not neces- 
sarily to be regarded as the result of a preference en- 
gendered by the composer's artistic state of mind. 
"Boyarina Vera Scheloga" is a prologue to "Pskoviti- 
anka" and treats of the incident contributory to the 


literary substance of the earlier work. It will thus be re- 
cognised that the consideration of homogeneity of style 
would have a strong claim in the selection of method. 
" Boyarina Vera Scheloga " is in one act. Its story, 
like that of "Pskovitianka," is taken from Mey s 
drama, but it deals with a period fifteen years anterior 
to the first episodes in the plot of "Pskovitianka." In 
the second act of the last-named work there is a pas- 
sage which gives the key to the dramatic situation in 
this prologue. When Ivan the Terrible questions 
Prince Tokmakoff as to the antecedents of Olga, his 
adopted daughter, the Prince explains that Olga is 
the child of his wife's sister by someone unknovv'n, and 
that his wife, then his betrothed, took upon her own 
shoulders the onus of the indiscretion. Scheloga, still 
suspecting his own wife. Vera, left for the war and 
sought a soldier's end. Olga the child has since re- 
mained under the Prince's protection. 

The scene of the prologue is Scheloga's house at 
Pskoff in 1555. Scheloga is absent at the war with 
his friend Tokmakoff. The voice of Vera his wife is 
heard singing her infant daughter Olga to sleep ; 
Nadejda Nasonoff, her sister, endeavours to ascertain 
the identity of Vera's lover. She replies that she has 
never dared to breathe his name even in prayer, but 
she relates the circumstances of her betrayal. During 
her husband's absence at the war a number of troops 
returned to Pskoff with the Tsar at their head. On 
her way to the Pechirsky monastery, for devotional pur- 
poses, she lost herself and fainted from fatigue. Re- 
gaining consciousness, she found herself in the tent 
of a stranger, who gave orders for her to be taken 
home. The same evening the stranger sought an in- 


terview, during which \'cra allowed herself tu bccun:c 
his victim. Soon after this explanation is vouch- 
safed, Scheloga and Tokmakoff arrive. Vera has now 
conceived a strong aversion for her husband, and be- 
.seeches him to leave her. To his inquiry respecting 
the origin of the child, Nadejda makes the false 
avowal of motherhood. Those familiar with the action 
of " Pskovitianka" will have known that the betrayer 
was none other than Ivan the Terrible himself, and that 
eventually, on recognising Olga as his own child, he 
strove to make reparation. " Boyarina Vera Scheloga " 
was produced at the Private Opera, Moscow, in 1 899, 
fulfilling at this performance its function of prologue 
to " Pskovitianka." Three years later it was gi\xn at 
the Maryinsk}' Theatre. 

No sooner were the two works, " Boyarina \'era 
Scheloga" and "The Tsar's Betrothed," fairly launched 
than Rimsky-Korsakoff came forward with " The Tale 
of Tsar Saltan," an opera in the melo-declamatory 
style which, by virtue of its subject, its manner and 
its quality, is comparable with "Sadko." "The Tale 
of Tsar Saltan" is a popular Russian folk-story, but 
IS to be found in the lore of other nations. The im- 
mediate source of Rimsky-Ivorsakoff's libretto, which 
was made by Belsky, is Pushkin's version of the story 
and in some portions of the text the original lines are 

Certain quotations from Pushkin figure in the score. 
The tale, as told in the opera, is as follows : 

The young Tsar Saltan, whose beauty was a byword 
among his subjects and who was in the habit of wan- 
dering forth at dusk in search of a closer knowledge 
of his capital, overheard one evening the conversation 

'■TSAR SALTAN." 2\] 

of three sisters, daughters of a rich merchant. They 
were exchanging views as to their ideals of worldly 
happiness. With each the one desideratum was mar- 
riage with the Tsar. Should that come to pass, said 
the eldest, she would bake him bread from the finest 
flour in the world. The second would weave him such 
linen as ne'er yet had been seen. The third, whose 
accjuired accomplishments were few, would, however 
perform prodigious feats in the domain of mother- 
hood. She would bear the sovereign seven hero-sons 
that should be the comeliest in his kingdom. Saltan, 
mdifferent to the prospect of food and raiment, of 
N^'hich he was little in need, was attracted by the pro- 
mise of such proud fatherhood, and within three days 
he married the youngest sister. Shortly after the nup- 
tials Saltan was obliged to absent himself at the wars, 
and in order that his bride should not be lonely he 
sent for the two spinster sisters to live with her. They 
were consumed with jealousy which, however, they dis- 
sembled with more or less success. During the Tsar's 
absence a son was born to the Tsaritsa. A message 
was concocted and sent to the Tsar by the wicked 
sisters, in league with a witch (Babaricha), to the effect 
that his young wife had given birth "neither to a son 
nor a daughter, not to kittens, mice or frogs, but to a 
sort of monstrous animal," and a message was brought 
in return that the mother and her offspring should be 
confined in a cask and dropped into the sea. Mother 
and son drifted to the island of Bouyan, where the 
young Tsarevitch Guidon developed into a vigorous 
hero. A swan whom he saved, with his bow and arrow, 
from a pursuing kite, initiated him into the arts of 
magic, and he was able to raise a wondrous city from 


beneath the sea. By its people he was chosen Tsar. 
By means of his transformation into a bee, wrought by 
the swan, he followed some of the Saltan's vessels and 
saw his father. Returning to his own city, Guidon 
sighed for the joys of matrimony, and the swan gain- 
ing knowledge of this, took her proper shape as a 
lovely princess with the result that the happy pair 
soon after sought the Tsaritsa's benediction. The 
royal mother was not long left in loneliness. The 
fleet of Saltan was sighted, and husband and wife 
were reunited. 

With such substance as this for his libretto, Rimsky- 
Korsakoff could hardly fail to produce the best results 
of which he was capable, and "The Tale of Tsar Sal- 
tan" contains in its many arias and ariosos some de- 
lightful music. These vocal pieces, it should be men- 
tioned, are not divided off from the rest. Here again 
the composer dispenses with the overture and the pre- 
ludial matter to each of the acts is quite brief, with the 
exception of that preceding the second act. This, to- 
gether with the introductions to the first act and the 
final tableau, form the material of a symphonic suite, 
which received performance before the opera itself. 
The opera, which is in four acts and a prologue, sub- 
divided into seven tableaux, was produced on October 
21, 1900, at the Solodovnikoff Theatre, Moscow, and 
during the composer's lifetime was only played at this 
and the St. Petersburg Private Opera. 

In this year, in which fell the thirty-fifth anniver- 
sary of the first Russian symphony, Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff paid another visit to Brussels in order to conduct 
a Russian concert. The date also marks his retire- 

''SERVILIA." 219 

ment from the conductorship of the Belaieff symphony 
concerts to which he had been appointed in 1886. 

A return to the declamatory style came in ipoi, the 
composer having now arrived at the conviction that in 
this method alone lay the solution of the problem of 
the musico-dramatic art. Mey's drama, "Servilia," 
which served as literary basis for Rimsky-Korsakoff's 
opera of the same name, has a feature in common 
with " Mlada," for it introduces episodes related to 
the adoption of Christianity. The action of "Ser- 
vilia" takes place in ancient Rome during the time of 
Nero, the actual date being given as AD. 67. 

Hyspo and Egnatius, both strong opponents of 
Christianity, decide to plot against the Tribune 
Valerius and five senators. Valerius is in love with 
Servilia, the daughter of the senator Soranus; she is 
inclined to accept Christianity. Soranus wishes his 
daughter to marry Trasea, but the latter, hearing of 
the understanding between Servilia and his adopted 
son Valerius, expresses a determination to retire in his 
favour. But Egnatius, the freedman of Soranus, who 
is also enamoured of Servilia, involves her father and 
Trasea in a conspiracy against Sophonius, the Prefect, 
making Servilia's submission the price of their safety. 
She is surprised by Egnatius at the house of a sooth- 
sayer whom she has come to consult with respect to the 
mysterious disappearance of Valerius, and on being 
importuned, repulses him with indignation. He leaves 
her, with the object of providing her with an oppor- 
tunity for reflection, and she attempts flight, but is 
unable to obtain egress. She then invokes the aid of 
the Christian God whom she vows in future to wor- 
ship. In the last act the conspirators are called before 


the Iribuniil. Trasea and Soranus are sentenced to 
banishment and Serviha is to be handed to Egnatius 
on payment of a ransom. Just as the judgment is 
deUvered Valerius returns and in Nero's name breaks 
up the tribunal. Servilia announces in dismay that, 
presuming' \^alerius's death, she has renounced all 
earthly joys. The opera ends with the death of Ser- 
\ilia, Valerius's attempted suicide, frustrated by 
Trasea, and a general acclamation of the Christian 

Apart from the resemblance to " Mozart and Salieri " 
arising from its declamatory tendency, "Servilia" has 
little in common with the earlier work. It has a large 
cast, the scheme of which permits, however, of the 
''doubling" of parts, numerous auxiliary characters, a 
chorus, and the inclusion of some dances such as that 
of warriors celebrating Minerva's victory over the 
Titans in Act I and the dance of Masnads in Act II 
brings it much nearer the category of the conventional 
opera than " Mozart and Salieri." While commending 
the use of modal themes, when referring to the religious 
interest, one is obliged to take exception to certain in- 
congruities in the score, notably the music of the scene 
between Egnatius and Servilia in the house of Locusta 
the soothsayer. 

In the spinning-song at the opening of Act II the 
composer becomes quite Mendelssohnian, and the 
naivete of the passage in which Servilia avows her 
love for Valerius belongs neither to the century it is 
intended to depict nor to that in which it was written. 
Where heroic and barbaric colouring are needed suc- 
cess is achieved. There is some chromaticism which 
suggests the influence of Wagner which may else- 


where be traced in Rimsky-Korsakoff' s later work, but 
the employment of leitmotiv is by no means overdone. 
"Servilia," which is in five acts, was produced at the 
Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, on November i, 
1902, and two years later was mounted at the Moscow 
Private Theatre, which had now emerged from some 
financial difficulties. The opera was not well received. 
This is attributable, according to Cheshikin, to the 
deficiencies of the libretto rather than to musical weak- 
ness. He takes exception to the over-hasty assump- 
tion of the veil, announced by Servilia at the moment 
of her lover's return, and he complains that as her 
mental conflict during the process of conversion is not 
revealed to the audience its result places too great a 
strain upon the imagination. 

The Wagnerian influence already noticeable in " Ser- 
vilia" becomes reallv conspicuous in Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff's next opera, " Kostchei the Immortal " — finished 
in 1902 — in which, to quote Cheshikin, the composer 
"turns suddenly from Dargomijsky to Wagner.' 
While remaining faithful to the declamatory method 
and employing it with a marked increase of power, 
Rimsky-Korsakoff now began somewhat to overload 
his score with harmonic complexities. But notwith- 
standing its stylistic modifications " Kostchei " is in 
the same class as far as concerns subject — which is again 
derived from folk-lore — with "Sadko" and "Tsar 
Saltan." Its plan, the work of E. M, Petrovsky, does 
not confine itself to one particular story, but embraces 
material from a variety of tales in which the mon- 
strous figure of Kostchei appears. We have already 
made the acquaintance of this fearsome object in the 
Triglav scene of "Mlada," and he is one of the chief 


characters in Stravinsky's ballet, "The Firebird." 
"Kostchei," says Ralston in his "Russian Folk-Tales," 
"is merely one of the many incarnations of the dark 
spirit . sometimes he is described as altogether 

serpent-like in form ; sometimes he seems to be of a 
mixed nature, partly human and partly ophidian, but 
in some stories he is apparently framed after the 
fashion of a man . . he is called 'immortal' or 
'deathless' because of his superiority to the ordinary 
laws of existence .... sometimes his 'death' — that is, 
the object with which his life is indissolubly connected 
- — does not exist within his body." In "Mlada" he is 
described as the " Man-Skeleton " which appears to 
support the contention that the name is derived from 
the Russian word "Kost," a bone. The opera is in 
three tableaux. The iirst depicts "Autumn in the 
Kingdom of Kostchei." The "inexhaustibly beautiful 
Tsarevna (another frequent figure in Russian folk- 
lore) is held captive by Kostchei and bewails her separ- 
ation from Ivan Korolevich, her lover. Kostchei is in 
doubt as to the whereabouts of his "death" and in- 
quires of Bouria Bogatyr, a benevolent hero, as to its 
exact situation. He is informed that it lies in the tears 
of Kostcheievna, his daughter. In the second tableau, 
Kostcheievna, emerging from her palace with a flower 
vase in her hand, announces that the one seeking Kost- 
chei's death must drink of the water in the vase. 
Tsarevna's lover, Ivan Korolevich, of whom Kost- 
cheievna is also enamoured, now enters and drinks at 
her bidding; in consequence he loses all memory of 
his betrothed. On being kissed by Kostcheievna he 
swoons, but just as she is about to kill him with her 
sword, Bouria Bogatyr returns and awakes Ivan with 


his song. The latter then learns that his sweetheart 
is thinking of him and he flies away on a magic car- 
pet. In the third tableau, in which there is a return 
to the first scene, Ivan Korolevich rejoins Tsarevna 
and they prepare to leave the kingdom of Kostchei, 
but Kostcheievna intervenes and tries to secure the affec- 
tions of Ivan, promising Tsarevna's freedom as a con- 
dition of his capitulation. The terrible Kostchei, 
aroused by the discussion, questions his daughter as to 
whether she has his " death " in safe keeping. He gets 
an unlooked-for reply. Tsarevna, overcome by pity, 
kisses the forehead of the disappointed woman. Kost- 
cheievna bursts into tears and is transformed into a 
weeping willow. Kostchei is killed by this exposure 
of his "'death," his kingdom collapses and Eouria 
Eogatyr opens the gate and releases the lovers. 

An examination of the work as a whole drives one 
to the opinion that it is the subject rather than the 
music which is typical of Rimsky-Korsakoff as poet ; 
and as poet the composer does not belong to the glori- 
fiers of beauty unadorned by purpose. Objective as 
his attitude invariably was, he did not entirely ex- 
clude philosophy from the narration of such a tale as 
" Kostchei," and the libretto is permeated by a sym- 
bolism which is very beautiful and not altogether de- 
void of subtlety. As for the music, it is hardly on 
the same plane and does not seem to be couched in 
suitable terms. The characterisation of Kostchei is 
successful because in this case the Wagnerian manner 
is not an incongruity ; the passage which accompanies 
the location of Kostchei's " death,'' in the first tableau, 
may be quoted as an instance. But generally speak- 
ing, the harmonisation is too harsh to form a fitting 


musical commentary for a fairy-tale of which the mes- 
sage is one of hops and not of pessimism. Even in 
a more or less Ij'rical moment, such as Tsarevna's 
slumber-song in the final tableau, where there is a cer- 
tain melodic lightness of heart, the harmonisation gives 
no hint of coming freedom. 

On the production of the opera in October, 1902, at 
the Moscow Private Theatre, it was received with great 
warmth by certain critics, notably by lastrebtzeff, who, 
in a long and elaborate eulogy, dwells upon the en- 
chanting quality of the music, and classing " Kostchei " 
with " Snegourochka," the "Triglav" act of "Mlada,' 
"Sadko" and "Tsar Saltan," concludes by placing it 
among the perfect specimens of musical art. 

After " Kostchei " Rimsky-Korsakoff made another 
modification in style, adopting once more a melo-decla- 
matory method. This appears to have been rendered 
imperative by the nature of the subject. " Pan Voy- 
voda" (libretto by Tumeneff) deals with Polish life in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is dedi- 
cated to the memory of Chopin and one does not have 
to proceed far in an examination of the work to per- 
ceive that Korsakoff has paid a solid tribute to the 
Polish composer. "Pan Voyevoda" employs several 
of the Polish dance rhythms, but Rimsky-Korsakoff 
had evidently made up his mind not to tolerate the 
division of such pieces. The orchestral introductions 
are quite short, and even that of the third act — a 
mazurka — is not only quite brief but is dove-tailed 
into the scene which it precedes. It will thus be seen 
that in " Pan Voyevoda " the composer was aiming 
once more at legitimacy of construction and simplicity 
of matter. The "plot" is as follows: 

"pAn voyevoda.'' 225 

The 6rst scene shows us a mill in the forest — the 
trysting place of Boleslav Chaplinsky and Maria Os- 
kolskaya, both of noble birth. The lovers are inter- 
rupted by the arrival of the marshal who is to make 
suitable preparations at the clearing by the mill, the 
halting place of Pan Voyevoda's hunting-party. Maria 
confides to her lover, as they leave the spot, that she 
once met Pan Voyevoda but that he appeared too much 
embarrassed to return her salutation. In reality, it 
transpires. Pan Voyevoda has been smitten by Maria's 
charm and when his sweetheart, Yadviga Zapolskaya, 
learns of this she angrily orders a resumption of the 
hunt. Presently Maria and Chaplinsky return and 
find Pan Voyevoda alone. Thinking that Maria has 
come to surrender herself to him, he attempts to em- 
brace her, but is prevented by Chaplinsky, who ex- 
plains that he is Maria's accepted lover. Pan Voye- 
voda at first ignores him, but fearing his menacing 
attitude, calls the hunt to his assistance. Chaplinsky 
offers resistance but is wounded and captured. Maria 
swoons. Pan Voyevoda introduces her as his future 
bride and invites the hunt to his wedding, much to the 
dismay and astonishment of Yadviga. 

The second act brings us to the door of a little hut 
where dwells Doroscha, a sorcerer, whom Yadviga has 
come to consult. Doroscha brings a bowl of water and 
Yadviga, gazing into it, sees a vision of Pan Voye- 
voda's wedding with Maria. Frenzied with jealousy 
and bent on revenge she prevails upon Doroscha to 
give her some poison. An offer of help from Olesnet- 
ski, a young neighbour, who is in love with her and has 
overheard part of the conversation, somewhat unnerves 


2jG a short history of RUSSIAN MUSIC. 

Yadviga, but she quickly regains her self-possession 
and feigning an affection for him, binds him to 
secrecy. They hear footsteps and hide. Chaplinsky 
enters with his friend, Pavlavski. The former is try- 
ing to regain the freedom of Maria, who, he hears, has 
been terrified into submission. With the aid of his 
friends he decides to fall upon Pan Voyevoda on the 
wedding day. 

Act III opens with the wedding feast at Voyevoda's 
house. Having toasted the bride and bridegroom the 
guests go out into the garden. Yadviga enters but is 
interrupted at the moment when she is about to put the 
poison in Maria's glass. On the return of the party, 
Yadviga betrays Chaplinsky's plan, and on the latter's 
entrance, he finds Pan Voyevoda prepared. 

In the last act the scene remains unchanged. Voye- 
voda effects Chaplinsky's capture, and infuriated by 
Maria's pleadings, proposes to kill him. Yadviga now 
persuades Olesnetski to introduce the poison into 
Maria's glass but seeing Voyevoda embrace Yadviga, 
to whom he is trying to make amends for his fickleness 
to her, Olesnetski changes his plans, and when Maria 
and Voyevoda drink, it is the latter who dies. 

"Pan Voyevoda" contains many charming numbers. 
The chorus of women, the comic slumber song (Maria 
and chorus), a pi-etty vocal mazurka and an orchestral 
Krakoviak in the first act, an instrumental intermezzo 
("Nocturne") which has a certain Chopinesque char- 
acter; in the second, the opening mazurka, already re- 
ferred to ; in the third, the polacca, the swan song, to 
the accompaniment of Maria's lute, and the Kozachok, 
with which the act concludes, are all well worthy of 


This work, which was composed during 1902-3, was 
produced at Prince Tsereteh's Private Theatre, St. 
Petersburg, in October, 1904, and in Moscow at the 
Great Theatre twelve months later. 

"The Tale of the Invisible City of Kitej and the 
Maiden Fevronia," Rimsky-Kors.ikoff's last opera but 
one, has for its subject a religio-mystic legend which 
contains features recalling some of the stories from 
which certain of his earlier works are derived. The 
element of the allegorical to be found in " Snegou- 
rochka " and " Kostchei," the super-naturalistic pheno- 
mena of "Czar Saltan" and the religious teachings of 
" Servillia," each has its counterpart in the literary 
material of " Kitej." As to the significance of the 
work in relation to the aesthetic development of its 
composer, this may be determined more or less by refer- 
ence to its resemblance, in virtue of its spiritual mes- 
sage, to "Parsifal." The operatic style of "Kitej" is 
on the whole lyrical or melodic, with occasional lapses 
into melo-declamation. It is in four acts and six tad- 
lediix and the libretto is by Bielsky. 

In the first act, which takes place in a forest near 
Little Kitej, the Maiden Fevronia offers a thanksgiv- 
ing to nature and calls around her many representa- 
tives of the animal world. While surrounded by them 
she is surprised by Prince Vsevolod, the son of the ruler 
of Kitej, who, overcome by her beauty, proposes an ex- 
change of rings. During the love scene which follows, 
a number of soldiers enter the wood and they inquire 
from Fevronia as to the whereabouts of the prince who 
has just left her side. In return she asks the prince's 
name and learns his origin with the greatest 


A public place in Little Kitej is the scene of the 
second act, in the early part of which a minstrel sings, 
to the accompaniment of his gitslee, relating that he 
has seen the Virgin walking on the walls of Kitej and 
proclaiming a prophecy to the effect that ruin threatens 
tlie city. The citizens, after the first shock, are disin- 
clined to attach importance to the story, but at the 
moment when the nuptial procession of Fevronia and 
the young prince, now affianced, is about to begin, the 
Tartars arrive on the scene and, having obtained the 
aid of Grischka Kuternia — a drunken rascal who con- 
sents to act as their guide — they seize Fevronia and 
proceed on their way to attack Kitej. Fevronia prays 
that the city may be rendered invisible. 

The third act is in two tableaux. The first shows an 
open place in front of the cathedral of Great Kitej. 
News is brought that the Tartars are advancing, and a 
boy is sent to the loftiest point of the cathedral to 
ascertain whether there are an)' signs of divine inter- 
ference, lie reports at first that the Tartars are in 
sight and that the city is in flames, but when the people 
invoke the Virgin they hear from the boy that a 
white veil is descending over the site of Kitej. They 
go out to meet the enemy. The second tableau pic- 
tures the lake on which the city stands. The Tartars 
are informed by their traitor-guide that Kitej is en- 
veloped in a thick mist. Supposing Grischka to have 
betrayed them, the invaders bind him to a tree and 
encamp themselves for the night. Two of the chief- 
tains brawl over the question of possessing Fevronia 
and one of them is killed. Whilst the Tartars are 
asleep Fevronia severs Grischka's bonds and they set 
off together. The Tartars, on awakening, see the re- 

"KITEJ." 229 

flection of Kitej on the lake's surface, but the city 
itself is invisible. 

Act IV is again in two tableaux. The fugitives are 
seen in the forest. Grischka sneers at Fevronia's 
fatigue and she prays that he may be endowed with 
the attribute of sympathy. Grischka, regretting his 
ignorance of the form of worship demanded by Fev- 
ronia's deity, addresses himself to Earth, but on per- 
ceiving a Satanic figure, takes to flight. Fevronia then 
stretches herself on the ground. The trees are illum- 
inated and gold and silver flowers spring up around 
her. The voice of Alkonost, a bird of Paradise, is 
heard proclaiming that those to whom he sings die. 
Fevronia answers that she fears not death, and sees a 
vision of her betrothed come from Paradise to meet 
her. Sirin, a second bird, now sings that he represents 
Joy and that to whom he sings will live everlastingly. 
The Prince offers Fevronia the bread brought with him 
from Paradise and tells her that in eating it she will 
gain unabating happiness. They depart together. The 
second and last scene is that of Kitej transformed into 
Paradise itself, in answer to the prayers of its people. 
The lovers are admitted and prepare for a heavenly 

"Kitej" was composed between 1903 and 1905 and 
produced at the Maryinsky Theatre on February 7, 
1907. A year later it was put into the bill at the Mos- 
cow Great Theatre. 

From the occasional side-lights cast upon the char- 
acter of our subject, the reader may perhaps have 
already gathered that Rimsky-Korsakoff was not the 
sort of mantp brook any kind of injustice without pro- 
test. Reference has been made to the rebuke admin- 


istered to the Imperial Operatic authority. This does 
not appear to have been attended with any disastrous 
consequences. But when, in 1905, Rimsky-Korsakoff 
felt called upon openly to resent the interferences of 
the Imperial Russian Musical Society m the affairs of 
the St. Petersburg Conservatoire en the one hand, and 
on the other the over-strict supervision to which music- 
students were subjected by the police, the worthy pro- 
fessor found himself summarily deprived of his officiil 
position. That he had used his influence to prevent 
the S-udents themselves from demonstrating in favour 
of reform was the subject of misinterpretation, and 
this, instead of being considered as lessening the ori- 
ginal offence, was brought as additional evidence 
against him. 

The matter which for a time assumed a rather grave 
complexion, ended happily, and after he had been 
supported by several colleagues who resigned their 
professorships in a body, by way of protest, the Con- 
servatoire succeeded in cbt.iining a measure of self- 
government, Glazounoff was appointed at its head, and 
Rimsky-Korsakoff was reinstated. 

He was now at work upon his last opera. " The 
Golden Cock " cannot perhaps be considered as an im- 
pressive conclusion to the dramatic labours of its com- 
poser; one would rather have seen in that position such 
earlier and more thoroughly representative works as 
"Czar Saltan," "Sadko" or " Snegourochka." But 
viewed as a satire upon human foibles, as a specimen 
of nationalistic art or as a final chapter in the story of 
his musico-dramatic development, it is a work which 
deserves not merely such attention as may be given it 
in a perusal of its score, but that fuller exposition only 


properly to be secured from stage performance. If in 
"The Golden Cock" we fail to discover the wealth of 
harmonic inspiration which we are accustomed to ex- 
pect from this composer, we shall at least observe both 
that it contains the very essentials of Russian musical 
nationalism and that the firm hand of experience has 
been at work in tracing a steady course and thus over- 
coming the difficult and ever-present problems of con- 
struction. Th^ melo-declamatory method has again 
been resorted to in the solo portions, the formal over- 
ture is dispensed with, the leading-motive has been 
used with a lightness of touch that has contributed 
greatly to its effectiveness, and the comic aspect of the 
story has been translated into the music in a fashion 
avoiding all appearance of undue emphasis. The story 
of "The Golden Cock" is derived from Pushkin, and 
while, as its librettist points out, its subject is such as 
could win favour in any clime and at any period, Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff can be said to have given it a dress which 
is unmistakably Russian. 

The opera is in three acts. The fairy tale is "intro- 
duced" by an astrologer who appears before the cur- 
tain and in a brief preamble assures the audience that 
though fantastic in its style, the fable to be recounted 
has a moral which is sound. A few bars of sombre 
chords prepare the Spectators for the grave happenings 
they are about to witness. King Dodon laments from 
his throne the weightiness of his crown; he is harassed 
by his enemies, who have so little sympathy that at the 
very moment when he is carefully guarding the north- 
ern boundary of his kingdom they show a peculiarly 
irritating perverseness by attacking him from the south. 
He invites suggestions for the strengthening of his 


kingdom's defences. His two sons, Guidon and 
Aphron, respond with two plans totally different but 
equally absurd. The old general, Polkan, infuriated 
at the delight with which Dodon receives these mani- 
festations of genius, enunciates some home-truths in 
regard to the principles of attack and defence, but is 
denounced as a traitor. During the tumult which fol- 
lows there enters the old astrologer who reminds the 
King of the many sage counsels given to his royal 
parent, and offers, as a safeguard against invasion, a 
golden cock who at every appearance of danger will 
crow a warning. The King and his people have but 
to sleep and to put their trust in chanticleer. Dodon 
is overjoyed at this facile solution of all his problems 
and promises a liberal reward. After a plentiful le- 
past he retires to his couch and dreams of a beautiful 
unknown. Rudely awakened by the watch-bird, he 
dispatches his army, in charge of his two sons, to meet 
the enemy, rearranges his pillows and sinks once more 
into slumber. Hardly is he again in the company of 
the lady of his dream when the cock renews his warn- 
ing and Polkan announces that things are going very 
badly. Dodon resolves therefore to accompany his 
general to the front. 

In the second act they discover their army to have 
been defeated and find that the two princes are among 
the fallen. At dawn they perceive a tent, evidently 
belonging to the enemy. They decide to attack the 
tent in force and train a cannon upon it. Polkan gives 
the word to fire but at that moment the curtain of the 
tent is drawn aside and a beautiful and queenly figure 
emerges (to the music of Dodon's dream). The scene 
in the tent where Dodon gradually succumbs to the 


, charms of the Queen Chemakhansky, who, after exer- 
cising all her powers of seduction, prevails upon the 
old man to sing and even to dance, and finally obtains 
the honour of a royal proposal of marriage, is accom- 
panied by music which is doubly characteristic of Rim- 
sky-ICorsakoff because it reflects so well the satirical 
humour of the dramatic situation and because the op- 
portunity offered by the Oriental colouring of the scene 
is, as one would suppose, firmly seized by the composer 
with both hands. The ICing's song, described by the 
enchantress as burning with the flame of love, is cruder 
and more grotesque than that of Beckmesser, while the 
languorous strain of the erstwhile dream-music is now 
metamorphosed to suggest the charmer's mocking. 

In the third act Dodon having returned home with 
his bride, is reminded of his promised reward by the 
astrologer, who claims nothing less than the person of 
the Queen herself. Dodon, infuriated at this imper- 
tinence, slays the old man, but is not permitted long 
to survive him, being laid low by the cock with one 
swift stroke of its beak. There is a chorus of terror 
from the citizens and darkness falls upon the scene. 
When light returns neither the Queen nor the cock are 
to be seen. After the curtain's fall the astrologer 
comes forward and assures the audience that in this 
sanguinary conclusion there is really no cause for con- 
sternation, explaining that the only mortal figures in 
the drama are himself and the Queen. 

"The Golden Cock" was censored during the inter- 
val between its composition and its composer's death, 
and it was not until May, 1910, that it was produced 
at Zimin's Private Theatre in Moscow. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff died somewhat unexpectedly of 


angina pectoris on June 8, 1908, and it is supposed 
that his chagrin at the fate of his last opera was con- 
tributory to the suddenness of his demise. Several 
posthumous works were found, among which were his 
edition of Moussorgsky's abortive opera, "Marriage" — 
since publi.shed— and his treatise on orchestration. 

This somewhat lengthy chapter must not be con- 
cluded without a final summary of Rimsky-Korsakoff's 
varied musical activities. First and foremost comes 
his work as a nationalistic propagandist, in which sphere 
he firmly upheld the Glmkist principle that the nation 
must be considered as creators and the composer rather 
as "arranger" of the popular contribution. In this 
capacity Korsakoff must be acclaimed as the most ar- 
dently patriotic composer yet seen in Russia. The stu- 
dent of his operas will see that he took a liberal view 
as to what could be considered to constitute true 
nationalism in music and in music-drama. In each of 
them there was an element of the nationalistic ; either 
the subject was drawn from history, from folk-lore — 
and in the latter case his affinity for the Oriental 
helped him the better to illustrate material which itself 
was tinged, by reason of its origin, with Eastern colour 
— or, as in the case of "Mozart and Salieri," he adopted 
a work which was fully recognised as a masterpiece 
from the pen of Russia's greatest poet, and thus 
aroused the interest of the public by means of a new 
light cast by him on an art product already regarded 
as an ornament of the literature of its creator's country. 

Rimsky-Korsakoff was a prolific song-writer and 
published some eighty "melodies" and "romances." 
Examination of these will give a fairly clear insight 
into his talents and limitations as pure music-maker. 


In " The Nymph," Op. 56, for instance, we find a melody 
sufficiently lacking in lyrical grace to suggest that it 
might have been an essiy in Dargomijskian declama- 
tion, whereas when, as in his setting of Maikoff's 
" Melody from the Ganges " or in that of the same 
poet's "Song of the Orient," he hears the call of the 
East, the composer appears always at his very best. 
When, as in such specimens as " Night," he attempts 
the actual creation of a lyric, he is far from reaching 
the heights attained in "The Rose Enslaves the Night- 
ingale," one of his earliest and choicest vocal com- 

To the choral repertory he made several notable con- 
tributions. One of these, "The Doom of Oleg," for 
tenor and bass, male choir and orchestra, was given 
at the Newcastle-on-Tyne Festival in 1909. Special 
mention may be made of the fifteen folk-songs for 
mixed chorus, Op. 19, and the "Gloria," Op. 21, for 
chorus and orchestra, and it is of interest to note that 
his last numbered work was the " Doubinouchka," for 
chorus and orchestra, Op. 62. 

Both as composer and teacher he has played a large 
part in the advancement of the art of orchestration, 
and his pedagogic labours are best eulogised by an 
enumeration of his many eminent pupils, among whom 
may be counted Glazounoff, Liadoff, Arensky, Ippoli- 
toff-Ivanoff, Grechaninoff, Wihtol, Tcherepnin, Taneieff 
and Stravinsky. By no means his least achievement 
was that course of study which enabled him to prove 
to those who levelled the reproach of amateurishness 
at the " Koutchkisti " that the nationalistic feeling in 
music was not necessarily dissipated by a knowledge 
of the approved principles of musical theory. It has 


been said that Rimsky-Korsakoff must verily have been 
created for the National Epos in Russian music. In 
him we see the Russian who, though not by any means 
satisfied with Russia as he finds it, does not set him- 
self to hurl a series of passionate but ineffective indict- 
ments against things as they are, but who raises an 
ideal and does his utmost to show how best that ideal 
may be attained. He has been compared with his 
own Fevronia from "Kitej," seeking inspiration from 
Nature. His personality appears to have been reflected 
by his choice of subject in his operatic works, in which 
we find him so frequently glorifying the virtue of ima- 
gination, so plainly voicing that belief in the " fairies " 
which has been the theme of more than one of our 
modern British dramatists. 



BV those at all acquainted with the sociological his- 
tory of Russia it will readily be believed that 
once the immediate influence of Rimsky-Korsakoff 
was removed, the star of Nationalism began to 
wane. One of the remarkable phenomena to be noticed 
as belonging to a nation whose character consists of 
some quite baffling contradictory traits, is that while 
the government pursues a course of consistently equi- 
vocal behaviour towards the social modifications ap- 
proved by Western nations, Russian society is ever 
ready to adopt the most modern occidental views in the 
domain of the arts. The Slav element in the Russian, 
stultifying his loudest and most chauvinistic profes- 
sions, renders him an eclectic in spite of himself. 

It would be natural to suppose, when remembering 
the names of Rimsky-Korsakoff's most successful 
pupils — mentioned in the last chapter — that the trans- 
figured master would gaze down from Kitej in con- 
fident and beatific expectation of seeing his national- 
istic message spread through musical Russia by an 



enthusiastic band of apostles. The fact is, however, 
thit the strongest trace of his influence is to be found 
in the sphere of orchestral technique ; the nationalistic 
ideal is no longer reverenced as once it was, and the 
search for a perfect operatic style has been abandoned 
for the reason that the second generation has had very 
little regard for opera as an art-form and the third 
even less. 

The names of those pupils and friends whom Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff probably regarded as a potential apos- 
tolic progeny are Glazounoff, Liadoff, Liapounoff and 
Arensky. Of these it must be said that though each 
has contributed in a varying degree to the furtherance 
of the nationalistic programme, each has in his own 
way succumbed to cosmopolitan influences. Glazounoff, 
in early life a disciple of Balakireff, has gradually 
modified his style until at the present moment he can 
hardly be said to fulfil the function, not long since 
credited to him, of successfully uniting the principles 
of Nationalism with those of Western tradition. Lia- 
doff and Liapounoff come within one category, in that 
both were employed by the Commission appointed in 
1893 by the Imperial Geographical Society to make 
researches in folk-song, and the fruit of their labours 
was subsequently published. They may also be 
grouped together by virtue of their predilection for 
the piano. Liapounoff's pianistic compositions are 
perhaps to be regarded as carrying on the tradition 
of Balakireff, and as having, here and there, something 
peculiarly Russian in their flavour; but Liadoff, 
although removed (unlike Liapounoff, who studied in 
Moscow) from the influence of the Westernising group, 
shows a strong inclination to roam abroad, now to 


Poland, now to Germany, in search of the traditional 
pianistic style. The remaining one of the four com- 
posers mentioned was outlived by his master. Arensky 
is to be looked upon as a close follower of Tchaikov- 
sky, whom he resembles in certain qualities and de- 
fects. He has employed folk-tunes but in a fashion 
remote from the teachings of the Koutchkisti. As 
with most music in the composition of which prettiness 
would appear to have been the principal aim, Arensky's 
output is rapidly losing the favour which it has un- 
doubtedly enjoyed. 

Alexander Constantinovich Glazounoff was born at 
.St. Petersburg on August 10, 1865. His father was a 
member of a well-known and old-established firm of 
booksellers and publishers, and was given, as its repre- 
sentative, in 1882, the rank of nobility. His mother 
was a talented pupil of Balakireff. He therefore en- 
joyed, from the first, the advantage of a sound literary 
and musical environment. His first musical training 
was received at the hands of a lady pupil of Kontsky, 
Kholodkoff by name, but when twelve years of age he 
was placed with Elenkovsky, who supplemented the 
piano lessons with some theoretical instruction and 
frequent perusals of the symphonic and chamber clas- 
sics. Musically precocious, he assimilated the rudi- 
ments with extreme rapidity. It seems curious that the 
opportunity of listening to a symphony orchestra 
should have been denied the youth until fourteen years 
of age, but not at all strange that on repeating the 
experience he should have begun at once to feel the 
desire to compose a symphonic work. In 1880 he was 
fortunate enough to secure the advice of Balakireff, 
who persuaded him that his principal need for the 


moment was a wide general knowledge and a close 
study of the musical classics. He went accordingly 
to Rimsky-Korsakoff, and, making phenomenal pro- 
gress, was soon able to give convincing proof of his 
talent for composition. Two years after his meeting 
with the Nestor of the Koutchka, and while still a 
school-boy, he was honoured by the performance of 
his first symphony at a Free School concert, under 
Balakireff's conductorship. This work was later to 
secure for him the strong sympathy of Liszt. 

In 1883 he left school, passed into the University, 
and joined its orchestra with the object of familiaris- 
ing himself with the symphonic manner. Having now 
established his claim to a musical individuality, he 
determined to strengthen his position and his self-con- 
fidence by setting to work on a variety of composi- 
tions. In rapid succession came a string quartet in D 
which incurred some rather faint praise from Tchai- 
kovsky, who though "pleasantly surprised," was an- 
noyed by the "imitations of Rimsky-Korsakoff," a 
pianoforte suite on a theme based on S.A.S.C.H.A., the 
diminutive of his own name, Alexander, and an over- 
ture on Greek themes which earned for him the regard 
of Anton Rubinstein, who conducted a performance. 
This work. Op. 3, and a subsequent overture, both 
written between 1881 and 1885, were based upon 
themes appearing in the well-known collection of Greek 
and Oriental popular melodies published in 1876 by 
L. A. Bourgault-Ducoudray. About this time Glaz- 
ounoff was fortunate enough to attract the notice of 
Belaieff, who took a very considerable interest in the 
young composer and undertook the publication of his 
works. This circumstance, together with the favour- 


able opinion of Liszt, who conducted the first sym- 
phony at Weimar in 1884, resulted in an early popu- 
larisation of Glazounoff's output in Western Europe. 
With such an j^uspicious beginning it is not strange 
that his career should have been free from the set-backs 
and disappointments usually associated with the lives 
of composers of true merit. Continuing to devote him- 
self to instrumental music he found himself quickly 
recognised at the great European musical centres. 

In 1886 he finished his second symphony, which he 
dedicated to Liszt, and it was performed in the same 
year. In this work the influence of the Hungarian 
master may easily be traced; there is, for instance, the 
cyclic employment of a principal theme which appears 
in each of the four movements ; that the composer was 
at this time in sympathy with nationalistic ideals is 
shown both by its modal treatment and its Oriental 
harmonisation. A commemorative march prepared in 
anticipation of his parents' silver wedding in the fol- 
lowing year belongs also to 1888. 

In 1889 he conducted some of his own works at a 
concert devoted to Russian composers at the Paris Ex- 
hibition and received, together with an expression of 
goodwill from Tchaikovsky, a notification that the 
Moscow master had recommended a new symphonic 
work for performance in Berlin. This was the "poem," 
"Stenka Razin," Op. 13, based on a story of the Cos- 
sack raider of that name, whose revolt against the Czar 
Alexis (son of the first Romanoff) ended in his capture 
and execution in 1672, the date of Peter the Great's 
birth. Stenka Razin is the hero of many national 
ballads. The substance of Glazounoff's "plot" relates 
to his last exploit, and after recounting the ill-omened 


dream of the captive Persian princess (his mistress) 
who foretells his capture by the Czars troops — a 
prophecy immediately fulfilled — proceeds to tell us how 
Stenka suddenly remembers his indebtedness to the 
Volga — the scene of many a victory — and offers the 
person of his beautiful princess, his most precious pos- 
session, as a sacrifice to the river. This work which is 
built upon three themes associated respectively with 
the pirate, the princess and the sailors (the latter 
figures as a hauliers' song in Balakireff's collection) 
may be regarded as typical of Glazounoff's first period 
in which he was attracted by picturesque and imagina- 
tive subjects, and hardly at all foreshadowing his later 
style, his sympathy with classical methods of composi- 
tion, and his admiration of Brahms. 

Several other works of a programmatic nature came, 
however, from his pen before this emancipation was 
complete, among them the orchestral fantasias, "The 
Forest " and " The Sea," the symphonic sketch, " A 
Slavonic Festival," an "Oriental Rhapsody" in three 
parts and a symphonic tableau, "The Kremlin." But 
it was in a much later work that Glazounoff reached 
the zenith of his power of expressing emotions derived 
from the contemplation of the deeds of epic heroes. In 
his "Raymonda" ballet the composer shows an inclina- 
tion to realise the picturesque aspect of mediaeval times 
which later was given full play in his suite, "The 
Middle Ages." Its "programme" is as follows. 
During the absence of the Crusader Jean de Brienne, 
Raymond's betrothed, she is importuned by the Sara- 
cen Abdourahman. Undismayed by her indifference 
to his proposal, his wealth and the magnificence of his 
retinue, he plans her abduction. In this he is thwarted 


by the return of de Brienne who challenges him to a 
duel, slays him and marries Raymonda. 

In such works as this Glazounoff may be considered 
to figure as a notable successor to his precursors Boro- 
din and Rimsky-Korsakoff. It will be observed that, 
while satisfying the demands of those who exact a 
procedure pertaining to the nationalistic school in a 
Russian composer's work, he has succeeded in appeal- 
ing to occidental tastes with a class of composition 
that neither violates the formalistic traditions of classic 
music nor necessitates, for its proper appreciation, an 
acquaintance with the Slavonic and oriental idea and 

Thus, since his first foreign appearance in Paris, he 
has found a ready acceptance in European countries. 
His fourth symphony (again in cyclic form) was pro- 
duced by the London Philharmonic Society in 1897 
and his fifth by Sir Plenry (then Mr.) Wood in the 
same year. For the Chicago Exhibition of 1895 he 
composed a triumphal march with chorus. In 1903 his 
seventh symphony was performed at the Royal College 
of Music and three years later he received an honorary 
degree from Cambridge University. He has conducted 
concerts of Russian music in Hamburg, Ostend and 

Glazounoff's development into a devotee of "pure" 
music has been gradual. Since the time when in " The 
Forest" he seemed inclined towards a style which led 
to his being hailed as a lineal descendant of the com- 
poser of "Russian and Ludmilla" he has little by 
little drawn himself away from the practice of dedica- 
ting his music to the expression of graphic and sugges- 
tive ideas. From Rimsky-Korsakoff he derived a 


magnificent technique which he now employs for a 
purpose ahnost wholly foreign to his teacher's- concep- 
tion of the proper sphere of music. While Rimsky- 
Korsakoff sought to enlarge his technique in order the 
better to express his adoration of nature, and further 
to heighten his power of using the colours on his 
descriptive palette, Glazounoff has exploited his musi- 
cal technique to an entirely different end. The beauty 
of his music is to be sought in his themes, which are not 
necessarily related to a poetic idea (and which, it 
must be said, have lately shown too strong a resem- 
blance one to the other) and the artistic worthiness of 
their metamorphosis. 

Since the period of the fifth symphony (1895), the 
sixth (1896) and "Raymonda" (finished 1897) he 
seems, while retaining a taste for "programme" and 
romanticism to have renounced the deliberately depic- 
tive manner and even the "Middle Ages" suite (1902) 
does no more than give a general and not at all a par- 
ticular interpretation of the subject. The violin con- 
certo (1904), though it eschews formalistic severity is 
classical as to thematic material, development and 
harmonisation. In more recent works such as the 
symphonic prologue, "In Memory of Gogol" (1909) 
which opens with a capricious theme exceedingly sug- 
gestive of Straussian influence, the Finnish fantasia 
produced at Helsingfors in November, 1910, the " Kale- 
vala Legend," Op. 89, and the piece d'occasion com- 
posed for the twenty-fifth anniversary Of the Russian 
symphony concerts (November 23, 1909), we find a 
patriotic purpose carried out in a manner which, beyond 
the occasional employment of an indigenous theme — 


when almost imperative — is quite remote from the 
primary traditions of the St. Petersburg school. 

The history of Glazounoff's defection from the 
nationalists might without much difficulty be traced by 
recalling his dedications. Inscribed on his first sym- 
phony, Op. 5, the second overture on Greek themes, 
Op. 6, "Stenka Razin," Op. 13, and the orchestral 
"Idylle and Reverie orientale" are found the names of 
Rimsky-Korsakoff, Balakireff, Borodin and Cui re- 
spectively. Before rendering a like homage to the 
ultra-progressive Moussorgsky, in "The Kremlin," Op. 
30, he dedicated the second symphony, Op. 16, to Liszt 
and "The Sea," Op. 28, to Wagner, paying a tribute at 
about the same time, in his Oriental Rhapsodie, Op. 
29, to Repin, to whom we are indebted for some hne 
portraits of Glinka, the Koutchkisti, and an early one 
of Glazounoff himself. The third symphony, Op. 33, 
is not only dedicated to but is certainly influenced by 
Tchaikovsky, the "Carnival" overture. Op. 45, bears 
the name of Laroche, a critic who, though living in St. 
Petersburg, had very little sympathy with the national- 
ist group and was an ardent advocate of Tchaikovsky 
and conservative principles, the fourth symphony. Op. 
48, celebrates Anton Rubinstein, and the fifth. Op. 55, 
S. I. Taneieff, Tchaikovsky's close friend. The belated 
tribute to Stassoff — the "Cortege Solennel," Op. 50 — 
was composed in honour of the publication of a 
"jubilee" edition of the critic's collected works (in 

A more direct method of noting the change is that 
of reference to Glazounoff's songs. A perusal of the 
two sets of six, Op. 59 and 60, for instance, will not 
bring to light anything even approaching the style of 


the "Oriental Romance" (to Pushkin's text), one of 
the two " Melodies," Op. 27. Such favourite vocal 
compositions as " Desire," " The Nereid " and " Delia," 
\\'hile constituting a shining example of the art of 
song-writing, do not "burn with the ardent flame" of 
the first-quoted work. 

Glazounoff's preoccupation with the orchestra as a 
medium has not prevented him from making a valu- 
able contribution to chamber-music. Besides his five 
numbered quartets he has published a suite of five 
"Novelettes" — a delightful example of an eclecticism 
which has begun, musically speaking, more or less near 
home — a suite of four movements, the last consisting 
of a theme with variations, the Slav quartet, from the 
final movement of which the orchestral "Slavonic Fes- 
tival " (likewise Op. 26) is derived, and two pieces, 
Prelude and Fugue and Courante. There are also his 
essays in collaborative composition : the Christmas 
Carol in the Belaieff birthday quartet (with Liadoff 
and Rimsky-Korsakoff), a Prelude and Fugue and a 
section of the polka in " Les Vendredis" and the 
bracing " Finale " of the quartet on Belaieff's name, in 
which he joins Rimsky-Korsakoff, Liadoff and Borodin 
in celebrating the Russian musical Maecenas. He has 
also published a String Quintet, Op. 39. 

Some of his choral works have been mentioned. The 
joint cantata (with Liadoff) for tenor solo, chorus and 
orchestra, in memory of Antokolsky, the celebrated 
sculptor, one of Glazounoff's latest works, must not pass 
unnoticed, nor must our subject's labours in the scoring 
of much of Borodin's " Prince Igor " and in the editing 
of Glinka's works. 

Glazounoff, as related in the foregoing chapter, was 


elected director of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire 
immediately after the disturbance aroused in 1905 by 
Rimsky-Korsakoff's protest. He still holds this posi- 
tion and is also one of the controllers of the Belaieff 
music publishing concern. 



OF some of V^natol ConstantinovichLiadoff's activi- 
ties we have already learned. As an ally of the 
Koutchka he was responsible for various numbers to 
be found in their joint works: in the "Paraphrases" 
— originating with the "chopsticks" duet (suggested 
by Borodin's protegee) — there are a goodly number of 
variations to which the initials " A. L. " are appended, 
and his name figures four times as composer in the 
succeeding series of little pieces; to the "Belaieff" 
quartet he contributed a scherzo, to the " Birthday " 
pieces the "Glorification"; he wrote a canon for the 
"Variations on a Popular Russian Air" in collabora- 
tion with nine others, and in the "Vendredis" his trio 
(in the polka to which it belongs the first and second 
sections are by Sokoloff and Glazounoff) his mazurka 
and his fugue are by no means the least charming 
numbers in this fascinating collection. It should also 
be mentioned that he assisted in the orchestration of 
the music for the ballet based on Schumann's " Carni- 
val" and of that of Chopin used for "Las Sylphides." 


LlADOFF. 251 

Liadoff was born at St. Petersburg on April 29, 1855. 
His grandfather hid been a musician by calhng and 
his father, conductor at the St. Petersburg Imperial 
Opera, was that Constantine Liadoff who in the early 
sixties came to Moussorgsky's assistance, and gave a 
public performance of the ill-fated composer's 
" QLdipus." The uncle was also employed at the Opera 
in the capacity of ballet-conductor. Anatol was thus 
from the first destined for a musical career. After 
receiving some instruction from his father, he entered 
the violin class at the Conservatoire, and showing apti- 
tude for composition, was soon chosen to receive Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff's instruction in orchestration and form, 
studying, the while, harmony, counterpoint and fugue 
with Johansen. In 1877, having finished these courses, 
he wrote, as an exercise, a cantata which was so highly 
esteemed that in the ensuing year, at the age of twenty- 
three, he was appointed to an assistantship in the Con- 
servatoire, where he is now professor of harmony and 
composition. Since 1894 he has been associated first 
with Rimsky-Korsakoff and more recently with 
Glazounoff as assistant-conductor of the Musical 
Society. For a time he held also the professorship of 
theory and of subjects constituting the general pre- 
paration for the career of choirmaster in the Imperial 

His most important subscription to, or espousal of 
the cause of Russian music — apart from his pedagogic 
labours — is undoubtedly those collections of national 
songs which form his Op. 14, 18 and 22 (for children), 
Op. 45 for female voice, and the three volumes, Op. 
48, comprising one hundred and twenty popular airs 
which were collected when in the employ of the Geo- 


graphical Society. As a writer for the orchestra he 
seems to have developed his taste somewhat late in 
life. His polonaise in memory of Pushkin, although 
numbered Op. 49, comes quite early in the list of his 
symphonic works. He has since published (in 1903) 
an exceedingly clever Scherzo, Op. 56, entitled "Eaba 
Yaga," in which he gives a vivid musical presentation 
of one of the many stories of this traditionally fear- 
some old witch, a series of eight orchestral versions of 
Russian popular songs (dedicated to that highly 
imaginative and talented illustrator of folk-stories, 
I. A. Eilibin), a very charming and poetic "legend" 
entitled " The Enchanted Lake," Op. 62, a polonaise for 
the unveiling of a statue to A. Rubinstein, and an 
Amazon's Dance, Op. 65. There is also a suite, "After 
Maeterlinck," which does not appear to have been pub- 
lished. Among his choral works is the " Last Scene 
from Schiller's 'Bride of Messina,'" Op. 28, for mixed 
voices and orchestra. 

In his numerous, piano pieces, while preserving a 
high level of taste, he has contrived to introduce a 
pleasing diversity of styles. The " Arabesques," Op. 
4, and the fourteen " Biroulki," Op. 2 (the title denot- 
ing a Russian version of the parlour game known as 
"Spillikins") are valued items in the repertory of 
many pianists. Although very much addicted to the 
Chopinesque prelude, etude and mazurka he has 
written a certain number of genre pieces such as the 
sketch, " In the Steppe," Op. 23, and a more recent col- 
lection or suite of four pieces, " Grimace," " Gloom," 
" Temptation " and " Reminiscence." 

Serge Mikhailovich Liapounoff is to be regarded as 
a musical grandson of Glinka and — to maintain the 


metaphor — as the heir of Balakireff, with whom for 
many years he was on terms of the closest intimacy. 
From the founder of Russian opera he inherited his 
affinity for lyricism, whilst his association with the 
leader of the Koutchka — begun on his graduation 
from Moscow Conservatoire — strengthened a natural 
affection for national colour in music which probably 
sprang from the circumstance that, like Korsakoff and 
Moussorgsky, he had spent his youthful years in the 
country. Born on November 18, 1859, at Yaroslav, he 
was not a musically precocious child, and did not 
achieve any great distinctions either while at the then 
newly-opened Imperial School of Music at Nijni-Nov- 
gorod, which he entered in his fifteenth year, or at 
Moscow Conservatoire, where he studied the piano and 
composition. Leaving in 1883 and occupying himself 
for two years in teaching and composing, he migrated 
to St. Petersburg, met Ealakireff, and in the same year 
was honoured by a performance, under the latter's 
direction, of his " Concert Overture," later published as 
a "ballad." One of his earliest compositions was a 
" Solemn Overture " on Russian theme. Op. 7, a work 
which voiced his enthusiasm for folk-song, a predilec- 
tion shortly after gratified by his appointment as direc- 
tor of the commission under which Liadoff served. 
Liapounoff himself visited the governments of 
Vologda, Viatka and Kostroma and as an outcome of 
this journey he was able to produce no less than two 
hundred and sixty-five songs, duly published in 1899. 
During this undertaking he was appointed assistant in 
the Imperial Chapel. His orchestral compositions are 
few; they include a symphony. Op. 12, and a sym- 
phonic poem, Op. 37. But he has rendered signal ser- 


vice to such pianists as are capable of undertaking per- 
formance of his brilhant but usually very difficult 
works for that instrument. The Concerto in E flat 
minor, written in 1890, dedicated to Balakireff and 
conducted by him at a Free School concert in the fol- 
lowing year, makes a severe demand upon mechanical 
dexterity, while the " Etudes d'execution transcend- 
ente," Op. 11, of which there are twelve, are, in the 
same sense as the caprices of Paganini, " for artists 
alone." That they are dedicated to Liszt in whose 
memory No. 12, an elegie, was specially written, and 
that the " I^esghinka," No. 10, smacks strongly of Bala- 
kireff in his more heroic moments, is a fairly clear indi- 
cation as to the origins of their composer. Liipounoff 
owes as much to the refining influences of the latter 
as he does to the former's lead in extending the boun- 
daries of piano technique. He has written a number 
of much lighter pieces for the instrument, among 
which may bs cited the "Divertissements," Op. 35. 
Since the "Solemn Overture" he has made a further 
addition to the list of art works inspired by folk-song 
in the rhapsody on Ukranian airs for piano and orches- 
tra. The titles of some of his twelve songs as well as 
their treatment are again indicative of his artistic ten- 
dency ; of them we may cite the "Oriental Romance," 
"On the Steppe" and "On the Banks of the Ganges" 
The composer has acknowledged his indebtedness to 
Balakireff by arranging and editing many of his works. 



WE have lately reached a new epoch in musical criti- 
cism. Following the precedent set up by King 
Saul, critics, until a year or two ago, have never scrupled 
to pronounce a final condemnation of music which by 
reason of its incomprehensibility was not congenial to 
them. Nowadays, however, it is to be observed that 
the critic no longer refuses to profit by the appalling 
errors with which the history of music is punctuated 
and that critical opinion confronted with the music of 
the .future proceeds to the extremity of caution and 
sits upon the fence that formerly served as a missile to 
be hurled at the offending innovator. But the medal 
has another side. One reads surprisingly little of the 
open-armed but mistaken enthusiasm with which cer- 
tain composers of inferior music have been welcomed. 
An occasional reference to Buononcinists and Piccinists 
is the only reminder ever given that much of the music 
that in the past has glittered so brightly has since 
proved to be of much baser metal than the gold it 
seemed to be. 


Among the composers who have been inflicted with a 
posthumous neglect, the more conspicuous owing to the 
unstinted praise lavished upon them during their life- 
time is Arensky. Hailed in this country in 1897 as a 
composer of real strength and feeling and as a "repre- 
sentative of the modern Russian school" he has en- 
joyed a fleeting popularity wliich may be traced to 
certain superficially pleasing elements in such works 
as his piano trio, his quartets, the third orchestral suite 
(originally conceived as a piano duet. Op. 23) and the 
Variations, Op. 54, together with copious piano pieces 
possessing a more or less ephemeral charm, and such 
songs as the ball-room reminiscence. Op. 49, which has 
enjoyed a vogue due presumably to its being sufficiently 
banal to please popular taste and charming enough to 
seduce critical opinion. His three operas are unknown 
in this country. 

Anton Stepanovich Arensky was born at Nijni-Nov- 
gorod on July 31, 1861. As his father, a medical man, 
was a proficient 'cellist and his mother an excellent 
pianist, his talent for music was anticipated in the 
family circle and at its earliest appearance was fostered 
by his parents. As quite a youngster he attended 
Rousseau's music school at St. Petersburg, where he 
studied under Zikke. At the age of eighteen he pro- 
ceeded to the conservatoire and there found himself a 
pupil of Rimsky-Korsakoff and Johansen, gaining, in 
1882, the institution's gold medal for composition. His 
First Symphony, Op. 4, and his Piano Concerto, Op. 2, 
won an immediate hearing and success at St. Peters- 
burg and Moscow, respectively, and before the year 
was out he had been appointed professor of harmony 
and counterpoint at the Moscow Conservatoire. While 

arensky's "mania" for five-four rhythm. 257 

thus employed he came into frequent contact with 
Tchaikovsky, who showed a very warm regard for the 
young composer, often proffering his critical advice. 
In a letter dated 1885, the composer of the Pathetic 
Symphony protests against what he characterises as a 
mania for five-four rhythm which " threatens to become 
a habit with you" and states as his opinion that the 
"otherwise beautiful" basso ostinato from the six 
pieces, Op. 5, should have been written either in three- 
four or six-four. In 1886 Tchaikovsky pleaded ear- 
nestly with Rirasky-Korsakoff on behalf of his former 
pupil and went the length of suggesting the substitu- 
tion of one of Arensky's works in place of his own 
" Romeo " overture in the programme of a forthcoming 
concert. Another letter written in the year following 
contains a rebuke addressed to Arensky for his unfor- 
tunate choice of the subject of "Traviata" as literary 
basis for a symphonic fantasia. "How can an edu- 
cated musician," he asks, " feel any interest in the pro- 
duction of Dumas fils when there are Homer, Shakes- 
peare, Gogol, Pushkin, Dante, Tolstoy, Lermontoff and 
others . " Further, when criticising the music in 
detail, he objects to the superficiality of its charm. 

Tchaikovsky had no reason for complaint 
Arensky's selection of "The Dream on the Volga" as 
the subject of his iirst opera, finished in 1890, seeing 
that it differed only in name from Ostrovsky's "Voye- 
voda" which he had himself cast in operatic form over 
twenty years previously, but which, possibly owing to 
Ostrovsky's own mutilations of his original five-act 
comedy, inspired the composer so little that he ultim- 
ately destroyed the score. "A Dream on the Volga" 
was successfully produced at Moscow in the year of its 



completion. Very little evidence of a sympathy with 
nationalistic aims is forthcoming in Arensky's music as 
a whole, but it is worthy of note that in this opera he 
employed native folk-melody and not without success. 
His fantasia on Russian epic chants, Op. 48 (culled 
from Riabinin, the rhapsodist), for two pianos may here 
appropriately be mentioned. 

Frcm i88g until 1893, Arensky held a position on 
the Synodal Council of Church Music at Moscow. 
During this period he refused the post of director of 
the Tiflis branch of the Russian Musical Society. From 
1894 until 1 90 1 he was conductor of the Moscow Choral 
Society, holding also for a time the directorship of the 
St. Petersburg Imperial Chapel, for which he was re- 
commended by Balakireff. 

His second opera, " Raphael " (in one act) was pro- 
duced at the St. Petersburg Congress of Russian Artists 
in 1894. "The Fountain of Baktchissarai" (on Push- 
kin's poem). Op. 46, for solo voices, chorus and orches- 
tra IS one of his best known works. Succeeding the 
production of his ballet, "A Night in Egypt," came, in 
1899, the second one-act opera entitled " Nal and 
Damayanti " on a subject taken from one of the East 
Indian epics, introducing the matrimonial vicissitudes 
of King Nal, a gambler, who, but for his luck in play- 
ing Androcles to an unfortunate and subsequently 
grateful serpent, would have lost his wife in addition 
to the kingdom already diced away. This story has 
since been used by Bruch in a choral work. Arensky's 
operatic methods are described as a compromise 
between declamation and the melodic. 

One of his last works of importance was the Piano 
Quintet, Op. 51, which suggests Brahmsian influence. 


This, together with the second Quartet in A minor and 
the trio, has enjoyed no slight popularity in this coun- 
try. Notable among his compositions are five works 
for two pianos ; the first was afterwards scored for 
orchestra and introduced in this shape at Queen's Hall 
in 1896 and the third, the "Fantasia on Epic Chants," 
already mentioned, arranged for one solo instrument 
with orchestral accompaniment. Arensky's music as a 
whole shows the influence of Tchaikovsky and Schu- 
mann. Sometimes it seems to hint at an intellectuality 
which certainly cannot be said to obtrude itself; at 
others one is led to believe that with a greater capacity 
for rehning and polishing he might have been success- 
ful in concealing his apparent want of discrimination 
in his selection of material. 

Arensky died, when in the prime of life, at Terioki 
in Finland. 


READERS of this volume who find themselves 
without data as to the life and work of the first- 
named composer will admit, on referring to the 
bibliography of the subject, compiled by the author 
of the article in Grove's "Dictionary," that they have 
little ground for complaint against the present writer's 
determination to abstain from needlessly adding to the 
existing number of biographical records. In this list 
is to be found sufficient material for all practical pur- 

But whereas recent writings and a deal of recent 
criticism have revealed a disinclination to accept Tchai- 
kovsky either as the typical Russian or as the immortal 
master-musician we in England at first supposed him 
to be, we may well devote some space to an inquiry 
as to the nature of his music and also as to its quality. 

Since 1898, when Paris critics, having perused Cesar 
Cui's study of Russian music, began to feel some mis- 
givings in respect of the genuineness of that quality, 
hitherto characterised as Slavonic, by which Tchaikov- 


Tchaikovsky's style. 261 

sky's music was permeated, there has been an ever- 
strengthening conviction that this composer's output is 
not properly to be regarded as truly Russian in spirit. 
To-day we observe that Germany and France have de- 
cided to consider Tchaikovsky's style as hardly at all 
representative of the modern Russian school and that, 
into the bargain, the musical public in those countries 
is so completely tired of his music that it is now very 
little heard. 

In England the effects of an intoxication almost 
without a parallel in the annals of music are taking a 
longer time to evaporate, and by those who have never 
been aware that there was any question of his not being 
a truly typical Russian composer it is still believed 
that what is typically Tchaikovskian is fundamentally 
representative of his Slavonian nationality. As to 
those who are still able to pronounce him a genius of 
the very first water, one may point out that there is 
abundant evidence of a remarkable secession from 
their ranks. 

Regarding Anton Rubinstein, also once called typi- 
cally Russian and reckoned among the great com- 
posers, there seems little need to dwell upon the cir- 
cumstance that both notions have long since been ex- 
ploded. His fame now rests upon the more frail 
foundation of executive skill, which bears the same 
relation to the creative capacity — so far as concerns 
immortality — as do the soon forgotten triumphs of 
the histrion to the printed and indelible record of 
the playwright's merit. 

The controversy that has raged around the work of 
Tchaikovsky is by no means of recent origin. So far, 
however, there seems to be so much difficulty in deter- 


mining not only the precise nature of Nationalism in 
music but its value either to the country of its origin, 
or to the whole cosmopolitan art-world, that we may be 
excused for narrating here the circumstances which 
were responsible for the division of Russian musical 
society into two opposing factions. 

The St. Petersburg Conservatoire was founded by 
Anton Rubinstein in 1861 and he remained its princi- 
pal for live years. In the following year Balakireff 
organised his Free School of Music, now defunct. The 
Conservatoire, at first conservative (in the political 
sense of the term) became gradually but surely pro- 
gressive, and when Rimsky-Korsakoff was appointed 
to a professorship — some ten years after its foundation 
— the thin edge of the nationalistic wedge may be said 
to have been introduced into the professorial attitude 
towards the musical art. 

The Conservatoire in Moscow, founded by Nicholas 
Rubinstein in 1864, did not undergo the same emanci- 
pation. Its ideal was entirely opposed to that of 
Nationalism and consisted in a desire to build up a 
Russian school of composition by means of employ- 
ing Western tradition as substance and relying upon a 
virtually non-existent native manner as architecture. 

In 1865, Seroff, desirous of enjoying the triumphant 
success of his opera, " Rogneda," produced in St. 
Petersburg, declined the professorship offered him at 
Moscow — a city associated by him with the failure of 
his earlier work, "Judith" — and the post was offered 
to Tchaikovsky, who accepted it and for a time lived 
under the roof of its principal. 

From this event the battle between Nationalism and 
Eclecticism or Universalism, between the Oriental and 


Occidental parties in Russian musical circles may be 
said to date. Round about the opposing camps clus- 
tered a body of scribes who may almost be credited 
with having kindled the flame, but who at any. rate 
fanned it with unabating vigour. 

In St. Petersburg the pens of Cui and Stassoff were 
at the disposal of the Nationalists. Later on they had 
to reckon with Famintsin, who, after two years in Leip- 
zig, returned to the capital bringing with him a vener- 
ation for tradition such as only a course of study in 
the German home of musical orthodoxy can engender. 

Laroche, one of the first to appreciate the merit of 
Tchaikovsky, also joined the anti-nationalist force on 
leaving Moscow for St. Petersburg, and his criticisms 
of the Koutchkisti are by no means the least virulent, 
although Seroff ran him pretty close. 

In the Muscovite capital the interests of the Nation- 
alists were looked after by Krouglikoff, who so 
zealously emulated the most ardent advocate of the 
"Band" as to earn the style and title of "The Moscow 

Moussorgsky's scena, " The Peepshow," gives an effec- 
tive bird's-eye view of the conflict. As may be remem- 
bered, it gives a hint of the law-suit lost by Famintsin 
to Stassoff. Cui, we are aware, could give a blow 
rather better than take one. This is the treatment 
meted out to Anton Rubinstein. " It would be a seri- 
ous error to consider Rubinstein as a Russian com- 
poser ; he is merely a Russian who composes ; his music 
is allied rather with that of Germany, and even when 
he utilises Russian themes the nature and spirit of 
Nationalism are always absent." Rubinstein, hailed 
the world over as a typical Russian, was naturally by 


no means disposed to allow such pronouncements to 
pass unnoticed. But to judge by his opinion, voiced 
some time after the fight was at its fiercest, he did not 
lose his head when dealing with the merits and defects 
of his adversaries. "Our young Russian school," he 
wrote, "is, so far as concerns its orchestral music, the 
outcome of the influence of Berlioz and Liszt; when 
considering its works for the piano one must add to 
these the names of Schumann and Chopin. Super-im- 
posed one observes a certain deliberate nationalistic 
manner. Its productions reveal a complete grasp of 
technique and a masterly handling of colour but, at 
the same time, as complete an absence of form and de- 
sign. Glinka, who wrote a few pieces for orchestra 
based on national songs and dances, still serves as 
model to these young Russian composers, who continue 
to confine themselves largely to popular and national 
themes, exposing thereby their poverty of invention, a 
lack which they attempt to conceal under the cloak of 
'nationalism' or by using the description of 'new 
school.'" Continuing, he admits the possibility of 
some future re-birth of music — a national style begotten 
by parent national themes — and pays a tribute to the 
undeniable talent of certain members of the new Rus- 
sian school. 

From even so slight an account as the above record 
of main and contributory events, it may easily be 
gathered that, but for the ferocious wielding of the 
" mightier " weapon, there would have been nothing ap- 
proaching the bitterness that has prevailed in the con- 
duct of this controversy. It seems safe, for instance, 
to assume that Tchaikovsky was led into the harsh 
criticisms he levelled at the heads of the nationalistic 


circle — with whom, generally speaking, he was on ex- 
ceedingly good terms — more by reason of a reflected 
antagonism to the views attributed to the new school 
than by any personal antipathy. One has only to 
peruse the letters written by him to Balakireff and 
Rimsky-Korsakoff, and his records of meetings with 
them, to perceive a marked difference between his be- 
haviour towards them and his demeanour when an ex- 
pression of opinion regarding them was invited. This 
difference the present writer prefers to attribute to the 
party prejudice, from which so few musicians in 
Russia were at that time free, than to deliberate and 
unblushing sincerity on Tchaikovsky's part. Whether 
to attribute the opinion given by Krouglikoff, that 
"everything good in Tchaikovsky's 'Mazeppa' istaken 
from Dargomijsky, Cui, Korsakoff and Moussorgsky" 
to party feeling or to actual fact is a point upon which 
silence is perhaps wisest. 

It seems quite reasonable, then, to assume that but 
for the controversy aroused by camp-followers, the 
music of Tchaikovsky would have been judged upon 
its merits as pure music and not as an outrage against 
the nationalistic ideal. It is moreover conceivable that 
if the recent duel between two writers, respectively 
singing and contesting the virtues of British folk-tunes 
as thematic material in British compositions, had been 
conducted in a somewhat larger arena than the pages 
of a review not at all widely read among musicians 
in this country, there would have been a considerable 
rise in the price of ink and as considerable a fall in 
the standard of manners as must have occurred when 
Russian musical Nationalism and Eclecticism were the 
subjects of lively discussion. 


There are apparently several points that have to be 
considered in respect of the question of Tchaikovsky's 

In what does Nationalism precisely consist ? If the 
employment of folk-tunes in the first generation results 
in the formation of a style generated by the stylistic 
features of the orginal folk-tunes in future generations, 
it would appear a little premature as yet to seek for 
any definite signs of the perpetuation of the national 
manner in the music of Russian composers. At the 
moment of writing there are comparatively few in 
whose works this resultant style can be traced. For 
the present it may merely be surmised that if this 
quality of the folk-song as music is to be reflected in 
the works in which the folk-song style is to appear, 
then the Russian folk-song has a good deal to recom- 
mend it as the basis of such an art; and if folk-melo- 
dies could ever reflect the soul of a nation the Russian 
folk-song is the one most likely to voice national and 
racial characteristics. 

Without going very far into a comparison between 
the merits of the Russian popular melody and those of 
our own land it must be immediately conceded that 
whereas in the first case the gramophone has only 
served on behalf of the collector, in the other it has 
endangered the very existence of any spontaneous and 
original song-making activity by carrying among the 
rural population a type of music originally designed 
for no better purpose than that of commerce. And 
even if this class of melody should undergo the process 
of modification and selection held to constitute its 
"communalisation" it can become nothing better than 
a base thing, unless communalised out of all recogni- 


tion. To communalise a vice is nothing more satis- 
factory than the coining of a new method of prac- 
tising that vice, a method which, though characteristic 
of a particular locaHty, is none the better for that. 

Tchaikovsky frequently made use of folk-tunes, but 
he employed them in a manner associated with Western 
tradition. It seems more than likely that his trans- 
actions with Balakireff, the nature of which is revealed 
in the correspondence which lasted from 1868 until 
iSgi, may have turned his attention to a source which 
might otherwise not have attracted him, but whatever 
it was that suggested the use of popular melodies as 
basic material for certain compositions, he was rarely 
successful in imparting to their treatment the special 
complexion requisite for the preservation of their char- 
acter as an indigenous product. 

But, apart from the question of folk-music, is Tchai- 
kovsky to be regarded as voicing in his music the soul 
of the nation to which he belongs ? 

It would be idle to deny the quality of individu- 
ality in his work, but it is a personal individuality and 
not a racial. 

It is of course quite easy to understand that as 
Tchaikovsky's music was so long the sole representa- 
tive of any kind of Russian musical thought, its style 
was for a time closely associated in Western Europe, 
as it still is in England, with the psychological char- 
acteristics of the Russian. 

In reality, however, Tchaikovsky's music reflects 
hardly anything else than his own very distinct per- 
sonality — a personality lacking in more than one char- 
acteristic attribute of the Russian. 

In order to dispel the deep-roted notion that Tchai- 


kovsky himself was typically Russian, let us inquire 
into the predominating characteristics of the Russian 
people. "The great Russian," says Mr. Maurice 

Baring, was the pioneer of the Slav race." Speaking 

of the climatic influences of Great Russia upon the 
character formation of its people, he holds that "it 
leads them firstly to battle with the hostile forces of 
nature, for battle with them he must, as far as possi- 
ble, in order to live, and consequently the struggle de- 
velops in him qualities of tenacity, energy and 
strength ; and secondly, it leads him to bow down and 
submit to the overwhelming and insuperable forces of 
nature, against which all struggle is hopeless. Thus it 
is that he develops qualities of patience, resignation 
and weakness. This, again, accounts for that mixture 
in the Russian which more than all things puzzles the 
Western European, namely, the blend of roughness and 
good nature, of kindness and brutal insensibility 
In the face of obstacles, not a natural hardness, but 
the stoicism which the bitterness of the struggle has 
taught him, gets the upper hand." 

In this last phrase lies something germane to our 
discussion. Where is the stoicism of the man whose 
every woe is expressed in his music ? Again, we are 
told by the same writer of the wide appreciation on 
the part of Russians of the comic genius of foreign 
countries. After mentioning the popularity of J. K. 
Jerome, W. W. Jacobs, Kipling and Chesterton, Mr. 
Baring assures us that it is neither the problems nor 
the sociological interest of Shaw that so captivate the 
Russian public, but his Irish wit ! 

* "The Russian People" (Metlnien). 


In the work of a Rimsky-Korsakoff we do not go 
far without perceiving a reflection of this sense for 
humour. But neither the music nor the autobiographi- 
cal material bequeathed us by Tchaikovsky gives us 
reason to suppose that humour is a vital part of the 
Russian character, and one has but to read the gloomi- 
est of Gorky's plays or stories — to mention Gogol or 
Ostrovsky would be to score too facile a victory — to 
discover that without this humoristic sensibility we 
have but a poor Russian. 

We have now to refute the last and most complete 
fallacy in the conventional estimate of the Russian 
character — an estimate which is derived as much from 
Tchaikovsky's music as from any other and equally 
misleading source. 

In writing the sentence "pessimism is the keynote 
of Tchaikovsky's music" one seems to commit a gigan- 
tic plagiarism, for this verdict must have been de- 
livered in a thousand analytical programmes. But in 
enunciating the equally true statement that pessimism 
is not the keynote of the gamut of virtues and defects 
forming the Russian character and that exuberance 
(either in the direction of pessimism or of light-hearted 
gaiety) is that keynote, one may confidently expect to 
see the fallacious estimate toppling to the table like 
the proverbial house of playing-cards. 

In truth, there is, however, one particular trait com- 
mon to our composer and the race to which he belongs, 
and that is plasticity, a capacity for assimilation, a 
suppleness of mind by which Mr. Baring and others 
account for the mentioned appreciation of things 
foreign. And expressed in the terms of our contro- 
versy, this characteristic is called eclecticism. 


We arrive, therefore, by a somewhat tortuous though 
sufficiently well-lit path, at the conclusion that Tchai- 
kovsky is a truly typical Russian in that he has an 
infinite capacity for writing inthestylesof other nations. 
Let us now observe, however, the not unimportant dis- 
tinction, that whereas the nationalist composers occa- 
sionally employed the vernacular to talk of other lands, 
Tchaikovsky almost invariably talked about himself. 

Allusion has been made to the waning of Tchaikov- 
sky's popularity, even in England, where for so long a 
time the quality of his work went unchallenged. 

But even so late in the day as this, to point either to 
this or that theme in the " Pathetic " symphony, which 
by the few is regarded as a monument of vulgar senti- 
mentality, as likely to be ultimately considered un- 
worthy to form the foundation of a work cast in the 
symphonic mould, to the want of proportion in the 
piano concerto, where, forsaking a spuriously epic man- 
ner, the composer suddenly and quite mconsequently 
refers us to an unimportant episode from his own dis- 
tinctly unheroic life, or to the blatant hysteria of the 
solemn " 181 2," is to invite the paralysing response that 
all this is a question of taste. To which our rejoinder 
is that the acclamation of Tchaikovsky is called forth 
by his orchestral works because he was a master as well 
as a pioneer of orchestration; that brilliant and effec- 
tive instrumentation is capable of covering a multitude 
of banalities and cliches and that as soon as Tchaikov- 
sky is deprived of this prop, his distinction evaporates 

The question of Nationalism and Eclecticism becomes 
insignificant so far as it concerns this composer when 
we inquire into the quality of his output. A great 


deal of it appears to have been genuinely inspired. 
Eut however important a factor inspiration may be in 
the composition of a work of art, its product must 
always depend for its immortality upon the quality of 
the inspiration rather than its mere presence. 

In approaching the subject of Anton Rubinstein we 
are freed from any necessity of passing a verdict upon 
his creative powers. The almost complete absence of 
his works from the present-diy European concert- 
giver's programme is sufficiently eloquent in itself to 
obviate all need of argument. Rubinstein, a Jew and 
a Slav, belonged to two races in which the faculty of 
assimilation is very highly developed ; but the mixture 
in his case would appear to have had an antidotal 
effect, and to this we must attribute the circumstance 
of his having consistently followed the line of Ger- 
man tradition — in his day the line of least re- 
sistance. To call Rubinstein an eclectic would be 
merely to strain the meaning of the term for the poli- 
tical purpose of placing him in antiposition to the 
Nationalists. In the capacity of operatic composer, he 
accorded a somewhat scanty recognition to the princi- 
ple of setting native texts. Eleven of his nineteen 
operas are based upon foreign subjects and we have 
the authority of Cheshikin for supposing that "The 
Demon," for the story of which he went to Lermontoff, 
was the direct outcome of the encouragement given by 
the authorities to national opera in the case of "Boris 
Godounoff." Rubinstein, it is interesting to note, 
sought the opinion of Balakireff's circle upon this work, 
but they, it seems, were impressed more by the able 
manner in which he rendered his reproduction of the 
score at the piano than by the music itself. 


One gathers that his brother, Nicholas, was by many 
considered to be his superior as virtuoso as well as in 
musical judgment, but that Nicholas's appetite for 
social enjoyments was such as to militate against the 
expenditure of a due amount of applicative energy in 
the more important sphere. 

Before leaving these composers it must be admitted 
that they have served their turn in attracting the at- 
tention of Western Europe towards Russian music 
proper. It is indeed very doubtful whether, but for 
the interest in the works of Tchaikovsky, manifested 
by Russian society, the operas of Rimsky-Korsakoff, 
which are now becoming popular in Russia, would ever 
have gained anything but a strictly limited public 
notice. In England, it is easy to see, we are indebted 
to the sensationalism of "1812" and to the sentiment- 
alism of the "Pathetic" symphony for the presence of 
a large proportion of our present overflowing "Pro- 
menade" audiences, which, one is bound to admit, con- 
tain many who were first attracted to symphonic music 
by the sensuous or the programmatic rather than the 
intellectual appeal of such works. 

To give Tchaikovsky his full due as a benefactor 
of Russian music we must recall the circumstance that, 
at the opening of the reign of Alexander III, only 
three of his operas had been performed and only one 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff's. It will readily be understood 
that the combined eight works of Glinka, Dargomijsky 
and Seroff and the then existing specimens of Cui, were 
hardly sufficient to preserve a strong interest in the 
opera as a Russian product, and even taking Rubin- 
stein into account we find that only seven of the twelve 
works written prior to 18S1 were based upon subjects 


likely to buggest to the Russian public that they were 
properly to be considered as national. It is quite 
natural, therefore, that on its advent, Tchaikovsky's 
operatic music should have gained the approval of 
Alexander. He took a great interest in the art, and 
Russian society was at that time disposed to follow in 
the Imperial footsteps in such matters. The more or 
less immediate appeal of Tchaikovsky's musical idiom 
may be held to account for the circumstance that it 
was to his works that the advantage of frequent per- 
formance fell between the years 1882 and 1898. See- 
ing, then, that Tchaikovsky wrote for his own and Rim- 
sky-Korsakoff for a future, if not a distant, generation, 
it would seem that but for the former the budding in- 
terest in Russian opera could hardly have been kept 
alive. If he masqueraded as a composer of Russian 
music (and even of "good" music) he did so to really 
good purpose, and now that genuine Russian music is 
coming into its own it behoves us to remember that, but 
for him, the later operas of Rimsky-Korsakoff^a very 
important national product — might never have been 
heard in the country of their origin. 



HA\'1NG classified Arensky as a Naiioivdlisi mnnquc 
we must balance matters by considering the sub- 
ject of this chapter as a universalist reussi. 

Serge Ivanovich Taneieff, born in the government of 
Vladimir on November 13, 1856, manifested early in 
life the possession of those very qualities, such, for in- 
stance, as an assimilative capacity, which justify our 
estimating him as an eclectic and which enabled him 
to earn no small reputation for versatility in the inter- 
pretation of the compositions of others. His faculty 
of discernment when assessing the merits of a musical 
work was valued by none more than Tchaikovsky, who 
often submitted his compositions to the judgment of 
his young friend and never took offence at the stric- 
tures so frequently passed upon them. At the age of 
ten, Taneieff entered the Moscow Conservatoire and 
began taking lessons under Langer. His aptitude was 
such as to gain the notice of Nicholas Rubinstein, 
whose influence was subsequently brought to bear on 



the lad's parents, with the result that the plan of inter- 
rupting his musical studies in order that he might enter 
a public school was abandoned. Continuing, there- 
fore, in the conservatoire, he was able to perfect him- 
self in the subjects of form and composition under the 
guidance respectively of Hubert and Tchaikovsky, 
while his pianistic talent was so well fostered by the 
director himself, that in 1875 he won the gold medal 
for solo-playing and made a triumphant debut in 
Brahms's piano concerto. "Besides purity and strength 
of touch, grace and ease of execution, Taneieff aston- 
ished everyone by his maturity of intellect, his self- 
control, and the calm, objective style of his interpre- 
tation." Thus Tchaikovsky, who, some months later, 
was able to congratulate the young virtuoso on the 
"power to grasp the composer's intention in all its most 
delicate and minute details" evinced in the execution 
of his own concerto. 

Shortly after this, Taneieff embarked on a long Rus- 
sian tour with Auer, the celebrated violinist, and the 
years 1877-8 were spent in concert-giving in Paris and 
in certain musical centres in the Baltic provinces. 

In 1878 he succeeded Tchaikovsky as professor of 
orchestration at his alma mater and on the death of 
Nicholas Rubinstein was appointed to succeed him in 
the piano professorship. In 1885, Tchaikovsky,, fail- 
ing to induce Rimsky-Korsakoff to accept the director- 
ship, offered that position to Taneieff, who held it for 
four years, retiring, in favour of Safonoff, with the 
object of devoting himself to composition. Tchaikov- 
sky further assisted his protege by himself serving 
under him on the staff. 

The leisure secured by retirement from his arduous 


directorial and professional duties has been fruitful 
only in a limited degree, for several compositions con- 
ceived in symphonic form have yet to be published. 
In addition to the six known string quartets, of which 
the third is the most favoured by public performers, 
there are two such works still in manuscript. His other 
chamber-works include two string quintets in which he 
alternately doubles the 'cello and viola parts, a string 
trio (two violins and violin), Op. 21, and a piano trio. 
Op. 22. His operatic trilogy on the Orestes of 
^schylus was produced at St. Petersburg in 1895. 

Taneieff as a composer cannot be said to appeal to 
the heart. There is much to be admired in the struc- 
ture of his compositions, and his ingenuity in ringing 
rhythmic changes tempts one to make a comparison 
(with Brahms) which cannot, however, be taken any 
further. He has nothing at all of the sensuous charm 
which constitutes the essentially appealing quality of 
his master's music, and his merit as composer lies in 
the sphere of unusual technical proficiency. 

His book on counterpoint is freely used and much 
esteemed in Russian educational establishments. 

We have now to consider a composer who may be 
reckoned as forming a link between the former tradi- 
tion of Occidentalism, once so jealously guarded in 
the citadel of the Moscow Conservatoire, and the pre- 
sent musical movement in Russia. The internecine war 
between Nationalism and Universalism, modified in its 
second stage to a more or less friendly rivalry, has now 
completely subsided, and while Russian musicians in- 
dividually are rather inclined to devote themselves to 
a search for new mediums of musical expression than 
to either of the ideals of the later nineteenth century, 


the music of Russia as a whole claims the support of 
all its creative exponents in its purpose of destroying 
the high wall which has too long defied progress in 
many parts of Western Europe. The composer here 
referred to is Rachmaninoff. He may well be called 
upon to figure as the first subject of the concluding 
section of this volume. 



FOR reasons that have already been hinted at, any 
attempt to place the large number of present- 
day Russian composers in definite categories must 
end in comparative failure. At the time of Tchaikov- 
sky's death it seemed likely that the traditions of the 
Moscow school would be carried on by certain young 
members who had already made their mark as com- 
posers. But we are constantly being reminded that if 
a splendid musicianship can be looked upon as a pecu- 
liar characteristic of the Russian school in general by 
virtue of the invariable association of that quality with 
Russian composers of to-day, the highly developed 
faculty of eclecticism has gone far towards the extinc- 
tion of anything which could be considered as lending 
a nationalistic flavour to their output. The glow and 
enthusiasm of Rachmaninoff's earlier manner have 
paled and have been superseded by a more or less aus- 
tere, though energetic, academicism. Glicre, at one 
time not a little inclined toward the nationalistic 
method and in some of whose earlier compositions may 



nevertheless be noticed the Muscovite conservative ten- 
dency, which becime stronger than otherwise it might 
through having taken to itself the role of protestant- 
ism — calculated to provide a corrective against the 
"over-advanced" methods of the Koutchkisti — has now 
been attracted by the allurements' of French mysticism. 
Scriabin, once a somewhat too pronounced admirer of 
Chopin, has embarked upon an exploration of a new 
musical territory in order to hnd a suitable harmonic 
edi&ce as cathedral for his theosophistic faith. Vas- 
silenko, despite his Moscow schooling, adopted for a 
time the ideals of the Nationalists and imitated their 
manner; but he has since contracted other sympathies 
and with true Slavonic plasticity of mind has followed 
in the France-ward footsteps of the other similarly 
disposed Russians. Grechaninoff, who studied in both 
schools, seems now unable to decide which to follow. 

Of the St. Petersburg group, Akimenko, one of Kor- 
sakoff's pupils, is also betraying a French tendency, 
one far more marked than that of Gliere. The same 
may be said of Tcherepnin. As to Stravinsky, estim- 
ated by Korsakoff as a pupil of no great promise, he 
has, while still quite young, established himself by 
means of solid achievement as a sort of post-nation- 

Of the older school, Ippolitoff-Ivanoff, who migrated 
from St. Petersburg to Tiflis and thence as a conductor 
to Moscow, has sympathised very actively, so far as 
the production of nationalistic opera is concerned, with 
the ideals which he was taught to revere, and somewhat 
mildl}' also, as a composer, while Wihtol has devoted 
himself whole-heartedly to the establishment of a musi- 
cal nationality for the Lett, 


Worthy of mention as emphasising the difficulty of 
classification and revealing the variegated complexion 
of contemporary Russian music, are Steinberg, who, 
though taught for some time by Korsakoff, has 
shaken off that influence, and Medtner, whose 
German origin must surely account in a large 
measure — and obviously a good deal more than 
his Moscow training — for his thoroughly Brahms- 
ian style. Medtner is one of many Russian com- 
posers who have not yet gained any considerable repu- 
tation in Western Europe. Like so many others who, 
though in a sense " inglorious," are by no means mute, 
his output is of an exceedingly high quality. 

And indeed no greater tribute could be paid to the 
consistent excellence of the present-day school of Rus- 
sian composition than mention of the difficulties to be 
met with by the conscientious compiler of a brief list 
of sterling composers. 

Serge Vassilievich Rachmaninoff is descended from 
a family of the landed class owning an estate in the 
Government of Novgorod, where he was born on March 
20, 1873. He gave an early hint as to his true voca- 
tion, and at nine years of age he was already a stu- 
dent in the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. Before 
reaching his 'teens, however, he was removed to the 
Moscow Institution, where he studied with Zviereft, 
Siloti (his kinsman), Taneieff and Arensky. Here he 
remained for seven years, during which time he de- 
veloped himself particularly as a virtuoso on the piano 
and as a versatile composer. At the close of his stu- 
dentship in 1892, he had already won high opinions 
as a performer, and the award of the gold medal for 
composition, made in respect of his one-act opera. 


"Aleko" (after Pushkin), performed at Moscow in the 
following year, gave him every reason to expect a bril- 
liant career. 

After a long concert-tour of Russia, he settled down 
in Moscow, receiving the appointment of professor at 
the Maryinsky Institute for Girls, which he held for 
some ten years. 

Tn 1897 he took over the conductorship of a private 
operatic concern in Moscow, the duties connected with 
which occupation necessitating a cessation of his work 
as composer during the two years' term of his engage- 

To what extent Rachmaninoff, as composer, would 
have gained the ear of Western Europe without the 
fortunate inspiration which gave birth to the C sharp 
minor Prelude, it is difficult to determine. One may 
conjecture the opinion that, in England at least, quite 
as much interest is aroused in an audience by the like- 
lihood of his being persuaded to give an authoritative 
reading of this trifle as by the hearing of a concerto 
or a symphony from his pen. When he first visited 
London, in the triple role of performer, composer and 
conductor, he quickly revealed to svibscribers of the 
Philharmonic Society that his fame ought not to rest 
upon this slender pedestal. He had of course already 
won a properly-founded reputation in Russia. 

In 1901 his second piano concerto was produced at 
Moscow — the composer as soloist — and in the follow- 
ing season it was introduced by Siloti at St. Peters- 
burg. The cantata based on Nekrassoff's poem, 
" Spring," composed and produced at about this time, 
was given four years or so later at St. Petersburg, in 
which performance the principal role was sustained by 


Chiilyapin. In 1904 he again undertook a two years' 
engagement as conductor, the scene of his labours this 
time being the Imperial Opera at Moscow. Once more, 
however, he found that the demand on his time was 
such as to leave no leisure for creative work. Eventu- 
ally resigning this post, he took up residence in Dres- 
den and has since devoted himself to composition, 
concert-playing and conducting. He is now a regular 
visitor to England and has made several appearances 
in such provincial centres as Liverpool, where his 
second symphony was performed in 191 1; Leeds, 
where in the same year the festival committee found a 
place for his third piano concerto and the above-men- 
tioned symphony ; Bradford, Manchester and Sheffield. 
Rachmaninoff has made essays in all the important 
branches of composition. His contribution to chamber 
music is somewhat slender, but the "'elegiac" trio (in 
memory of Tchaikovsky), which, together with a 
couple of instrumental sonatas, constitutes the whole 
of his output under this head, is a work which has 
quickly gained the approval of those who have sampled 
its quality. For the orchestra, in addition to the works 
already enumerated, there are " The Rock," a fantasia, 
Op. 7 (after Lermontoff), the first symphony, a 
Bohemian caprice and a symphonic poem, " The Island 
of the Dead," which is reputed to be one of his finest 
works. He has written many charming pieces for 
piano which would not be at any disadvantage in com- 
parison with the popular prelude, and it is satisfactory 
to note that pianists are beginning to make a practical 
comparison. The set of six " Moments Musicaux," an 
early work, is individualistic in manner to an extent 
emphasising the remarkable modification that has 


taken place m the composer's style; the Preludes, Op. 
23, set an executive task suggesting that his own tech- 
nical accomplishments have erased all recollection of 
the limitations of others. He has written a sonata and 
besides two suites for two pianos, there are six pieces, 
Op. II, for four hands. Another work deserving in- 
clusion here is the set of variations on a theme of 

There are a number of charming songs, that entitled 
"Lilacs" (No. 5 of Op. 21) being a favourite, while the 
"Fate" song. Op. 17 — an ingenious attempt (but not a 
very successful one) at utilising the subject of Beet- 
hoven's fifth symphony as thematic and poetic material 
— has attracted the attention of recitalists by reason, 
no doubt, of the factitious interest lent by its scheme. 

Since "Aleko," which earned him his prize, Rach- 
maninoff has written two more single-act operas, " The 
Covetous Knight " and " Francesca da Rimini," both of 
which were re\ived in Moscow during the season of 
191 3. A new choral work, founded on E. A. Poe's 
"The Bells," has lately been given with great success 
in St. Petersburg and is promised an early English 

As performer, Rachmaninoff pro&ts by some very 
hard work which has given him an amazing strength of 
wrist, a seemingly inexhaustible reserve of power, and 
a technique in general which has very few equals 
among pianists of the present time. 



RHEINIiOLD GLlERE, born at Kieff on January 
II, 1875, has contrived to puzzle the classifiers. 
Educated at Moscow, where he studied with Taneieff 
and Ippolitoff-Ivanoff, he came naturally under the in- 
fluence of Tchaikovsky ; yet, in his work, both prior 
to and since the symphonic poem, " The Sirens " — 
in which a sympathy with French ideals shows him 
somewhat at a disadvantage — we discover a certain 
method warranting the assumption that he is not alto- 
gether wanting in a regard for the accredited founders 
of the modern school. In the first of his two string 
quartets, that in A numbered Op. 2, is to be observed 
a striving after the nationalistic manner, but an 
absence of ruggedness from the treatment of the 
themes, which are clearly derived from a folk origin, 
remind us that the composer's early environment has 
not been without effect. One is inclined to surmise 
that Gliere has succumbed to the glamour of such suc- 
cess as has been attained by Arensky, whose style of 
treatment is reflected in his work, and to conjecture 



that under a different influence he niiylit have proved 
capable of more significant tilings. 

As a composer of solo instrumental nuisic he is 
perhaps seen at his weakest. His piano pieces reveal a 
preoccupation with the merely pedagogic, and those 
written for the orchestral instruments have hardly a 
strong claim to our notice beyond their value as items 
in the curriculum. His duets for violins, for 'cellos 
and for violin and 'cello (all unaccompanied), in which 
he again shows here and there a preference for themes 
of a folk-song nature, his string sextets and octet bear 
witness to an affection for the bowed instruments to 
the repertories of which they form a ple-.ising acquisi- 
tion. He has been an industrious song-writer and is 
to be credited with a choral suite (for women's voices), 
having the four seasons as its poetic basis. 

His symphonic work is on a much higher plane than 
that in the above categories. His first symphony, Op. 
8, in E flat, composed in 1899, when still a student, 
and performed at Moscow in 1902 and later in London, 
has, together with the quartets, been the means of 
drawing the notice of amateurs to the composer's work 
and of leading them, one may say, to expect rather 
more from him than he has yet given us. The second 
symphony has not yet, so far as we are aware, been 
heard in England. " The Sirens,'' viewed as an 
attempt to express the turbulence of the ocean, has 
perhaps something of the commonplace in its harmonic 
colouring; in the orchestration, however, we recognise 
that mastery characteristic of the young Russian. 

Quite lately there has been produced in Moscow a 
work which, by virtue of its subject, places him among 
the creators of musical epics. It is a symphony or 


symphonic suite based upon the legend of lUa Mouro- 
metz, a figure familiar from his prominent appearances 
in the cycle of Kieff, the composer's native city. Here 
we see Gliere emulating Borodin and Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff in their historical and legendary operatic essays. 
The latter's " Sadko," it will be remembered, draws its 
literary material from the cycle of Novgorod. 

Gliere occupies his time in teaching and composing. 
He lives in Moscow. 

Ippolitoff-Ivanoff has lately made himself known to 
followers of the symphonic branch of the musical art 
in England by his " Caucasian Sketches," but his name 
has been long familiar to lovers of chamber music by 
reason of his string quartet, Op. 13. In his own coun- 
try, however, he is widely known and esteemed as an 
influential and liberal-minded administrator. He 
seems in this capacity to have preserved an attitude of 
independence in regard to the antagonism which for a 
time existed between the two musical factions in his 
native land, and if there is not perhaps a great deal in 
his music which would indicate a profound respect for 
the initiators of the modern school, he has certainly 
proved a good friend of Nationalism. 

Michael Mikhaelovich Ippolitoff-Ivanoff was born at 
Gatchina on November 15, 1859. The son of a 
mechanic employed at the Imperial Palace, he is quite 
an exceptional figure in the ranks of Russian creative 
musicians, for they have, for the most part, been re- 
cruited from the upper class. After six years' study 
under Rimsky-Korsakoff at the St. Petersburg Con- 
servatoire, he proceeded, in 1882, to Tiflis as director 
of the Music School and conductor of the symphony 
concerts of the Imperial Musical Society, from which 



coign he exercised an influence not less important than 
that of Ropartz in Nancy. There, however, the ana- 
logy would appear to end, for Ivanoff, instead of ex- 
pressing his home sickness in most of his compositions, 
like the exiled Breton, he set himself to acquire a 
familiarity with the musical idiom of the Caucasus, 
eventually publishing a volume dealing with the 
national songs of Georgia. Anyone desirous of 
getting a glimpse of this country as it appears to the 
vision of a musician, is recommended to consult the 
descriptive letter written by Tchaikovsky when bound 
on a visit to Ivanoff, with whom he was on friendly 
terms. (He had produced "Mazeppa" in Tiflis.) 

In i8go Ivanoff, evidently anxious to secure a more 
central position in Russian musical life, wrote to 
Tchaikovsky, sounding him as to the likelihood of suc- 
cess meeting his application for the post of professor 
at Moscow, but it transpired that the rumoured resigna- 
tion of Altani, which had prompted the suggestion, 
was not founded on fact. At the end of the same year 
Tchaikovsky made representations on Ivanoff's behalf 
to the Intendant of the St. Petersburg Imperial Opera 
with the primary object of obtaining a hearing for the 
latter's second opera, "Asra," produced at about that 
time in Tiflis, and with a secondary aim, no doubt, of 
creating an interest in Ivanoff's work. It was not, 
however, until 1893, that room was found for him on 
the conservatoire staff at Moscow. Arrived there, he 
succeeded to the position of conductor of the Choral 
Society. This he held until 1899, when he took over 
the command at the Moscow Private Opera. His 
policy there may be epitomised by quoting the operas 
chosen for his benefit performance in 1903 : Korsakoff's 


" Kostcliei " and Tchaikovsky's " lolanthe." During its 
most flourishing period no less than five of Korsakoff's 
operas were mounted. 

There is no slight evidence of Ivanoff's sympathy 
with the procedure of deriving the literary basis of 
music from the homeland. His first work, produced 
soon after his graduation, the overture, "Yar Khmel," 
is founded on a Russian theme ; the " Caucasian 
Sketches" are full of suggestions of that Eastern 
flavour so chiracteristic of Russian pictorial music ; 
his third opera, " Assya," is a setting of a national tale 
by Tourgenieff ; there are three cantatas, each in memory 
of a great Russian poet, and the three Moorish melo- 
dies, Op. 23, for voice, testify further to his feeling for 
oriental colour, as does the suite. Op. 20. tlis latest 
works include " Iveria," Op. 42, and an Armenian 
Rhapsody, Op. 48. 

Ivanoff, whose wife is a well-known singer, is now 
principal of the Moscow Conservatoire in succession to 
Safonoff, who resigned in igo5. 



T is a little curious that, beginning with Wagner, 
musicians who have employed music as a means of 
portraying some phase of life, have all been greeted 
with derision. Strauss, we believe, never achieved the 
distinction of being actually hissed, but that failure 
may be accounted for when we recall that at the time 
of his first appearance in concert programmes, the pro- 
gressive movements in the other arts, such as " impres- 
sionism," did not receive the same publicity as they 
now do, and consequently the average music-lover, 
who in the early nineties cared less than at present for 
modern painting and sculpture, did not arrive at the 
sime degree of exasperation as has lately been pro- 
duced by the simultaneous appearances of ''revolu- 
tion" or "anarchy" in the work of the Futurists and 
the French pioneers, on the one hand, and in that of 
Schonberg, Stravinsky and Scriabin on the other. 

In England the name of Scriabin has suddenly 
sprung into a belated notoriety that, but for what 
appears to have been a disinclination on the part of a 


festival committee to "face" his music, would by now 
perhaps have been planed down into fame. If, how- 
ever, we look into his history we find that, like all the 
revolutionary composers, his development to the point 
of so-called anarchy has been quite gradual. One is 
bound, nevertheless, to admit that, viewed as a pro- 
duct of modern Russian musical society, he is dis^ 
tinctly a phenomenon. Born in Moscow on December 
25, 1 87 1, he passed through a vicissitude of vocation, 
similar in kind, though not in degree, to that experi- 
enced by Rimsky-Korsakoff and Moussorgsky. Having 
followed for a time the course of preparation for the 
military career chosen for him by his parents, the call 
of music became so insistent that he left the Cadet 
Corps and became a student at the Moscow Conserva- 
toire. Like Taneieff, with whom he first studied, and 
Rachmaninoff, he had a marked talent as pianist. 

The compositions belonging to his first period are 
devoid of any suggestion of tutorial influence; the 
early preludes, mazurkas and impromptus are indeed, 
as their generic titles might lead one to suppose, the 
outcome of a very strong affection for the music of 
Chopin, though the uncharitable implication of Cui, 
who speaks of them as objects annexed from the trous- 
seau of the Polish master, is not quite fair, failing, as 
it does, to take account of certain indisputable evi- 
dences of individuality. 

For a time his pianistic talent held sway, and on 
leaving the Conservatoire (taking the gold medal in 
1892) he began a tour of Europe, which served to 
prove that the combination of his own natural ability 
and Safonoff's instruction had produced a remarkable 
virtuosity. Unsatisfied, after a time, with the life of a 


public performer, he returned to Moscow and accepted 
the professcrship of piano then offered him. In 1903 
his absorption in a very advanced method of musical 
creation dictated his resignation. 

In his earliest compositions — the Chopinesque piano 
pieces — one has little difficulty in discovering an in- 
debtedness to a poetic idea which has not been allowed 
to intrude to the extent rendering necessary an avowal 
of programme. In the piano concerto — composed in 
1897 and produced at St. Petersburg in the following 
year — the andante and variations of which are based 
on a theme which occurred to him when only twelve 
years of age, there are few signs of an)'thing in the 
nature of programmatic significance, while in the first 
symphony (in E major) if the hymn of praise, apotheo- 
sising art and religion, which constitutes the choral 
finale is to be considered as a hint of coming develop- 
ments, there is nothing conspicuous, so far as style is 
concerned, beyond the fairly plain testimony to Wag- 
nerian influence. 

In the " Poeme Satanique," for piano, we hear 
echoes of the manner of Liszt. The second symphony, 
however, was devoted to a definite idea and the 
foundation of its abstract programme — the develop- 
ment of psychic individuality — synchronised very 
appropriately with the beginning of the composer's 
true self-realisation. Here is to be remarked a stylistic 
transformation which definitely anticipates the psycho- 
logical basis as well as the technical manner of sub- 
sequent works. The third symphony embarks on a 
discussion of the faculty of art-creation. It is in three 
movements, entitled respectively: "Strife," "Sensuous 
foys" and "Divine Activity." 


It is supposed that it was whilst occupied with the 
composition of his succeeding work, "The Poem of 
Ecstasy," that Scriabin first perceived the resemblance 
between certain colour and sound combinations from 
which partly sprang the conception of the later 
"Poem of Fire." It contains, moreover, the germ of 
the harmonic idea of the last mentioned. But in the 
" Poem of Ecstasy " he seems to hive been chiefly occu- 
pied with the question of the musical reflection of 
thought and feeling. In reference to this Mrs. New- 
march's veiled implication that the composer's printed 
demands are rather in excess of the degrees of emo- 
tional sensibility to be discovered among the units of 
an orchestra is irresistible, though perhaps now out of 

In "Prometheus" Scriabin has arrived at a full 
development of the harmonic scale system of har- 
monisation. This he now definitely allies with the 
musical enunciation of theosophical principles, together 
with an avowed belief in an affinity existing between 
sound and colour. As to the first idea, we see nothing 
in it more startling than Debussy's exploitation of the 
tonal scale, which he felt best suited to express his own 
feelings — feelings which pertained in reality to the soul 
of intellectual France at the fin dc siecle — a period 
plainly reflected in his music. That every sensitive 
musician recognises a vague resemblance between colour 
and harmonic schemes is a commonplace, the truth of 
which is denied alone by those whom we should never 
dream of crediting with such sensitiveness. The 
majority of musicians, it is true, are as chary of com- 
mitting themselves to any downright statement touch- 
mg upon the scheme followed by their expression of 


sound in terms of colour or vice versa as at one time 
they would have been of publishing an experimental 
departure from the approved diatonic scale. Scriabin 
has had the temerity to associate himself with a belief 
in both and into the bargain has come forward as a 
twentieth century apostle of Wagner and Strauss by 
investing his music — and thus proclaiming his satisfac- 
tion with its efficacy as a medium — with an ethical 

To deliver judgment on the result is for the moment 
hardly wise, because while the theosophical content of 
the work may conceivably have touched a responsi\e 
chord in those who are conversant with and sensible to 
the teachings of that faith, the musical idiom is for the 
present so novel and so inseparable from the "pro- 
gramme" of the work that it behoves those who are 
outside the radius of its influence to keep silence, at 
least until the musical manner has become sufficiently 
familiar to make an intellectual appeal. 

"Prometheus," produced early in 191 1, at Moscow, 
has a programme not altogether unrelated to the ethi- 
cal lesson of Wagner's "Ring." Essentially, it is in 
accord with the canons of theosophy. It suggests in 
poetic terms that human creative power is the comple- 
mentary faculty in mankind, that this power has possi- 
bilities of evil as well as of good. Techriically, the 
novelty of the work consists in its structure being con- 
fined to the harmonic scale. Scriabin has used a very 
large orchestra which includes eight horns, five trum- 
pets, an extensive "percussion" group, celesta and 
harp, and is reinforced by the organ. The solo piano 
part is given the programmatic role of the human in- 
dividual; the orchestra is occupied in enumerating the 


influences bearing on mankind. But this does not ex- 
haust the full instrumental catalogue for Scriabin has 
designed a separate part for a colour instrument, dedi- 
cated to the function of making a colour-commentary 
upon the harmonic occurrences : thus we are told that 
"the characteristic mystical chord" — the ninth with the 
augmented fifth — will be accompanied by a comple- 
mentary bluish-lilac haze. 

Nor is the end here, for "Prometheus," which no 
longer excites discussion in Russia, is to be succeeded 
by a more daring experiment. In a work now in pro- 
cess of design — called a "mystery" — Scriabin has the 
intention of using every available means of appealing 
to the emotional sensibilities. The dance and perfume 
are to be called upon to reinforce tone and colour, with 
the object of producing the fullest possible effect upon 
the senses and mind of the audience, which, like an 
ideal congregation, will, it is anticipated, be stirred to 
a pitch of ecstasy by a combined sensuous impulsion. 

Seeing that programme music has survived its alarm- 
ing exploitation in the suburban drawing-room of the 
Victorian era and that Straussian developments are no 
longer goading the academic composer into the per- 
petration of ponderous symphonies of ridicule, we may 
surely hope for a reasonable attitude toward the new 
accessorial function to which music has been called by 
Scriabin. After all there is nothing very novel about 
the effect either of music, perfume or colour upon the 
mind, and if the deliberate combination of these sense 
excitements should prove a social danger, that in itself 
would be the best possible proof of its success. 

In his piano sonatas Scriabin's development is to be 
followed more or less closely. The fifth, sixth and 


seventh works in this form, Op. 53, 62 and 64, provide 
ample substance in which to study the elaboration of 
his harmonic scheme. In the first-named, the composer 
is apparently experimenting (it was written prior to 
"Prometheus"), but an analysis of the others reveals 
that he had then decided upon the serviceableness of 
his medium. He has now written, in all, ten sonatas. 

Scriabin's one tiny contribution to the literature of 
string chamber music — his variation on the popular 
Russian theme treated by a number of composers in 
collaboration — is liable to be forgotten in the stir he 
is creating in the domains of orchestral and piano 
music. In any case it is a document of no great value 
to the historian or the musician — it is not even the sole 
instance of his employment of the diatonic scale. 



OF Sergius \'assilenko nothing, we believe, has been 
heard in England beyond his comparatively 
mature work, the suite entitled " Au Soleil," and 
one or two songs. In the former we are able to see 
how far-reaching has been the effect of French influence 
on some Russian composers. The impressionistic move- 
ment may almost be likened to the Napoleonic. It has 
certainly been the cause of considerable damage to the 
musico-nationalistic Kremlin — the folk-song style. 
While that is not perhaps a subject for unreserved re- 
gret, it is a pity that the native manner, originating in 
the combined employment of folk rhythms and popu- 
lar legends, should be blotted out by something which 
has in reality a deal of the Latin and nothing of the 
Slav about its character. 

Vassilenko was born at Moscow in 1872, entered the 
Conservatoire in 1896 and after five years' work under 
Taneieff and Ippolitoff-Ivanoff, wrote a cantata, for 
which he was awarded the gold medal. The work was 

shortly afterwards re-cast and produced in Moscow as 



an opera. The choice of its subject, identical with that 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff's "Kitej," would have been a 
satisfactory sign of faith in a composer brought up 
under the wing of any member of the Koutchka. In 
Cheshikin's opinion the choice itself testifies to Vas- 
silenko's quite laudable sympathy with Korsakoff, but 
the historian notices a musical resemblance between the 
works, which is just a little too marked. If it be at all 
true, the allegation that Vassilenko's early works are 
"talented echoes of Korsakoff, Eorodin and Moussorg- 
sky," suggests that in them the present eclecticism as 
well as the Tchaikovskian manner cf expression must 
have been hardly noticeable. 

In his epic poem for orchestra, Op. 4, he exhibited 
a taste and a talent for mediasvalism which received 
support from a profound knowledge of modal and 
church music, but his later works — they include " The 
Whirlpool" and "The Widow" (both "poems" for 
bass voice and orchestra) and a symphony in G minor 
— are cited as evidence of restlessness subsequently 
confirmed by the style of his symphonic poem based 
on Wilde's " Garden of Death," in which he altogether 
relinquished his earlier manner. 

In "Au Soleil," far from showing any signs of dis- 
comfort consequent on the adoption of a foreign idiom, 
he appears to be thoroughly at home and the music 
warms his picture into life just as the sun vitalises the 
insects in that picture — endowing them with movement 
by its life-giving rays. The aim and the achievement 
both recall Albert Roussel's " Festin d'Arraignee." 

Two new symphonic works are announced as having 
been successfully performed in Paris and Moscow. 

In his studies, Alexander Tikhonovich Grechaninoff 


reversed the order pursued by Rachmaninoff. He was 
born on October 13, 1864, i" Moscow. Having estab- 
hshed a claim to the consideration of local musical 
society by following Safonoff's piano course at the 
conservatoire, he transferred his attention in i8go to 
the rival establishment at St. Petersburg, where he 
became a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakoff. His studies 
completed, he composed a quartet which in the follow- 
ing year gained the prize offered by the St. Petersburg 
Chanjber-Music Society. Although he excels in the 
composition of sacred music, it is by his songs and his 
two quartets (the second is numbered Op. 14) that he 
has come to be known outside Russia. In his later 
vocal specimens he inclines at times to what may best 
bs described as an advanced Schumannesque style, at 
others to the more delicate and sometimes mystical 
manner of Borodin. 

As a dramatic composer he has been fairly industri- 
ous, and has written incidental music to Ostrovsky's 
"Snow-Maiden" and to the first two sections of Alexis 
Tolstoi's dramatic trilogy, "The Death of Ivan the 
Terrible," " Czar Feodor " and " Czar Boris." Respect- 
ing the first-named, Cheshikin avers that it was written 
while the composer was under the influence of Rimsky- 
Korsakoff, a suggestion to which colour is certainly lent 
by its subject, but the chiding given Grechaninoff by 
Lipaeff, another critic, who complains of the lack of 
originality — a quality elsewhere sufficiently noticeable 
— displayed in the choice of literary material already 
employed by two great composers (Tchaikovsky was, of 
course, the other), seems undeserved, if the precedent of 
"Faust" is of any importance. 

Grechaninoff has written two operas. The first, called 


" Dobrinya Nikitich," is drawn from the Kieff cycle, in 
which the hero, whose name supplies the title, figures 
along with "Ilya Mourometz" — the subject of Gliere's 
symphonic suite — and " Aleosha Popovich," the princi- 
pal personage in Alexander Taneieff's opera. This was 
produced at St. Petersburg in 1903. The circumstances 
attending the recent production of his new opera at 
at Moscow (based on Maeterlinck's poem, " Sister 
Beatrice") have created something of a stir. This 
work had only been performed four times — with con- 
siderable success — when it was banned, on the score of 
its involving the stage impersonation of the Holy Vir- 
gin. This echoes the assertion lately penned m an 
article on Russia, that " you may be pious,'' within that 
Empire's confines, " but you must not go too far." 

Grechaninoff has published two symphonies, Opus 6 
and 27, but apparently withholds in manuscript an 
orchestral "Elegie," Op. 18. 


WE have had occasion more than once to refer to 
the extent to which Russian composers have 
been attracted by the modern French movement. When 
it is remembered that it was to Russia that the French 
school owed its salvation from an absolute surrender 
to the Wagnerian deluge which in the 'eighties of last 
century all but swamped the frail bark manned by 
truly original musicians, it does not seem inappropriate 
that Russians of to-day should evince an anxiety to 
try their pens in an idiom largely derived from their 
own progenitors. 

But the secession of Feodor Akimenko is the more 
remarkable because he was reared in an atmosphere of 
Nationalism. Born at Kharkoff on February 8, 1876, 
he received his early education in the St. Petersburg 
Imperial Chapel ; he then had private piano lessons 
from Balakireff and studied harmeny with Liadoff. 
Later, on entering the conservatoire, he was placed in 
Ri.-nsky-Korsakoff's composition class. If Nationalism 
is to be fostered by tutorial environment, Akimenko 


should have outdone any single one of his teachers 
But even in his earlier works he does not show any 
particular fancy for tlie folk-melody procedure, 
although in some of them there is a fairly pronounced 
Russian flavour, and when after composing" a g'oodly 
number of songs and piano pieces, a " Lyric Poem" for 
orchestra, three choruses for mixed voices (to texts of 
A. Tolstoi and Miiikoff), various solos for string and 
wind instruments, a string trio and a piano and violin 
sonata, he left his native land and journeyed via Swit- 
zerland to Paris, he became a thorough devotee of Im- 
pressionism — as indeed the titles of his later works 
bear witness. To those who are not inclined to accept 
their mere names as conclusive evidence as to their style, 
a perusal of the "Pages de Poesie Fantasque," Op. 43 
(for piano), will suffice to present the composer's later 
manner. The pieces, Op. 41, "In the Gardens of the 
Luxembourg" and "Under the Arches of Notre Dame," 
suggest that Akimenko forgot for a time such inspira- 
tional territory as the works of Tolstoi and Maikoff. 
I-iis latest compositions are chiefly for piano and in- 
clude a " Sonata Fantastique," but one act of an opera, 
as yet unpublished, "The Queen of the Alps,'' has been 
given a concert performance at Ivharkoff, and he has 
been at work upon a ballet. For both of these the 
libretto has been supplied by Mr. Calvocoressi. 

Tcherepnin, whose name has been familiarised by the 
popularity of his two ballets, " Le Pavilion d'Armide" 
and " Narcisse," has been called " an eclectic in the best 
sense." To understand what is here implied it is suffi- 
cient to glance at a list of the composer's vvforks, for 
they reveal a considerable breadth of outlook in the 
choice of subject. One of his first compositions is an 


overture to the 'Princesse Lointainc" of Rostand. The 
"Dramatic Fantasia," Op. 17, for orchestra, is inspired 
by a poem of Tioutscheff, a compatriot, who has written 
verses on Nature as seen in Russia, which are so highly 
praised by a biographer that the latter's subsequent use 
of the epithet occidental to describe the poet — on the 
score of his knowledge and taste for the French lan- 
guage — seems both unfair and far-fetched. 

Then there are the orchestral works describing the 
witches' scene in "Macbeth," the ballet, "Le Pavilion 
d'Armide," which deals with the period of Louis XIV, 
and " Narcisse," which, together with the song, " Mena- 
ceus," reveals an insight into and a sympathy with 
classical folk-lore. We may note also that one of the 
"sketches" for piano, Op. 38, is entitled "Baba Yaga," 
which suggests that the composer's eclecticism is of the 
kind that fulfils all obligations by beginning at home. 

Nicholas Tcherepnin was born in 1873. He aban- 
doned his studies for the legal profession — at St. 
Petersburg University — to become a pupil of Rimsky- 
Korsakoff. He has an individual style which adapts 
itself easily to the demand of its possessor's versa- 

Vladimir Rebikoff, born on May 16, 1866, at Kras- 
noyarsk, in Siberia, stands on a lower plane than 
Scriabin, but invites comparison with the latter in one 
respect. He also is addicted to the suggestion of soul- 
states in music and does not stop at the smaller forms, 
such as his " Musical Psychological Sketches " for piano 
(" Slavery and Freedom " is one of the titles m the 
series Op. 13), but gives the same adjectival qualifica- 
tion to his one-act opera, " The Christmas Tree," in 
which the pleasures of the wealthy are contrasted with 



the misery of the submerged. The musical substance 
of this work, being physically founded on whole-tone 
harmonies, seems somewhat unsuitable for its poetic 
purpose, although, to judge by its reception, Moscow 
audiences found nothing incongruous in the combina- 
tion. Two more " psychological " dramas have to be 
credited to him, " Thea," Op. 34, in four acts, and a set- 
ting of Schnitzler's "Woman with the Dagger," Op. 
41. Rebikoff's piano pieces, which have become pretty 
well known in England and France, are largely couched 
in the same harmonic terms. 

Psychology as mistress to the handmaiden. Music, 
suggests Scriabin, and the tonal scale Debussy, but it 
must be mentioned that Rebikoff has enlarged the scope 
of musical composition on his own account. The 
"melo-mimic" is a combination of the scenic and pan- 
tomimic with a closely allied musical accompaniment. 
In this form he has published the six " melo-mimics " 
or " mimo-drames," Op. 1 1, based on the tale, " Milaand 
Nolli," and "Genius and Death." The latter has been 
well received in Russia and is described as deriving a 
good deal of help — as one would imagine more likely 
than in "The Christmas Tree" — from the esoteric 
quality of the music. Rebikoff has also written an 
opera in two acts, "The Storm," produced at Odessa 
during his residence there (1894). 

He was a pupil of Miihler in Berlin, and Jaksch in 
Vienna. In 1898 he founded a branch of the Imperial 
Musical Society at Kishineff, but has since given up all 
administrative in order to devote himself entirely to 
creative work. 



TWO musicians whose output owes nothing to such 
sources of programmatic foundation as symbol- 
ism and impressionism and is free from both nation- 
alistic import and Eastern flavour, and who are thus 
alike separated from the rest of the Russian school, 
are Steinberg and Medtner. 

Maximilian Steinberg was born in 1883. One would 
hardly imagine that a pupil of Rimsky-KorsakofF, 
who was on such terms with the distinguished 
teacher as marriage into his immediate family would 
suggest, would betray so slight a stylistic resemblance 
or so small a similarity of aim. Steinberg's music 
seems even to outdo that of his second teacher, 
Glazounoff, in its close adherence to orthodoxy. As one 
might suppose, a pupil of such thorough craftsmen is 
endowed with a fine technique, and this Steinberg dis- 
plays in his earliest works. The Quartet, Op. 5, is 
quite a masterly effort, but savours rather more of the 
pedagogue than of the inspired piusician. It is ex- 
ceedingly well written for the instruments but never 



rises above the level of technical perfection. Report 
speaks well of his second symphony in B minor and 
of some songs. 

Nicholas Medtner, who resembles Steinberg in the 
negative direction cited, has nothing in common with 
him beyond the implied adherence to academicism. In 
Medtner we find traditional methods allied with and 
enhanced by a genuine inspiration which is of the most 
refined quality. One feels that he enjoys his music 
as he writes it. He has all the rhythmic ingenuity of 
Erahms, some quite individual harmonic thoughts, 
an impeccable taste and abundant enthusiasm. But he 
has so far confined his output to the domain of cham- 
ber-music, and as that branch of the art has not yet 
succeeded in establishing itself with the public as the 
most aristocratic, and is still regarded as Cinderella, 
his reputation up to the present has not been far- 

Medtner, as his name suggests, is the child of Ger- 
man parents. He was born in Moscow on December 
24, 1879, and began his musical education at the Con- 
servatoire at the age of twelve. After a long course 
of study with Safonoff he wound up his career as a 
student by carrying off the gold medal, and in the same 
year (igoo), he obtained first honours in the Rubinstein 
competition at Vienna. After distinguishing himself 
as pianist in many European musical centres, he was 
appointed in 1902 to a professorship in the Moscow 
Conservatoire, but gave up this post after one year's 
retention in order to apply himself exclusively to com- 
position. Most of his published works are for piano. 
The style of his first sonata is as close as possible to 
that of Frahms, so close, in fact, that one might easily 


imagine the similarity of opus number and key (Opus 
5 in F minor) between this work and one in the same 
form by the German master to have been prompted by 
feehngs of admiration and a desire for emulation. 
Medtner has not allowed himself to be fettered by 
formalistic considerations, and the work quoted is the 
only sonata of six in which he preserves the traditional 
division into movements. Excepted is the very charm- 
ing example for piano and violin, Op. 21, in B minor, 
the three sections of which are named respectively 
" Canzona," " Danza " and " Ditirambo." For these in- 
struments he has also written a beautiful series of three 
nocturnes which deserve to be heard much oftener. 

The title "Dithyramb" is one of four very much 
favoured by the composer, several pieces being given 
the respective descriptions of " Marchen," " Novellen '' 
and " Tragoedie-Fragment." A large number of fine 
songs stand to his credit, the texts being from such 
poets as Goethe, Heine and Nietzsche. 

Isolated in a sense is Catoire, who betrays his origin 
as clearly in his music as by his name. Here also is 
a French tendency, but one which causes us to inquire 
into the composer's age, for it belongs rather to the 
period when Faure was in the forefront than to that 
of the out-and-out impressionists. 

George Catoire was born in Moscow on April 27, 
1 861. Whilst following the university mathematical 
course in Berlin, he studied music under Klindworth 
and Willborg. Later he became a pupil of Liadoff in 
St Petersburg, and his early work indicates that if he 
owes his technical proficiency to his hrst teachers, his 
tastes were influenced by the St. Petersburg environ- 
ment. The symphonic poem, " Mzyri " (Op. 1 3), takes 


the work of Lermontoff as its theme, and in his can- 
tata, "Russalka," he again turns to this poet. Other 
compositions belonging to the first period are a C minor 
Symphony, Op. 7, a Trio, Op. 14, some piano pieces and 
songs, three poems of Tioutschsff, set for female chorus 
and piano (Op. 18) and three more for vocal solo. His 
later instrumental works include a fine string Quintet 
(Op. 16), four Preludes for piano (Op. 17), a "Poeme" 
sonata for piano and violin (Op. 20) in D, and a piano 
Concerto (Op. 21). 

Catoire is resident in Moscow. 



IT has been argued that the searching test of the prin- 
ciple of Nationalism — so far as concerns the incor- 
poration of folk-tunes in the nuisic of a given country 
or race — comes when, in the second generation, the prac- 
tice of employing the melodies themselves gives way 
to that rhythmic manner and character which, it is held, 
should be born of the union between folk and art music. 
In Russia, despite the very sjjecial encouragement given 
to this method of cultivating a national manner, there 
are singularly few evidences of the existence, at the 
present time, of the confidently anticipated offspring — 
a child, to continue the metaphor, expected to prove 
virile and healthy. 

It is perhaps because Igor Stravinsky belongs also 
to the second musical generation in the actual sense — 
he is the son of a musician — that it has fallen to his 
lot to keep alive a race which but for him might easily 
have become extinct. We have seen that the Russian 
school, at the beginning of the twentieth century, is 
represented by composers who have gone to France, 
Germany, Belgium and England for literary material, 
to the whole-tone scale as a medium in which to express 
that mysticism which, it has been argued, is in reality 



as much Russian as foreign, and merits all the more, 
therefore, one would suppose, a purely national mode 
of expression, to the "harmonic" scale as a suitable 
musical robe in which to officiate at the altar of theo- 
sophy and finally to Germany, as in the case of some 
who appear altogether indifferent to the claims of 
nationality, not only for technique but for the renewal 
of their attenuated store of inventive ideas at the fount 
of tradition ! 

A native tendency to preserve a national character in 
his music and a very firm intention of passing beyond 
the boundaries so jealously guarded by the academics, 
who, like the rich, are always with us and are continu- 
ally threatening to "corner" progress, are alike observ- 
able in Stravinsky. We have, moreover, to observe 
that the practice of drawing upon national subjects has 
not resulted in any noticeable exhaustion either of his 
own inspiration or of the stock of literary material to 
be culled from that source. It cannot be said that 
Stravinsky has removed all tangible traces of the ori- 
ginal folk-song from his music; he has actually made 
use of complete examples. But this does not detract 
from the value of his work as an example of how a 
national manner may pass from the primitive to the 
secondary stage without in the least hampering the de- 
velopment or impeding the inspiration of the composer. 
For this reason we select him — a composer who has 
come to be regarded as the hope of Russian musical 
Nationalism — as the final figure in this volume. 

Igor Fedorovich Stravinsky was born at Oranien- 
baum on June 5, 1882. He is the son of Fedor Ignatie- 
vich Stravinsky, the celebrated singer associated with 
the Imperial (Maryinsky) Theatre in St. Petersburg. 


At the age of nine the boy was aheady giving proofs 
of natural musicianship and showed a particular apti- 
tude for piano playing, to the study of which he de- 
voted himself for a long thne. In 1902, while travel- 
ling abroad, he had the good fortune to fall in with 
Rimsky-Korsakoff and this meeting marks an epoch in 
his life. He began a course of study with the eminent 
professor, and although their views on the sphere of the 
art of music did not always coincide, the pupil made 
good use of his opportunities and perfected himself 
rapidly in the technique of composition. His first 
essay was a symphony composed in 1907, which has 
never been published, but is now, it appears, to be 
rescued from obscurity by public performance in Swit- 
zerland. This was followed by a vocal suite with piano 
accompaniment to the text of Pushkin's " Faun and 
Shepherdess." In 1908 came the "Scherzo Fantas- 
tique'' for orchestra, the symphonic fantasia, "Fire- 
works," which, by a curious freak of artistic judgment, 
has been submitted for the approval of an English 
manufacturer of Chinese crackers, a work in memory 
of Rimsky-Korsakoff (written on the death of his mas- 
ter), the four strange piano-studies which foreshadow 
the coming harmonic individuality, and three songs, 
one of which is the favourite "Pastorale." In 1909 he 
wrote the work which at the moment of writing is pro- 
mised for performance during the projected season of 
Russian opera in London. This is in a revised form 
and takes shape as a combination of opera and ballet. 
It is based on Hans Andersen's fairy-tale, " The Night- 
ingale." The two succeeding years saw the production 
of works which have made Stravinsky famous. The 
ballet, " The Firebird," has for its " plot " a legend 


which introduces once more to our notice the charac- 
ters of Rimsky-Korsakoff's " Kostchei," and once again 
we see the beautiful Tsarevna rescued from her hideous 
captor through Ivan's fortunate discovery of Kostchei's 
" death." In the music there is nothing of the so-called 
" anarchistic " tendency which is to be found in his later 
work. An individuality of expression, a wonderful 
charm of manner and a complete sureness in technique 
are its principal features. Here, as elsewhere, the com- 
poser shows a complete grasp of the possibilities of 
depicting the movement of life, both physical and psy- 
chological, in music. "The Firebird" was produced 
in Paris in igio. The second of the works dating from 
1910-11 is another ballet, " Petrouschka." Hearing 
this work one begins to understand that one is dealing 
with a composer whose horror of anything in the nature 
of cliche is adequately supported by his spontaneity 
of invention; he has chosen a subject which might well 
have been vulgarised by its treatment in a vein of pon- 
derous humour. Instead, we have something savour- 
ing of the delicate irony of Ravel and of Anatole 
France. "Petrouschka" (a blended counterpart of the 
English "Punch" and the Russian "Durak") is a story 
of love and hate in that fanciful domain in which we 
become aware of the existence of a soul hitherto con- 
sidered absent from such a corporeal habitation. The 
scene is a carnival, and among the mingled crowd of 
roysterers and mountebanks a showman, practised in 
the "black art," has erected his booth. In it are three 
animated dolls : the dance, "with the pinkest of waxen 
cheeks and the glassiest of stares," is flanked by a 
fierce blackamoor and the simple fool Petrouschka. 
These three enact a tragedy of jealousy which termin- 

" PETROUSCHKA." 3 1 5 

ates in the shedding of Petrouschka's vital sawdust. 
This ballet is, properly speaking, a travesty of human 
passion expressed in terms of puppet gestures and 
illumined by music as expositor. The carnival music 
is a sheer joy and the incidents making a demand upon 
music as a depictive medium have been treated not 
merely with marvellous skill but with unfailing instinct 
for the true satiric touch. " Petrouschka " is, in fact, 
the musical presentment of Russian fantastic humour 
in the second generation. There is none of the heavy 
scoring once necessary to reveal the humorous possi- 
bilities of some particular situation ; Stravinsky lives 
in a world which has learned to take certain things for 
granted, and his method is elliptical. This perception 
of proportion in humour is one of the surest indica- 
tions of refinement, and " Petrouschka " not only testi- 
fies to the composer's possession of this quality, but 
provides an assurance that he has a technical equip- 
ment that can hardly betray him. " Petrouschka " was 
first given at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris in 191 1. 

The reception of "The Crowning of Spring," com- 
posed during the winter of 191 2-3 and produced both in 
Paris and London in the following spring and summer, 
is fresh in the minds of those who participated in it. 
In this work Stravinsky has manifested a conviction 
that, despite the prevailing bias in favour of things as 
they are, music is an art which must progress and that 
its evolution, like that of mankind to whom it- minis- 
ters, is a natural condition of its existence. "The 
Crowning of Spring" has been described as the ritual 
of an imaginary religion, but there is a touch of actu- 
ality which connects the subject-matter with the beliefs 
of pagan Russia. It has two scenes, in which the rites 


devoted to the sun god Yarilo (whom we remember as 
the figure manacing and finally terminating the exist- 
ence of Snegourochka in Korsakoff's opera) are cele- 
brated. In setting this subject Stravinsky has turned 
his back on everything in the nature of conventional 
music and has given us a score which at the first hear- 
ing appears to confine itself to a rhythmical commen- 
tary upon the stage movement. In criticising the work 
the mistake was made of suggesting that Stravinsky's 
music had gone back to an elemental stage in an en- 
deavour to provide an appropriate setting for the pre- 
historic. In reality, of course, the movement was for- 
ward, in that music was used in a sphere to which it 
had hitherto been strange. That is progress. A com- 
poser who sets "The Creation" to living music is just 
as progressive as another who takes "The Last Judg- 
ment" as his theme. 

As a writer of songs, Stravinsky has gone to work 
in much the same spirit as that informing his composi- 
tions for orchestra. The two songs. Opus 6, " The 
Cloister,'' in which he makes use of a bell effect — a de- 
vice rendered familiar by its use by Korsakoff, Mous- 
sorgsk)', Borodin and other Russian composers — and 
" The Song of the Dew," which incorporates the tradi- 
tional flagellants' song, are by no means' as striking 
to the ear as the Verlaine example. Op. 9, with its effect 
of crude fifths; in fact, the first-mentioned has a com- 
monplace phrase or two — an uncommon blemish in the 
work of this composer. The two Balmont poems and 
the three recent Japanese songs with small orchestra are 
plainly the work of a composer who has no respect for 
the academic prejudice. To the list of compositions 
mentioned must be added a cantata completed in 191 1. 


THE regime from which the Paris State Opera-house 
is now happily emerging has its counterpart in 
the management of the Imperial Theatres of St. Peters- 
burg and Moscow, which are under government author- 
ity. Like most institutions of the kind, their admin- 
istration is thoroughly clogged by conservatism and 
private prejudices. To this is added the traditional 
governmental fear of enlightenment. It may have 
suggested itself to the reader that the banning of 
Grechaninoff's opera, "Sister Beatrice," is not to be re- 
garded as a peculiar product of Russian obscurantism, 
seeing that much nearer home we were long deprived 
of witnessing operas in which biblical personages ap- 
pear; but it must be borne in mind that in Russia it is 
not merely the impersonation of sacred characters that 
is objected to, and also that the mere substitution of 
secular names for such personages would not satisfy 
the objectors as in this country ; it is that the diseased 
mind of the bureaucrat fears every manifestation sug- 
gestive of freedom of thought, so that any dramatic 



work which has in any sense an ethical or exegetical 
function is in danger of summary extinction. As an 
illustration it is only necessary to recall the difficulties 
raised in respect of "Parsifal" productions. 

A very striking example of prejudice is the belated 
recognition of Moussorgsky's " Khovantchina." This 
work was not produced by the Imperial Theatres until 
some twenty years after its publication in the Rimsky- 
Korsakoff version. Its presentation at Moscow took 
place after its London performances and at St. Peters- 
burg only a month or so before. It seems odd, too, 
to read of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" among the 
"novelties" of last season at St. Petersburg. 

Fortunately the operatic art is not left to the by no 
means tender care of the Imperial authorities. The 
"private" operas in both the old capital and the new 
are doing useful work towards the encouragement of 
progress in the musico-dramatic art and in the domain 
of ballet. The private institution in Moscow, for in- 
stance, produced " Khovantchina " many years ago, and 
also gave the first performances of Rimsky-Korsa- 
koff's last opera, " The Golden Cock," which was banned 
by the Imperial directorate. That it has been at all 
possible to see a performance of the same composer's 
"Sadko" in recent times is due to the private enter- 
prise known as the Theatre of Music Drama in St. 
Petersburg. It has also fallen to the lot of Mr. Zimin, 
who presides over the destinies of the Moscow private 
concern (the Solodovnikoff Theatre) to mount both 
"Mlada" and "Czar Sahan." 

When we inquire into the state of popular taste in 
the sphere of opera, we meet with very positive evidence 
of the popularity of Tchaikovsky's music. Both at the 


Imperial Theatre and at Zimin's establishment, his 
operas are recognised as being the best " draw," and in 
response to demand they (and his ballets also) have 
been given more often than those of any other com- 
poser. Rimsky-Korsakoff follows closely behind. Two 
of Rubinstein's operas have been recently revived, but 
were pronounced inept. What strikes one as exceed- 
ingly strange and a little melancholy is, that apart from 
the two composers first mentioned, there were one hun- 
dred and thirty-three performances of foreign opera to 
thirty-one native. This may be due to the scarcity of 
new works by living composers; on the other hand, and 
what is more probable, it may be the cause of it. 

A different state of things prevails in the " Popular ' 
theatres of St. Petersburg and Moscow, institutions de- 
signed for the purpose of cultivating musical taste 
among the masses — an enterprise which succeeds better 
than when attempted among the aristocracy. At these 
establishments the demand for native opera is larger 
and the supply of Russian and foreign works has been 
in exactly the same proportion. 

No account of Russian concert undertakings would 
be complete without a special reference to the work of 
M. P. Belaieff, whose name has occurred with sufficient 
frequency in this volume and in such connection as to 
suggest the breadth of his influence in Russian musical 

Mitrophan Petrovich Eelaieff was born on February 
22, 1836, at St. Petersburg. He received a good musi- 
cal education, and even as a child was attracted to 
chamber-music, but it was not until he was nearly fifty 
years of age that he retired from the timber concern 
inherited from his father — exchanging proprietorship 


for the less burdensome role of shareholder — and de- 
voted himself exclusively to music. Pie died on Janu- 
ary lo, 1904, leaving a number of endowed musical 
institutions as a monument of his activity and bene- 

Among them are the Russian symphony concerts and 
chamber-music evenings. These are run by an advis- 
ory committee, consisting of three musicians qualified 
to exercise a wise selection of music. The first mem- 
bers of this triumvirate were Korsakoff, Liadoff and 
Glazounoff. Wihtol, Ossovsky and Pogojeff are the 
present officials with Artciboucheff as chairman. 

The extent to which Russian music benefits by the 
provision of this Mjecenas is best to be estimated by 
an enumeration of the several objects of his legacy. 
The "Belaieff Edition" is devoted to the publication 
of worthy native works. The "Glinka prizes" are 
awarded on the anniversary of the production of "A 
Life for the Czar" and "Russian and Ludmilla" (both 
first performed on November 27), for orchestral and 
chamber works. The annual chamber-music competi- 
tions have for their object the cultivation of quartet 
composition. Not least is the philanthropical scheme 
designed to relieve necessitous musicians. 

Concert undertakings both in St. Petersburg and 
Moscow are in a very thriving condition, artistically 
and financially. In addition to the schemes endowed 
by Belaieff, St. Petersburg has its free Sunday evening 
concerts, which have been running for some fifteen 
years and are being continued, thanks to the benefi- 
cence of Count Shermetieff, who has lately made him- 
self responsible for the requisite funds. The Imperial 
Russian Musical Society is active not only in St. Peters- 


burg and Moscow, where its concerts are usually con- 
ducted either by Safonoff, Emile Cooper or Ippolitoff- 
Ivanoff, but in other centres in different parts of the 
Empu'e. In both capitals there are series of concerts 
given by Mr. Kussevitzsky.who divides his programmes 
into classic and modern sections, and by Siloti, the 
eminent pianist, who also looks after the interests of 
chamber-music. The conductorship of the Moscow 
Philharmonic Society is distributed among several emin- 
ent musicians, among whom Safonoff and Rachman- 
inoff may be mentioned.* Both Kussevitzsky and Vas- 
silenko provide "popular" Sunday concerts at which 
symphonic music is to be heard at a trifling cost ; the 
latter series is arranged historically. The choral con- 
certs of the Imperial Society are directed by Cooper 
and Glazounoff. There is a new chamber-music society 
in Moscow, which devotes itself to classic and modern 
works of all nationalities, and a number of societies 
and private individuals vie with each other in making 
known music of worth in every possible direction.. 
Madame d'Alheim occupies herself actively with the 
propagation of the art-song. 

From this short account of musical affairs it is easy 
to perceive that the present prominent position of 
Russia in the musical world is likely to be upheld for 
some time to come. 

Between the above picture — drawn perhaps a little 

* Mr. Chevillard, the well-known Paris conductor, found him- 
self obliged, some years back, when reporting Russian progress, 
after a tour, to make some strictures upon the standard of or- 
chestral playing. He attributed certain faults to the practice of 
dispensing with a regular conductor. 



angularly — and that of musical society in Russia prior 
to the unfolding of the Nationalist banner, there is a 
contrast which, without knowledge of the circumstances 
contributing to this amazing development, might easily 
give rise to scornful disbelief, to a suggestion that the 
bright colours of the present or the gloomy ones of the 
past are laid on in response to the dictates of a feverish 

Had Balakireff dared to foretell, during his first con- 
fabulation with Cui, such a rosy future as has evolved 
about his schemes, he might easily have been regarded 
as the living prototype of the optimistic Dodon in " The 
Golden Cock." 

The author brings his labours to a close with the hope 
that the present volume, whatever be its limitations, will 
at least provide a chronicle adequate to the purpose of 
showing that this phenomenon — the Russian musical 
movement — is not the work of a magician who in one 
night has raised the most active and progressive school 
of composition in the world, but is the fruit of fifty 
years of unremitting labour in the pursuit of an ideal. 




Alfheraky, a. Comes from Kharkoff, in the 

(1846). centre of ths LTkraine, and is par- 

tial to its folk-songs. Confines 
himself to the piano and the voice. Has publishsd 
songs to Russian texts of Pushkin, Tolstoi and Lermon- 
toff; also to those of Heine, Hugo, Musset and Goethe. 
Amani, N. y\ pupil of Rimsky-Korsakoff. Corn- 

el S75- 1504). bined Ukrainian folk-song and Orien- 
talism as inspiration. Wrote princi- 
pally for piano. The Themes with Variations, Op. 3, 
the Suite, Op. 4, and Three Preludes, Op. 8, and "Album 
for the Young," Op. 15, are all for this instrument. 
Op. I is a string trio. 

Artciboucheff, N. Has written slight works for 

orchestra, such as "Valse Fan- 
tasia," Op. 9. Is represented in the "Vendredis" col- 
lection and the joint "Variations on a Popular Theme" 



(both for string quartet). Three "Melodies" to texts 
of Pushkin, Nikitin and Fett. 

Rlaramberg, p. I. Was for a time a journalist. 

(1841). A friend and pupil of Bala- 

kireff. Wrote incidental music 
to Ostrovsky's " Voyevoda " and a cantata on Lermon- 
toff's " Demon." His operatic works include " Mary of 
Burgundy " (ITugo), " The Mummers," " Russalka," 
"Tushino" (Ostrovsky). Cheshikin styles him "melo- 
dist." Other works include a fantasia, "The Dragon 
Flies," for solo, chorus and orchestra, a musical sketch, 
" On the \'olga," for male chorus and orchestra, sym- 
phonic poem, "The Dying Gladiator," a symphony in 
R minor and a sinfonietta, a few folk-songs for chorus, 
unaccompanied, and several songs. 

Eleichmann, J. I. Pupil of Solovieff and Rim- 

(1868-1909). sky-Korsakoff at St. Petersburg, 

and of Rcmecke and Jadassohn 
at Leipzig. Composer of songs of a "popular" type, 
of piano and violm pieces, a piano sonata. Op. 15, 
another with violin, an orchestral suite and a sacred 
work for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, " Sebastian 
the Martyr." Has also given an operatic setting to Ros- 
tand's "Princesse Lointaine." 

Blumenfeld, F Allied with the " Nationalists." 

(1863). Has held the post of conductor 

at the Imperial Opera, St. Peters- 
burg. Composer of an " Allegro de Concert '' in A, for 
piano and orchestra, a Symphony in C, Op. 39, and an 
orchestral mazurka ; songs to Russian texts and Byron ; 
many piano pieces, studies and preludes in all keys. A 


Quartet, Op. 26, in F, and his contributions to the col- 
laborative quartets represent his chamber-music. 

EWALD, V. Was the 'cellist at the Belaieff Friday 

(i860). meetings and has contributed to the 

"Vendredis" collection. Has also 

written a Quartet (Op. i), a Quintet (Op. 4), and some 

'cello pieces. 

Gniessin, M. a young representative of the pre- 

sent movement. His works evince a 
German tendency. They include a "Symphonic Frag- 
ment after Shelley,'' Op. 4, a .Sonata-ballad in C sharp 
minor for piano and 'cello Op. 7, and some valuable songs. 
Gniessin was awarded one of the "Glinka" prizes in 
1913 for his symphonic poem, "Wrubel." 

GOEDICKE, A, Has composed two symphonies. 

Opus 15 and 16, a Dramatic Over- 
ture, Op. 7, a Piano Trio, Op. 14, a Piano and Violin 
Sonata, Op. 10, a Piano Sonata, Op. 18, a " Concert- 
stiick" with orchestra, and small pieces, including a 
prelude after Maeterlinck's "The Blind." 

ILYNSKY, A. A. Studied under KuUak and Bar- 

(1859). giel at Eerlin. Was for a time pro- 

fessor at the Moscow Philharmonic 
Society's music school. His orchestral works include 
Croatian dances, a Symphonic Scherzo, Op. 3, and an 
"Overture to Czar Feodor" (from A. Tolstoi's trilogy). 
Flas composed an opera on Pushkin's "Fountain of the 
Bakchisserai," a string quartet, a suite for two pianos 
on "Nour and Anitra," Op. 13 (since arranged for or- 
cliestra) and various violin and piano pieces. 


JUON, P. Lives in Berlin. His recent works in- 

(1872). elude two Piano Quintets, Opus 33 and 

44, a " Divertimento/' for flute, oboe, clar- 
inet, horn, bassoon and piano, a Piano Rhapsody, Op. 
37, a Concerto for 'cello, Op. 45, one for violin and 
smaller piano works. 

Kalinnikoff, V. S. Studied at the Moscow Phil- 

(1866-1900). harmonic Society's school under 

Ilynsky and Blaramberg. Was 
then offered post of assistant-conductor at the Italian 
Opera, but shortly afterwards died of consumption 
and the effects of semi-starvation, fie wrote two sym- 
phonies (in G minor and A), of which the first is now 
often played, and other orchestral works; incidental 
music to A. Tolstoi's "Czar Boris" (from the trilogy), 
"Russalka," a ballad for solo voice, chorus and orches- 
tra, a tone-poem, " The Cedar and the Palm," a quartet 
and two miniatures for string quartet with double-bass 
ad libitrmt (he was a fellow-student of Mr. Kussevitz- 
sky, the celebrated contra-bassist and conductor), and 
some songs and piano pieces. 

KaraTIGIN, W. G. Edited Moussorgsky's post- 

humour works. Has also written 
some songs with a folk-lore basis. Is a "polisher" who 
apparently exercises great discrimination in the publi- 
cation of his own output. 

Kazachenko, G. a. Studied for nine years with 

(1858). Rimsky-Korsakoff and has ar- 

ranged the litter's opera, 
" Snegourochka," for piano. An instrumental and 
vocal composer, has written an opera, " Prince Sere- 
breny" (A. Tolstoi), which was produced at St. Peters- 


burg in 1892. Is chorus-master at St. Petersburg Im- 
perial Oper.i. 

Kahhkin, N. D. Teacher and critic, and author 

(1839). of "Reminiscences of Tchaikov- 

sky." Taught himself until i860, 
when he took lessons from Dubuque, and was subse- 
quently appointed to the staff of Moscow Conserva- 
toire. A close friend of Tchaikovsky. 
KOPYLOFF, A. Was a pupil of Liadoff. His or- 

(1854). chestral works include a Symphony 

in C major, Op. 14, a Scherzo, Op. 
10, and a Concert-overture, Op. 41. Has published 
two Quartets, Opus 15 and 23, an Andantino and Pre- 
lude and Fugue en the name Belaieff, some songs, un- 
accompanied choruses and piano pieces. Among, the 
latter are those (Op. S^) entitled "Pictures of Child 

KORESTSCHENKO, A. N. Gold medallist of Mos- 

(1870). cow Conservatoire for both 

piano and theory, which 
he studied with Taneieff and Arensky respectively. Is 
now himself professor of harmony at that institution. 
Has written three operas, a ballet, "The Magic Mir- 
ror," some incidental music, a number of orchestral 
works, including a "Lyric Symphony," Georgian and 
Armenian songs (with orchestra), a "Prologue" cele- 
brating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Moscow 
Conservatoire, a string quartet, a large number of sorgs 
and some piano and violin pieces. liis style resembles 
that of Tchaikovsky and Arensky. 

Kryjanovsky, J. Belongs to the present-day 

movement and is an eclectic. His 


output IS small and is chiefly for piano. There is an 
excellent sonata for piano and violin, Op. 4. 
I.I3SENK0, N. V. A pupil of Rimsky-Korsakoff. 

(1842). Has written several operas, and, 

like his master, has set Gogol's 
"Night in May" and "Christmas Eve." He has also 
taken the same author's "Tarass Boulba" as text. 
Malichevsky, W. Is one of the most important 

present-day composers. His 
music is virtually unknown in England, and has onl)' 
been heard, we believe, in Bournemouth, where Mr. 
Godfrey has given performances of his first three sym- 
phonies, Opus 8 (in G), 10 (in A), and 14. He has 
published three Quartets, Opus 2, 3 and 6, and a 
Violin Sonata, Op. i. 
Melgounoff, J. N. \\'as associated with West- 

( 1 846-93). phal in his effort to promote 

a proper understanding of 
rhythm. Joined Laub and then Davidoff as accom- 
panist on their concert tours. He then devoted him- 
self to the study of folk-song, discovered that the uni- 
versal method of noting these melodies was wrong, 
and advocated their arrangement in accordance with 
the polyphonic rendering given by the people who sing 
them. Melgounoff wrote treatises on kindred subjects. 

OSTROGLAZOFF, M. A determined though some- 

what restless eclectic. A piano 
and violin sonata. Op. 10, displays considerable stylis- 
tic uncertainty. There is a "Crepuscule" for orches- 
tra, Op. 1 1. 

POGOJEFF, W. His chamber works, which are 

fairly well-known, include a theme 


and variations for quartet, a " Ouartettino " and 
another specimen for the same combination, in D. Has 
written a little for orchestra and a good deal for piano. 
For the last there are four fugues on "B A C H." 

Prokofieff, S. a pupil of Gliere and Liadoff; 

(1891). he does not appear to have yet 

published anything for orchestra, 
but has written a one-act opera and a piano concerto. 
A pimo sonata marked Op. I (1909) reminds us, even 
more forcibly than his birth-date, of his youth. The 
second Sonata, Op. 14 (1912) shows an immense ad- 
vance on the earlier work. 

Sachnovsky. Like Prokofieff, belongs to the ris- 

ing generation. His songs merit at- 
tention. A part-song, "The Pampas Grass," his lately 
been published. 

SafONOFF, V. I. Studied theory with Zikke and 

(1852). Zaremba, piano with Erassin, sub- 

sequently taking gold medal at 
St. Petersburg Conservatoire. Undertook extensive 
tour as pianist. After holding a sub-professorship at 
St. Petersburg went to Moscow, and in 1 889 succeeded 
Taneieff as director. Since 1890, when he became con- 
ductor of the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical 
Society, has achieved world-wide fame. Was for three 
years conductor of New York Philharmonic Orches- 
tra. Has formed several celebrated piano pupils, in- 
cluding Scriabin. 

SenILOFF. Pupil of Dr. Riemann in Leipzig and 

(1875). later of Korsakoff and Glazounoff. Has 

preserved the style derived from his 


earlier environment, but certain of his songs prove that 
he is ahve to the importance of autochtonus material 
as literary substance. Has composed some symphonic 

.SiLOTi, A. After six years' study at Moscow 

(1863). Conservatoire under N. Rubinstein, 

Tchaikovsky and Hubert, became a 
pupil of Liszt. Was appointed professor at Moscow 
in 1880. Conducted the Philharmonic concerts there 
in 1901-2 and has appeared all over Europe as solo- 

SOKOLOFF, N. A. Was a pupil of Korsakoff 

(1859). from 1877 to 1885, and was as- 

sociated with the junior nation- 
ists and with the Eelaieff "Fridays" group. His 
chamber-music comprises three Quartets, Opus 7, in F, 
14, in A, and 20, in D minor, a String Quintet, Op. 3, 
and a serenade on " Eelaieff." He also contributed to 
the "Vendredis" collection. For orchestra, there arc 
the dramatic poem after Tolstoi's "Don Juan," and an 
elegie and a serenade for strings. He has written a 
ballet, "The Wild Swans,'' Op. 40, some choruses, a 
large number of songs and several pieces for violin, 
violoncello and piano, respectively. 

Spendiaroff, a. Belongs to the neo-nationalists. 

Orchestral compositions which 
have gained attention are the symphonic tableau, " The 
Three Palm-Trees" (after Lemiontoff) and "Sketches 
from the Crimea." I-Ias published some works for 
small orchestra and some violin pieces. 


Stcherbatcheff, N. v. Associated with the ori- 

(1853). ginal "young Russian" 

circle and contributed a 
supplementary piece to the "Paraphrases" (initiated 
by Borodin). Is a prolific composer for piano and has 
set twelve poems of A. Tolstoi and Heine. His or- 
chestral work consists of a Serenade, Op. }^, and two 

Taneieff, a. S. a highly-placed State official, 

(1850). a friend of Glinka and later of 

Balakireff and Moussorgsky. First 
studied with Reichel at Dresden, and in 1886 began 
taking lessons with Rimsky-Korsakoff. His composi- 
tions have been widely performed. An opera, " Cupid's 
Revenge," is severel)? criticised by Cheshikin. He is 
credited with a nationalistic style in his later work 
and the trio and scherzo of his second Symphony, Op. 
21, completed in 1902, is cited as an example. Has 
composed three symphonies, a symphonic tableau, 
" Aleosha Popovich," an overture to " Hamlet," three 
Cjuartets, choruses, some violin pieces and several songs, 
and has orchestrated Sinding's "Dance Orientale" for 
its adaptation as ballet music. 

TiNIAKOFF, A. One of the younger school. Com- 

poser of piano music in the style of 
Scriabin as Chopinist, and some songs. 

WlHTOL, J. A contemporary of Arensky as pupil 

(1863). of Johansen and Korsakoff. Has occu- 

pied himself largely with the popu- 
larisation of Lettish folk-tunes which he has made the 
basis of such compositions as the small Orchestral 
Suite, Op. 29, the Symphonic Tableau, Op. 4, the Fan- 


tasia for violin, Op. 42, and the Variations for pianu, 
Op. 6. In addition there are two works for orche.stra, 
the "Dramatic Overture," Op. 21, and the "Spriditis" 
overture. Op. 37, a String Quartet, Op. 27, a piano 
sonata and several instrumental pieces and songs. He 
has served on the Belaieff committee and has contri- 
buted to both dedicatory quartet collections. 

Zelensky, L. Of Polish extraction; his best 

known orchestral work is a suite of 
Polish dances. He has published a Trio for piano 
and clarinet and 'cello, Op. 3, some worthy songs and a 
number of instrumental pieces. 

ZOLOTAREFF, B. Is the composer of several or- 

chestral works; included among 
them are a " Fete Villageoise," Op. 24, a Hebrew Rhap- 
sody, Op. 7, and a Symphony, Op. 8. He has made an 
important contribution to the chamber repertory in the 
shape of four quartets and a string quintet, also a trio 
for violin, viola and piano. He is a distinguished 
song writer. There are some small piano pieces and a 
suite for violin. His music is nationalistic in tendency. 


(a) "The Russalkas are female water-sprites, who 
occupy a position which corresponds in many respects 
wilii that filled by the elves and fairies of Western 
Europe. The origin of their name seems doubtful, but 
it appears to be connected with riis, an old Slavonic 
word for a stream, or with nislo, the bed of a river, 
and with several other kindred words, such as rosd, 
dew, which have reference to water. They are gener- 
ally represented under the form of beauteous maidens 
with full and snow-white bosoms, and with long and 
slender limbs. At times they emerge from the waters 
of the lake or river in which they dwell, and sit upon 
its banks,' combing and plaiting their flowing locks, or 
they cling to a mill-wheel, and turn round with it amid 
the splash of the stream." (From W. R. S. Ralston's 
"Songs of the Russian People"). 

(b) The plot of " Russalka," which is in four acts, is 


as follows: Natasha, a millers daughter, is wooed by 
a young prince. She is in no doubt as to his sincerity 
and allows herself to become his wife m all but law. 
\\'hen she learns that her lover has been unable to 
free himself from the social obligation of marrying 
within his own rank she throws herself into the mill- 
slream, is drowned, and becomes a Russalka. In the 
.second act the prince appears on the scene of his clan- 
destine amours after an interval of two )ears of un- 
happy married life and is approached by a young Rus- 
salka who informs him that she is his child. At the 
mention of Natasha the recollection of his early pas- 
sion is revived and for a time he vacillates between 
flight and reunion with his paramour. Before he is 
able to decide, the miller, who has been driven out of 
his senses by his daughter's betrayal, hurls the prince 
into the river. 



Akimenko, 282, 303-4. 

, choruses, 304. 

, "Lyric Poem," 304. 

, " Pages de ijoesie faii- 

tasqiip," 304. 

-, "Queen of the Ali)s," 


-f " Senate fantastique," 

Alabieff, 7. 
Alexander I, 87. 

jr, 104. 

Ill, 272-3. 

D'Alheim, 321. 

Altani, 290. 

Anne (Empress), 5-6. 

.-\ruya, 5. 

Arenskv, 235, 240-1, 255-9, 274, 

283, 287. 

, hiisso ostinain, 257. 

, " Dream ontheVolga," 



-, duets for two jjianos, 

fantasia on epic 
chants, 258-9. 

Fountain of Bakt- 

chissarai," 258. 
, " Nal andDamayanti," 

, "Night in Egypt," 


A r en sky, orcliestral suite 
(third), 256. 

piano concerto, 256. 
piano quintet, 258. 
"Kaphael," 258. 
string quartets, 256, 
259. ' 

.svniplionv (first), 256. 
"Trariata," 257. 
trio, 256, 259. 
variations (Op. 54), 
256. ■ 
Artciboucheff, 320. 
Asanchevsky, 117, 189. 
Auber, 78. 
Auer, 275. 


Balakireff, 28, 38-9, 63-73, 77, 
79, 88, 91-2, 99, 119-20, 122, 
125, 177, 181-4, 188, 194-5, 
201-2, 240-2, 244. 247, 253-4, 
258, 262, 265, 267, 271, 303, 

Czechish overture, 67. 
" Bohemian " jDoem, 



" Golden Fish," 72. 
"Islamey," 69. 
"King Lear." 67-8. 
"Rus.sia," 68. 
Spanish overture, 70. 
" Selim's Song," 72. 
"Thamar," 68-71. 




Baliuont, 316. 

Bamberg, 77. 

Baring. 268-9. 

Basili, 14. 

Beaumarchais, 214. 

Beetlioven, 4, 47, 103, 110. 

Belaieff, 106, 2J0, 219, 242, 
248-50, 319-20. 

Bellaigue, 172-3. 

Bellini, CO. 

Belskv, 216, 227. 

Benkendorft, 57-8. 

Berezovsky, 6. 

Berlioz, i; 25, 32, 49, 60, 71-2, 

, " Harold in Italy," 71. 

Bertin, 32. 

Bertrand, 48, 53-4. 

Bessel, 94. 

Bilibin, 252. 

Boehm, 11. 

Boieldien, 13. 

Borodin, 2, 38. 63-5, 68, 70, 72, 
80, 86-107, 117, 119, 121, 126, 
150, 181-2, 188-9, 194, 200, 
203, 212, 245, 247-8, 2.50, 289, 
300, 316. 

, Belaieff quartet, 106. 

'Czar's Betrothed," 


" Dim Forest," 93. 
" Dissonance," 93. 
" My Song is Bitter,'' 

" Paraphrases, 




, " Prince Igor," 63, 94, 

90-100, 103-4, 195, 200. 

' Qneen of the Ocean," 



sextet, 90. 
"Sleeping Beauty, 

' Steppes of Central 
A.sia," 103. 

s.vmphony (A minor), 

s.yraphony (E flat), 92. 


Bortniansky, 6, 50. 
Bourgault-Ducoudray, 242. 

Brahms, 244, 276, 283. 
Byron, 123. 

Calvocoressi, 27, 41, 128, 165-0, 

Catherine II, 5-6. 

Catoire, 309-10. 

. "Mz.yri," 309. 

, piano and violin son- 
ata, 310. 

, piano concerto, 310. 

, preludes, 310. 

, quintet, 310. 

, '■Russalka,"310. 

-, symphony (C minor), 


, trio, 310. 

, Tioutscheff poems, 310. 

Cavos, 5. 

Chaliapin, 285. 

Charpentier, 128. 

Cheshikin, 185, 208, 212, 221, 
271, 300-1. 

Chestakoff, 131, 183. 

Chesterton, 268. 

Chevchenko, 128. 

Chopin, 72, 224, 250, 264, 282, 

Combarieu, 149. 

Cooper, 321. 

Cui, 2, 36, 38, 40, 42, 51-2, 64-5, 
68, 72, 74-86, 94, 99, 103, 105, 
113, 119-20, 128, 150, 174, 
182, 185, 189-90, 195, 203, 
247, 260, 263, 265, 272, 293, 

, "Angelo," 74, 80-1. 

. "Cedar," 82. 

, " Feast in Plague- 
time," 83. 

, " Filibusterer," 82-3. 

, "Mam'selle Fifi," 83. 

-"Mandarin's Son," 78, 



-, " Music in Russia," 82, 
Pri.soner of the Cau- 

ca.sus," 78, 81-2. 



Cui, "RatclifF," 78,81. 

, "Saracei)," 82-3. 

, " Solemn xAIardi," 81. 

, " The Rock," 82. 


Daigomijskv, 28, 30-44, 54, 63, 
75, 77, 114, 119, 125. 128-32, 
147, 180, 185, 189, 194, 213, 
221, 265 272. 

, "Baba-Yaga," 44. 

-, "Dance of Mummers," 



- "Don Juan," 41. 
_; " Esmeralda," 32, 35. 
-, " Fantasia,' 

Folk-songs, 68, 75, 253, 288, 

Foniin, 5. 

, "Matinsky," 5. 

Fouque, 63. 

Fiance, Anatole, 314. 


Galitzin, 12. 
Galuppi, 6. 
Gavrouschkievich, 89. 
Giacometti, 50. 

Glazounoff, 68, 100, 106-7, 200, 
230, 235, 239-51, 307, 320-1. 
Antokolsky cantata. 

41, 43. 

'Kazachok," 37. 
"Kussalka," 35, 37, 

"Russian Legend," 

!_, "Stone-Guest," 38, 

41, 43, 75, 99, 125, 130, 180, 
185, 180. ^ ,, 

" 't'iiunii)li of Bac- 

duis," 34. 
Debussy, 41, 169, 295, 300. 
; "Pelleas et Meh- 

sande," 41. 
Delui, 14, 28, 32. 
Delibes, 95. 
Dickens, 55. 
Dio, 76. 
Dumas, 76, 82. 
fits, 257. 

Elenkovsky, 241. ^ _ „ 
Elizabeth (Empress), o-b. 


Famvntsin, 127, 140, 203. 
Faure, 309. 
Fetis, 30. 
Field, 11, 115. 
Flaubert, 124. 



Belaieff quartet, 106. 
"Carnival" overture, 

"Cortege Soleunel," 

, "Delia," 248. 

, " Desire," 248. 

— . fifth symphony, 247. 
— , Finnish fantasia, 246. 
first Greek overture, 


first symphony, 243, 

, "Forest," 244-5. 

, fourth symphony, 247. 

, "Id.ylle," 247. 

, " Kalevala Legend," 


, "Kremlin," 244, 247. 

, "Middle Ages" suite, 

244, 246. 

, " Nereid," 248. 

, "Novelettes," 248. 

' Oriental Reverie," 


1, " Oriental Rhapsody," 

244, 247. 


Oriental Romance," 

quartet in D, 242. 
quartets, 242, 248. 
"Raymonda," 244-6. 



GlazounofF, S.A.S.C.H.A. 

suite, '242. 

, "Sea," 244, 247. 

, second Greek overture, 

242, 247. 

second symi^bony, 243, 


Slavonic Festival 

244, 248. 

tongs, Op. 59 and GO, 


' Stenka Razin,' 
243-4, 247. 

third symphony, 247. 

Gliere, 281-2, 287-9. 

, duets, two 'cellos, 288. 

, duets, two violins. 288. 

, duets, violin and 'cello, 

, first syiiipliony, 288. 

. Moniometz 289, 302. 

, octet, 288. 

, quartets, 287-8. 

, '-Seasons," 288. 

, second svmplionv, 288. 

, sextets, 288. 

, " Sirens," 287-8. 

Glinka, 1, 8-311, 32, 35, 38-40, 
43, 52, 54, C3-4, 07-8, 72-3, 
119, 131, 180, 183, 234, 247-8, 
252, 264, 272, 320. 

, " Jotrt .\ragonesa," 27. 

, " Kaniarinskaya," 27. 

Life for tlie Czar," 

8, 13, 15-8, G3, 67, 320. 
, "Xight in Madrid," 

, "Prince Kholrasky," 

, "Russian and Lnd- 

niilla," 20-4, 63, 99, 245, 320. 
Tarass Boulba," 27. 

Gluck, 108. 

Goetlie, 309. 

Gogol 15, 27, 43, 55, 128, 175, 

195, 197, 206-7, 246, 269. 
Golenicheff-Koutousoff, 169-71. 
Gorky, 269. 
Gounod, 59. 

Grechaninoff, 235, 282, 300-2. 
" Aleosha Popovich," 



'Czar Boris," 301.. 
'Czar Feodor,'; 301. 
' Dobrinya Nikiticb,' 

-, quartets, 301. 

" Sister Beatrice,' 

302, 317. 

, " Snow-raaiden," 301. 

, s.yniphonies, 302, 

Gi'iboiedoflt, 43. 

Grieg, 144. 

Grove, 260. 

Gucewicz, 76. 

Guedeanoff (Princel, 87. 

Guedeonoff, 94-5, 150, 203, 206. 



Hartmann. 140, 1U7, 169. 

Heine, 78, 309. 

Helena Pavlovna (Grand 

Duches.s), 206. 
Herke, 116. 
Hermann, 76. 
Hubert, 275. 
Hugo, 32, 76, 80, 117. 
, " Lucrezia Borgia," 



Ibsen. 87. 

Ipijolitoft-Ivanoff. 235, 282. 

287, 289-91, 299, 321. 
, Armenian rhapsodv, 


. " Asra," 290. 

, "Assya," 291. 

, cantatas, 291. 

, " CflucnsianSketclies," 

289, 291. 

, "Iveria," 291. 

, Moorish melodies, 291. 

, quartet, 289. 

, suite, 291. 

, " Yar Khrael," 291. 



Ivanoff, 13. 
Ivaiiovsky, 121-2. 

LiadofF, Belaieff Birthday 
quartet, 250. 

-, Belaieff quartet, 100, 

Jacobs, 2G8. 
Jakscli, 306. 
Jadoul, 105. 
Jerome, 268. 
Johansen, 251, 256. 
Joukovsky, 15-6, 57. 


Kauille, 182. 
Kantemir, 43. 
Karanizin, 133. 
Karmaliua, 70. 
Kholodkoff, 241. 
Kipling, 181, 268. 
Klindworth, 309. 
Koltsoff, 127. 
Kondratieff, 132. 
Kontski, 241. 
Krouglikiff. 174, 263, 265. 
Kroupskv, 116, 143, 163. 
Kryloff, 43. 
Kukolnik, 25. 
Kussevitsky, 2, 321. 



Lamourenx, 104. 

Langer, 274. 

l.aroche, 93, 247. 

Lenz, von, 242. 

Leonoff. 176. 

LermontofF, 69, 83, 186, 271, 

285, 310. 
Liadoff. 68, 103. 106, 120, 175, 

200, 235, 240, 248, 250-3, 303, 

309, 320. 

'Amazons' Dance, 



Antokolsky cantata, 

., "Arabesque," 252. 
, "Baba-Yaga," 252. 



' Bironlki," 252. 
' Bride of Mes-sina, 

^, "Enchanted Lake," 


H, Maeterlinck suite, 252. 

, orchestral songs, 252. 

, "Paraphrases," 250. 

, polonaise, 252. 

Schumann's "Carni- 

val," 250. 

, " Sylphides, Les," 250. 

, variations for quartet, 


, "Vendredis," 250. 

Liadoff, C, 120, 251. 
Liapouiioff, 71, 240, 252-4. 
. "Concert Overture, 


1 "Divertissements," 

254. ' 
, "Etudes transcend- 

entes," 254. 

, folk-songs, 253. 

, "Ganges," 254. 

, " On the Steppe," 254. 

, "Oriental Romance," 


, piano concerto, 254. 

, "Solemn Overture," 

, symphony, 253. 

-, s.ymphonie poem, 253. 

-, Ukrainian rhapsody, 

Lipaeff, 301. 
Lissenko, 207. 
Liszt, 25, 48, 64, 69, 71-3, 92, 

101-4, 115, 150, 200, 242-3, 

247, 254, 264, 294. 
Ijomakin, 68. 
Lomono=soft, 5. 
Lvoff, 45, 56-60. ^ , 
" Bianca and Gual- 

tiero," 59. 

, "Duel," 59. 




Lvoff, " Embroideress," 59. 

, soldiers' songs, 60. 

, "Stabat Mater," 59. 

, "Stai-osta Boris," 59. 

, "Undine," 59. 

. "Village Bailiff," 59. 


Maeterlinck, 252, 302. 

Maikoff, 51, 235, 304. 

Martini, 6. 

Maupassant, 83. 

Meek, von, 51, G4, 72, 191. 

Medtner, 283, 307-9. 

, first sonata, 308-9. 

, x)iano and violin noc- 
turnes, 309. 

, piano and violin son- 
ata, 309. 

Mendeleieff, 90. 

Mendelssohn, 122. 

Mercv-Ai'genteau (Countess), 
81-2, 105, 203. 

Mey, 93, 128. 130. 185, 211, 215. 

Meyerbeer, 25, 27-8, 34, 49, 60, 

Michael Romanoff, 15. 

Minkus, 95. 

Moniuszko, 76. 

Mourometz, 289, 302. 

Moussorsskv, 38, 63-5, 68. 84. 
88, 90-1, 94, 99. 102-4, 108-78, 
180-3, 186-9. 193 195, 199, 
203, 247, 251, 253, 263, 265, 
293, 316. 

, " Bare Mountain," 

127, 150, 206. 

. "Boris GodounofF." 

63. 84 119. 131-52. 162-5, 
167, 175-6, 194, 271, 300. 

, "Child's Song," 130, 


. "Classicist." 127, 146. 

, "Don," 127. 

, " Ensigns' Polka," 116. 

, " Eremouchka." 130. 

, "Flea Song," 176. 

. "Han d'islande," 117. 

Moussorgsky, " Hopak," 128, 

136, 175. 

. "Joshua," 175. 

, " Kallistrate," 125. 

, " Khovantchina," 

151-66, 174, 177, 189, 318. 

, "Magpie," 127. 

•'Marriage," 128-9, 

131, 234. 

"Mlada," 95-6, 103, 

150-1, 175-6, 189 

, "N'ight," 125. 

. "Nursery," 125, 130, 


. "CEdipus," 120, 251. 

. "Orphan," 129. 

Peasant's Cradle- 

song," 125. 

, "Peep-show," 146-7, 


. " Pictures from an Ex- 
hibition," 167-9. 

. "Ragamuffin," 127. 

, "Salarambo," 124, 

127, 141, 175. 

, "Saul," 123. 

, "Savichna," 126. 143, 

, "Seminarist," 127. 

, "Sennacherib," 126. 

. " Songs and Dances of 

Death," 171-4. 

, " Sorotchinsk," 175. 

' Souvenir of Child- 

hood," 117. 
, "Without Sunlight," 

Moussorgsky, Ph., 115. 
Mozart, 47.'212-3. 

, "Figaro," 214. 

Muhler, 306. 


Napoleon, 75. 

Napravnik, 81, 100. 

National Anthem. 56. 58, 60. 

Nekrassoft, 83, 125, 284. 

Newmarch, Mrs. Rosa, 295. 

Nietzsche, 309. 

Nicholas I, 7, 14, 46, 56-8. 



Nikiscli, 104. 
NikoUky. 131, 141. 
Nikon, 152-3. 


Obolensky, 117. 

Ossovsky, 320. 

Ostrovskv, 54, 125, 197, 269. 

, "Snow-maiden," 301. 

, " Voyevod©," 125, 257. 

Oulibioheff, 47, 66-7. 

Paganini, 254. 

Patti, 146. 

Peter the Great, 5-6, 154. 

Petroff, 175-6. 

Petrova, 24. 

Petiovsky, 221. 

Pee, 286. 

Pogojeff, 320. 

Polonskv, 206. 

Ponchie'lli, 80. 

, "Giocoiula," 80. 

Popoff, 118, 121. 

Pougin, 24, 42, 48, 52. 

Pourgold, 132, 194. 

Pratsch, 4. 

Puccini, 128, 318. 

Pushkin. 5, 15, 20-1, 34-5, 41. 
78, 83, 104, 127, 131, 133-5, 
185, 194-5, 206, 213, 216, 231, 
248, 252, 258, 284, 313. 


Kachinaninoff, 272, 281-6, 293, 
301. 321. 

. " Aleko," 284, 286. 

, Bohemian caprice, 285. 

, "Covetous Knight," 


, "Fate," 286. 

. first symphony, 285. 

, " Francesca da Rim- 
ini," 286. 

, " Island of the Dead," 


Rachmaninoff, "Lilacs," 286. 
, " MomentsMusicaux," 


, piano duets, 286. 

, piano preludes, 286. 

, piano suites, 286. 

, prelude in C sharij 

minor, 284. 
, second piano concerto, 




second symphony, 285. 
sonatas, 285-6. 
"Spring" cantata, 

" The Bells," 286. 
"The Rock," 285. 
third iiiano concerto, 

, trio, 285. 

, variations on theme of 

Chopin, 286. 
Ralston, 222. 
Raskolniks, 151, 153. 
Ravel, 165, 314. 
Rebikoff, 305-6. 

"Christmas Tree," 



" Melo-mimicg," 306. 

"Psychological Sket- 


"Storm," 306. 
"Thea," 306. 

'Woman with the 

Dagger," 306. 

Repin, 177, 247. 

Riabinin, 132. 

Richepin, 83. 

63-5, 70-1, 88, 91 
103-4, 106-7, 113 
132, 141, 146, 
179-236, 239-40 

2, 38, 42, 

94-5, 100, 

126, 129, 

150, 164-5, 

242, 245-9, 

251, 253, 256-7. 262, 265, 269, 
272-3, 275, 282-3, 289, 293, 
301, 303, 305, 307, 313-4, 316, 

, A., 165. 

, "Antar," 104, 189-91. 



Rimsky-Korsakoff, B e 1 a i e ff 
quartet, 106. 

, ' ' Caiiriccio Espag- 

nole," 200-1. 

"Christmas Eve Be- 
' 206-8. 

"Doom of Gleg," 235. 

" Doubinouchka," 235. 

' ' Easter " overture, 



first symphony, 189, 

folk-song collection 
(Op.' 24), 193. 

folk-songs for chorus, 


-, " Ganges," 235. 

, "Gloria," 235. 

, " Golden Cock," 230-3. 

318, 322. 

, "Kitej," 227, 236, 

239, 300. 

"Kostchei," 221-4, 

227, 291, 314. 

'Mlada," 203-6, 208, 

219, 221-2, 318. 

, Mme., 129, 194. 

" Mozart and Salieri," 

213-4, 220, 234. 

, "Night," 235. 

' Night in May," 

195-7, 212. 

, "Nymph," 235. 

, oriental song, 235. 

, "Pan Voyevoda," 


, piano concerto, 200. 

' Pskovitianka " 

("Ivan the Terrible"), 63, 
186-9, 194, 196, 212-6. 

, quartet, 193. 

'Eose enslaves the 

Nightingale," 235. 

'Sadko" (opera), 

208-11, 216, 221, 224, 230, 
289, 318. 

'Sadko" (symphonic 

poem), 183-4, 192. 
. " Scheherazade," 

Rimsky-Korsakoff, second sym- 
phony, 190. 

, "Servilia," 219, 221, 


, " Sinfonietta on Rus- 
sian Themes," 193. 

, " Snowmaiden " 

("Sneeourochka"), 197-9, 
208, 224, 227, 230, 316. 

, symphonic tale(" Russ- 
ian and Ludrailla"), 194. 

, "Tsar Saltan," 208, 

216-8, 221, 224, 227, 230, 318. 
" Tsai-'s Betrothed," 

211-2, 216. 
, third symphony, 193, 

'-. "Vera Scheloga," 


-, violin fantasia, 201. 


Ristori, 50. 

Ropartz, 290. 

Rosen, Baron, 16. 

Roussel, 300. 

Rubini. 24. 

Rubinstein, A., 14, 50, 77, 83-4, 

120, 186, 242, 247, 252, 261-3, 

, "Demon," 186, 271, 

L, N., 83, 199, 262, 272, 

Rurik, 68. 


Safonoff, 200. 275, 291, 293, 

301, 308, 321. 
Schiller, 133, 252. 
Schnitzler, 306. 
Schonberg, 292. 
Schuberth, 46. 
Schumann, 77, 79, 122, 149, 

259, 264, 301. 

. "Carnival" 250. 

Schoberlechner, 31. 
Scriabin, 3, 282, 292-8, 305-&. 

, first symphony, 294. 

, "Mystery," 297. 



iSci'iabin, i)iaiio concerto, 294. 

, piauo sonata, 297-8. 

'Poem of Ecstas}'," 


, " Poonie Sataniquo," 

, "Prometheus," 295-8. 

, second symphony, 294. 

, string quartet move- 
ment, 298. 

, third .sym])honv 294. 

Seroff, 28, 45-5(i, 75, 92-3, 140, 
206, 2t>2-3, 272. 

, "Are Maria," 55. 

. "Christmas Eve Re- 
vels," 55. 

, " Christmas Song," 55. 

, " JHopak," 55. 

"Judith," 50, 53, 55, 



" Nei'o," 55. 
" Power of I'jvil," 54-5. 
"Rogneda," 53, 146, 

. "Stabat Mater," 55, 

, " Ktorm," 55. 

, " Zaporogues' Dance," 

Shakovsky, 28. 
Shaw, 142, 147, 268. 
Sliermetieft (Count), 320. 
Sibelius, 54, 144. 
Siloti, 283-4, 321. 
Skobelelf, 77. 
Sokoloft, 250. 
Solovieff. 55. 207. 
Sophia (Empress), 154. 
Spontini, (oO. 
Sta-«soif, 45, ( 8, 71, 94, 99, 119. 

140, 140. 150-1, 154-5. 168, 

174, 247, 203. 
Stchigleff, 88-9. 
Stchourovskv, 207. 
Steinberg, 283, 307-8. 

, quartet, 307. 

, second .symphony, 308. 

Strauss 292, 290-7. 
Stravinsky, 3, 165, 222, 235, 

282, 292, 311-0. 
, cantata, 310. 

,SI;ravinsk-- "Cloister," 316. 

, " Crowning of Spring," 


, " Faun and Shepherd- 
ess," 313. 

, "Firebird," 222, 


. "Fireworks," 313. 

, Japanese songs, 316. 

, "Nightingale," 313. 

, " Pa.storale," 313. 

. " Petrouschka," 314-5. 

' Scherzo Fantas- 

tique," 313. 
. "Song of the Dew," 


, .song (Verlaine), 316. 

Stravinsky, F. 1., 312. 
Streltsy, 154. 
Stiogauoff (Princess), 13. 
Sue, 76. 


'I'amburini, 33. 

Taneieff, A. S., 235. 

— — , " Aleoslia Popovich," 

. " Orestes," 276. 

. piano trio, 276. 

, quartets, 276. 

, quintets, 276. 

, string trio, 270. 

, S. J., 200, 247, 274-7, 

283, 287, 293, 299. 

Tchaikovsky. 2, 11, 26, 45, 51-3, 
59, 64, 67-70, 72 79, 81-4, 92, 
184, 191-3, 197, 199, 206, 241, 
243, 247, 257. 259-67 269-70, 
272-5, 281, 285, 287, 290. 

. "Fatum," 69. 

, "lolanthe," 291. 

. Malo-Russian sym- 
phony, 194. 

, "Mazeppa," 265. 290 

, " Opritchnik," 84. 

overture, "1812," 69, 

270. 272. 

' Pathetic ' 




phony, 257, 270, 272, 300-1, 

, "Romeo and Juliet," 

67, 19-1, 257. 

•VakoTila" ("Ox 

ana's Caprice"). 206-7. 
Tcherepiiin, 235, 252, 304-5. 

, "Baba-Yaga," 305. 

, " Dramatic Fantasia," 


, "Macbeth," 305._ 

, " Menaceus," 305. 

, "Narcisse," 30-1-5. 

, "Pavilion d'Armide," 

, " Princess Lointaine," 

Tioutscheff, 305, 310. 
Titoff, 5. 
Tolstoi, A., 13, 301, 304. 

. T;., 109. 

, Th., 14G. 

Tourgenieff, 291. 
Trediakovsky, 4-5. 
Tsereteli (Prince), 227. 
'J'umeneff, 212, 22J. 

Variations on Russian theme, 

2ol), 298. 
Vassilenko. 282, 299-300, 321. 

, "An vSoleil," 299-300. 

epic poem, 300. 

, "Kitei," 299. 

, "Garden of Death," 


Vassilenko, S y ni phony ( G 
minor, 300. 

, "Whirlpool," 300. 

, "AVidow," 300. 

Vendredis (quartet), 248, 250. 
Verestchagin, 1B9. 
Verlaine, 316. 
Verstovskv. 7-8. 

, "Tomb of Askold," 7. 

Virchow, 177. 

Visin, von, 43. 

Vogue, de, 11. 

Volkoff, 5. 

, "Tanioucha," 5. 


Wao-ner, 40, 45, 48-50, 52-4, 
60, ]01 108, 142, 164, 180, 
221, 292, 294, 296, 303. 

, "Parsifal," 227, 318. 

, "Rienzi," GO. 

, "Ring," 296. 

Walsegg (Count), 213. 

Weber, 48. 

"Weingartner, 100. 

Wielhorski, 13. 

Wihtol, 235, 282, 320. 

Willborg, 309. 

Wood, 2, 245. 


Zareniba, 146. 
Zikke, 256. 
Zijnin, 233, 318-9. 
Zviereff, 283. 

Printed by The New Temple Press, 17 Grant Road, Croydon. 

Thick Crown 8vo, CloUi, Gilt Top, 426 pages, 7s. 6d. 








With a Complete Classiflc Account of Works, Copious 
Analyses of Important Works, Analytical and other Indices ; 
also Supplement dealing with " The Relation of Tchaikovsky 
to Art-Questions of the Day." Portrait and Index. 1908. 

"The chnpters written hi/ Mr. Edu-iii Ercins, Srnr., arc ex- 
rcUciit and sknuld be jieriised with attention, as they denote a 
keen, critical insir/hf and a bmad outlook on matters genercdhj. 

. . The popnlarity of Tehaihorshi) in Eniiltind is certainli/ 
not on the wane, and the present rolinne xrill doiibtless he \cei- 
comed bij the many admirers of the linssian master." — Modn- 
iNG Post. 

"A well planned and in parts fascinatinn study of a com- 
poser whose rare charm of melodic beauty and fine sense of 
musical proportion have completely captured the taste of the 
time ... It is the fidlest and most authoritatire monocpoph 
of Tchaikovsky available for Enijlish readers." — The Scotsman. 

Third Edition, Crown 8vo, Cloth, Gilt Top, 7s ed. 


Critical Essays on 
Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Strauss, Liszt & Wagner. 


" Es.iajis filled icith literary charm and indiridvnlity, 7]ot 
self-willed, or orer-asseriire, but riraeious and winninq, some- 
times profoundly contemplative , and anon frolicsome and more 
inclined to chaff than to instruct — but intercstinci and sufKies- 
tivc always."— iiv,-w York Tribune. 

London : 

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Biohard Hoffman studied under Fleyel, Moscheles, Rubinstein, Dbhler, 
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ARTIST. According to Authentic Documents and 
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VERDI: MAN AND MUSICIAN, His Biography, with 
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MUSICAL MEMORIES. By, Wilmam, Spark, MuSiDoc. 
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" A pleasantly written book of reminisoences of a large number of 
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" Just one of those pleasant bonks which are instructive without being 
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reading and we counsel our readers to get it without delay." — Musical 

TCHAIKOVSKY. His Life aiirl Works. With Extracts 
from his Writings ,tiu1 the Diary of his Tour Abroad in 
1888.. By Rosa Newmarch. Second Edition Enlarged 
and Edited with Additional Chapters by E. Evans. 
, 1908. With a Complete Classific Account of Works, 
Copious Analyses of Important Works, Analytical and 
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lation of Tchaikovsky to Art-Questions of the Day." 
Portrait and Index. Thick crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 
7s. 6d. ^ 

" The chapters written by Mr. Edwin "EvaiiB, Senr'., are excellent and 
should be perused with attention, as they denote a keen, oritioal iBsight 
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kovsky in England ia certainly not on the wane, and the present volnme 
will doubtless be weloomed by the many admirers of the Russian master." 
— Morning Post. , 

" A well planned and in parts fascinating- study of a composer whose 
rare oharm of melodic beauty and tine sense of musical proportion have 
completely captured the taste of the time • • * It is the fullest and 
most authoritative monog:raph of Tchaikovsky available for English 
readers." — The Scotsman. 

Violin Maker known by the name of Stradivariua, pre- 
ceded by Historical and Critical Researches on the 
origin and Transformations of Bow Instruments, and 
followed by a Theoretical Analysis of the Bow and Re- 
marks on Francis Tourte, By F. J. Fetis. Trans- 
lated by J. Bishop. Facsimile of a Letter of Stradi- 
varius. 8vo, cloth, 5s. 

The greater part of the matter in above is the work of M. Vuillailme, who 
spent the greater part of hia life in studying the principles which guided 
Strndivarius in his labours. With the aid of Fdtis and his additional sug- 
gestions and mutter the now celebrated work was produced. 


HuNE^ER (author. of, ''Mezzotints in Modern Music''). 
With Musical Examples. Thick crown, 8vo, cloth, 10s. 

" Mr.. Hunoker is. a Ohopiu ejithusiast. He accorcia admiration to Brnlims, 
to Wagner, t9 ,Tphaikov8ky : his worsliip is reserTed for Chopin. Being 
gifted \rith,' clear insigUt and imagination whicli grasp many and diverse 
moods Mr. Hunekei* ia a sane- critic alid a manly. . ; . . There ie no pre- 
tence at new material in the book. IVfr. Hnncker haa'garnered all that has 
been written about the composer and he lias threshed out tlie grain from 
the chaff. The result is/ tliereftire, of Talne." — Musical Stamlard. 

" The Tolume will at once take its place in the' front rank of books on 
Ohopin. . .. ..the masterly, chapter of eeventy-four pag-ea on the etudes will 

soon ba found indispensable by all teachers and students of the pianoforte." 
—The Nation (U.S.A.). 

," A work of unique merit, of distinguished style, qf profound insight and 
sympathy • anjl of, .the, most, br^liant literjiry quality." — The Neio York. 

" Of works on Chopin published since Niecka' life, this ia by' far the 
most important." — G. C. Ashton Jonson in *' A Handbook to Chopin's 
WorkH." ' ' 

LIFE OF CHOPIN. By, Franz Liszt. New and very much 
Enlarged Edition. Translated in full now for the first 
time by John Broadhouse. Second Edition, Corrected. 
Crown 8vp, cloth, 6s. 

Georqe; S^nd describee it as " un peu exuberent en , atyle, maia rempll 
de'bohnee choses et de tr&s belles' pages." 

G. 0. Ashton Jonson say6 in his " Handbook to Chopin'a Works " : — 
" For the personal reminiscencea of one of the greatest composers by one 
of the greatest executive artists of the world must be invaluable to the 
Ohopin student." ' ' 

" Fran* Liszt has written a charming sketch of Chopin's life and art." — 
Ency. Brit. , 

" Lisst'a criticisms upon his separate works have all the eloquent mys- 
ticiams to be expected from him; and the biography ia a book musiuiana 
will alwaya prise. " — Sunday Timef. 

" It will afford the student the greateat help in anderstanding the 
andercarrent of emotion which oharacteriaea the works of Chopin."— 
Morning Post 

" Let ufl therefore contribute one good word to help it forward, as we 
would tend a flower which apringa op apontaneoaaly over the grave of 
one we love." — Times. 

BEETHOVEN. By Richard AVagner. With a Supplement 

from the Philosophical Works of Arthur Schopenhauer. 

" Translated' by Edward Dannreutheu. Third Edition. 

Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. 
" This characteristic essay, a written exposition of Wagner's thoughts on 
the significance of the master's music, may be read with advantage by all 
students."— W. H. Wedbe in The Pianist's A. B. C. 

"It is a plain duty to be familiar and even intimate with the opinion of 
one famous man about nnother. Gladly therefore we welcome Mr. Dann- 
reuther'e translation of the work before us. Mr. Dannreuthcr has achieved 
his task with the conscientiousness of his nature and with a success due to 
much tact and patience." — Musical Times. 



MoRiTz Karasowski. Translated by E. Hill. New 
Edition Revised and further Letters added written 
during the Composer's Sojourn in England and Scot- 
land, 1848-9. Second and Revised Edition. With 8 
Portraits and a Facsimile. 2 volumes. Crown 8vo, 
bevelled cloth, 10s. 

" CllopiD is and remains the boldest and proudest poetio spirit of th« 

" A book with which all stndents of Ohopin mast needs be soquainted. 
ft contains a good deal of first hand information and is onr only sonroe 
for many valuable documents." — The Guardian. 

Grove's Dictionary of Musicians says : " The truth abont Chopin's birth, 
family, health, character, friendships, early training and the dawn of his 
career as a player and composer was not known until the publication of 
Iforitz Karasowski's recent and trustworthy biography.'' 

" The first serious attempt at a biography of Chopin."— Pnor. NrecKS. 

" Gives bits of information found nowhere else and the Letters of Chopin 
make the book invaluable to those who would really know tha Polish 
master." — Slusical America, 

M.4KERS OF MUSIC. Biographical Sketches of the Great 
Composers. With Chronological Summaries of their 
Works and Facsimiles from Musical MSS. of Bach, 
Handel, Purcell, Dr. Arne, Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beet- 
hoven, Weber, Schubert, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Chopin, 
Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, 
Brahms and 'Grieg, with General Chronological Table. 
By R. Fabquharson Sharp. Numerous Portraits. Fourth 
Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Crown 8vo, cloth, 58. 

The autlior's endeavour throughout this work has been to convey an im- 
pression of the personality of each composer, as well as to furnish bio- 
q-raphioal detail. At the end of each biograph.y is a tabulated list of the 
composer's works and dates of production, together with a facsimile from 
one of his original manuscripts. A useful volume, got up in good stylo and 
well adapted for a gift or prize. Has speedily run into four editions. 

DIARY. By Count Tarnow SKI. Translated from the 
Polish bv N. Janotha. With Eight Portraits. Crown 
8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. net (or paper cover, Is. 6d. net). 

" Throws man.y curious sidelights on tlie character of the great oom- 
poser." — Sunday Sun. 

" The notes on Chopin were written by special request and under the 
direction of Princess !Marceline Czartoryska. From her. Count Tarnowski 
received many interesting details as well as letters written by Chopin, in 
which the master alludes to many of liis compositions as well as to the 
eonditions under which tlie.v were written. Really an absorbing little 
tome, etc." — Musical Standard. 


Earliest Times. By F. J. Crowest. Crown 8vo, cloth, 
Is. net (paper cover, 6d. net). 

A Dictionary of British Musicifins— a work devoted escluaively to the 
names of native composers, instrumentalists, vocalista, writers, etc., who 
have contributed to the making- of English musical art from the earliest 
times to the present. Blank spaces arc left to each letter for any addi- 
tional names to be written in. 

Performers on the Violoncello and Double Bass, Past 
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A. Mason Clakke. 9 Portraits. Post 8vo, bevelled 
cloth, 5s. 

'* W« may here take the opportunity of recommending a useful book to 
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portraits." — Northern Whig. 

CHERUBINI. Memorials illustrative of his Life. By E. 
Bellasis. Thick crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. 
The standard biography of Cherubini. 

FRANZ LISZT. By T. Caelaw M.4rtin. 12mo, bound, Is. 

LIFE OF BEETHOVEN. By Louis Nohl. Translated by 
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cloth, 2s. 6d. 

Crown 8vo, bevelled cloth, 3s. Cd. net (pub. 7s. 6d.) 

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THE BACH LETTERS. Letters of Samuel Wesley, relating 
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Ed. by E. Wesley. Second Edition. 8vo. cloth. 28. 6d. 

14 lilOGRAPElOAL. 

WEBER. By Sir J. Benedict. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 

PURCELL. By William H. Cummings, Mus.Doc. New 
Edition now obt.ainable. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 
The only available life of thia great EDglish muaician. Dr. CummiDgs 
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CHERUBINI. By F. J. Crowbst. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 

COKTENTS:— Birth and Parentage— Under Sarti— Earliest Wnrjts— Visits 
London — Lodenaka — MedSe — Leu Deux Jonrnien — Faniska — Berlioz and Alt 
Bahu — Olierobini's Overtures — A Sacred Musio Composer — Blass in F — 
Mass in D minor — Mass in C — Requiem in minor — Requiem in D minor 
— Cherubini's Proliflcnesa — At Catel's Grave — Death, Obsequies and Career 
— His Inflnenee upon liiusic — Estimate of his Dramatic W-orks — Of his 
Saorrd AVorks — Influence as a Teacher — Temperament and Diepoaition — 
Anecidotes of Oherubini — Catalogue of Compositions — Index. 

ISTS. Biographical and Anecdotal, with Account of 
the Violin and Early Violinists. Viotti, Spohr, Paga- 
nini, De Beriot, Ole Bull, Clementi, Moscheles, Schu- 
mann (Robert and Clara), Chopin, Thalberg, Gottsohalk, 
liiszt. By G. T. Fbreis. Second Edition. Crown Svo, 
bevelled clotli, 3s. 6d. (or cloth, gilt edges, 4s. 6d.) 
A vcrj' useful book for a prize or gift. 


Cloth, Is. 6d. (or jiaper, Is.). ;. , , 

Cloth, Is. 6d. (or paper. Is.) 

CESAR FRANCK. Some Personal Reminiscences. ByJ. W. 
HiNioN, i)/..4., Miis.P. 16 pages. Crown Svo, 6d. net. 


SIXTY YEARS OF MUSIC. A Record of the Art in Eng- 
land during the Victorian Era. Containing 70 Poi-traits 
of the most Eminepit Musicians. Oblong quarto, boards, 
cloth back, 2s. 6d. 

CIANS. By John Wabkiner, Mus.D. Trinity College, 
Dublin. Introduction by Joseph Bennett. Over 500 
Photo Portraits of Well-known and Eminent Living 
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for 7s. 6d. net (published 14s. net). 

ATURE. Ancient and Modern, Second-Hand and 
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Our Fifty-lirst Year, ENLARGED to 2i pages, 
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THE MUSICAL STANDARD. A Weekly Newspaper for 
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ARCHEOLOGY. Intended as a Guide to the Study 
of the History of Musical Instruments. By K. 
ScHLESiNGER. 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 5s. net. 1912 

The above ia reprinted from the two-volume work entitled " The In- 
struments of the Modern Orchestra and Early Records of the PreeurBors 
of the Violin Family." 18b. 6d. 

The Times: "Is the finest work of its kind since * De Fidioalis Biblio- 
gi-aphia,' and will be found of great value to all musicians." 

of J. W. Davison, Forty Years Music Critic of **The 
Times.'' Compiled by his Son, Henry Davison, from 
Memoranda and Documents. With 52 Portraits of 
Musicians of the Time and many Important Letters 
previously Unpublished of Berlioz, Mendelssohn, 
Gounod, Macfarren, Sterndale Bennett, Jullien, etc., 
here appearing for the First Time. Thick 8vo, cloth, 
gilt top, 12s. 6d. net. 

" The book is fasoinating." — JJailt/ Mail. 

" Musical memoirs are not always such an intellectual feast aa this, 
and it will be long before we get another book so full of variety and 
vitality." — Pall Mall Gazette. 

" It ought to be in every library as ». work of reference." — The Musi- 
cian, U.S.A. 

" It is not only a very readable book, but a contribution of some im- 
portance to musical history." — T'he Yorkshire Post. 

" Anyone desirous of a knowledge of the state of music and the per- 
sonalities of musical artists. British and foreign, during the reign of 
Queen Victoria will find what he is in quest of in * From Mendelssohn to 
Wagner.* " — The Dundee Advertiser. 

" The book altogether is full of interest and information, the nnmeroni 
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value." — The Bookseller. 

" The memoirs of Davison are the history of Victorian music. We 
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experience is thoroughly delightful." — Eastern Morning News. 

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side of musical life in England in particular — during the period covered 
by the title." — The Standard. 

" Davison, forty years music critic of The Times, had practically the 
musical world at his feet." — Glasgow Herald. 


of the Boyal Hungarian Opera). Crown 8vo, bevelled 
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" Information not to be had anywhere else .... should be oi everT^ 
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UlSTOllY. n 


a Comparative View of the Art in Italy, Germany, 

France antl England. By Joseph Goddard. Showing 

the Cause of tlie Falling Back of the English School in 

the Modern Period, and the Compensation which that 

Falling Back Involved. "With numerous Musical Es- 

aiiiplea. Portraits and Facsimiles. Crown 8vo, cloth, 

gilt top, 4s. 6d. net. 

" His uriticisiu is usLially just und baliiiiuet], aud his review of tUe wliole 

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" Of 6i)L'cial value and research arc tile numerous iiiuaical examples and 

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By H. G. Faembr (aiithur of "Memoirs of the Royal 
Artillery Band ")■ With Illustrations of Early Instru- 
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masters. Preface by Lieut. A. Williams, M.V.O., 
3Ius.Doc., Bandmaster of Grenadier Guards. Crown 
8vo, cloth, 3s. 6d. net. 

" A valuable addition to our linowledjjc of this department of musical 
art." — The Standard. 

" It is a book which shows a considerable amount of research in many 
out-of-the-way places, and the information it yives regarding modern 
times, when history emerges from mere tradition, is often valuable." — 
The Yorkshire Post. 

ticularly of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Hebrews; 
with special reference to I'eceut discoveries in Western 
Asia and in Egy])t. By Cail Enoel. With numerous 
Illustrations and Index. Thick 8vo, cloth. Published 
at IBs., now offered for 8s. Od. net. 

Grace's Dictionary says of Carl Engcl : 

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a rare jjower of judicious discrimination, made him one of the first 
authorities on his subject in Europe, he became a' collector when oppor- 
tunities were more frequent than they arc now for acquiring rare instru- 
ments and books. He thus formed a private museum and library that 
uould hardly be rivalled except by a f:'w public institutions." 

Ancient Greece to our Present Time. By Di;. F. Ij. 
RiTTEE. Second Edition. Cr. 8vo, bevelled cloth, 2s. Cd. 




Chorlbt. Edited by H. G. Hewlett. Contains many 
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The volume treats of the national tunea, folk-Boiige and airs of the 
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high degree with the oritie'a acumen attesting the wide range of Chorlcy's 
learning as a student of the art. 


Presenting a Bird's Eye View from the Pre-Christian 
Era to the XXth Century. By C. A. Harris, 
A.R.C.O., etc. On linen, folded in case, 2s. net (on 
special paper. Is. net). 
Un. T. H. YonKE Trottkr, Principal, London Academy oj Music: " Ex- 
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THE RISE OF MUSIC. Being a Careful Enquiry into the 
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Harmony and Notation — the Importance of that Great 
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History and Progress. An Account of the Rise of Mili- 
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lUSTOBY, 19 


By F. J. Crowest. Revised and Enlarged Edition. 
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Estimates of its Greatest Masters and Sketches of their 
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epochs ." — Eiadc, 

THE WORLD'S EARLIEST MUSIC. Traced to its Begin- 
nings in Ancient Lands. By collected Evidences of 
Relics, Records, History and Musical Instruments, frojn 
Greece, Etriiria, Egypt, China, through Assyria and 
Babylonia to the Primitive Home, the Land of Akkad 
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THE PAST AND THE FUTURE. An Inaugural Lecture at 
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from the Christian Era to the Present Time. By Dh. 
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tory, Construction, Acoustics, Technique and Com- 
bination. By Arthur A. Clappe, Royal Military 
School of Music. A Work for Bandmasters, Bands- 
men, Students and the General Reader. AVith numer- 
ous Ilhistrations. Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 5s. net. 
Wind instruments have a republic of tlicir own in the wind-band, where 
raeli one is sovereig-n, not subject, and all may express themselves freely, 
for there they arc the paramount power. In this book it is sougrht that 
ouch instrument shall be acooi'ded respect as befits its speoifle import- 
ance. For that reason, the qualities of each arc taken into consideration 
from the viewpoints of history, acoustics, construction, tceliuiquc and 
collective utility. At jiresent tlicre is no book in the English lang-uagc 
dealing- with wind instruments and the wind:band in plan or scope herein 

A Work of Original Besearch and Study. 
THE VIOLIN FAMILY. With 500 Illustrations and 
Plates. By Kathleen Schlbsinqer. Two handsome 
volumes, thick 8vo, cloth, gilt tops, 18s. 6d. net. 

" It is no mere echo of other historians but a work of orig-inal research. 
This is made clear by the fact that novel conclusions are reached and 
oew verdicts given. It would seem that we shall be compelled to recon- 
eider and probably to reconstruct our notions as to the origin of the 

violin A splendid book which will become a classic. Tbe many 

years of laborious and persevering study given to its compilation and 
composition will be appreciated by generations yet to come. — Birming- 
ham Gazette and Express. 

John Buoadhouse in the Musical Standard writes: "Far surpasses any 
took on the subject which it has been our good fortune to read. The 
whole lino of the investigation is in every sense of the word original; not 
trusting the researches of her predecessors, Miss Schlesinger has, durijig 
many years, gone fully and deeply into the matter for herself ; and, 
having arrived at conclusions quite at variance with those of other 
writers, she is not afraid to say so. The tone of the book is moderation 
itself . . . ." 

The music oritio of the American Musical Courier in an able essay says : 
*' It is a great work in two volumes with over Ave hundred illustrations 

and plates She [the author] is a kind of musical Darwin who has 

given no end of toil and trouble to trace the anoestcffs of our instruments 
into their humble and remote sources." 

E. VAN DEE Straeten writes in the Strad: "This work ranks among the 
most remarkable modern literature on the subject." 

HOW TO PLAY FROM SCORE. Treatise on Accompani- 
ment from Score on the Organ or Pianoforte. By F. 
Fbtis. Translated by A. Whittingham. With 40 pp. 
of Musical Examples. Cr. 8vOj bevelled cloth, 3s. 6d. 
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Musical Examples throughout. 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 
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The Times says : " We do rot hesitate to rcoommcnd the volume to nil 
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aid of the large and clear illustrations, to recognise the various forme 
which are now to be found in our large military and municipal bands." 
, The above volume, with " The Precursors of the Violin Family,'* form 
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ON CONDUCTING. By Richard Wagner. Translated by 
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A treatise on style in the execution of classical musio, written by a 
practical master of tlie grand style. 

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together an orchestral, choral or operatio performance, but above all the 
Bpiritaalising internal factor that gives the performance its very soul." 

Grove's Dictionary says : " One of the finest of his minor publications, 
and to a professional musician perhaps the most instructive. A Treatise 
on Style, giving his views as to the true way of rendering clasBical music, 
with minute directions how to do it and how not to do it, together with 
many exivmples in musical type from the instrumental works of Beethoven,- 
Weber, Mozart, etc." 


Croger, F.R.G.S., F.Z.S., also the Organising and Con- 
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Orchestra. Third Edition, Revised . and Enlarged. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s, (paper, Is.) 

'* A mine of good things. " — Musical Opinion. 

" One of the best guides to conducting." — Music Trades Review. 

** A capitaMittlo book brightly written and full not only of entertaining 
and raoily-tqld anecdotes, but also, of clear and sensibly-expressed opinions 
on musical matters."-— r/ie Stage. » 


ORCHESTRA. By Hermann Smith. An Analysis of 
the Work of the Air in the Speaking Organ Pipe of the 
Various Constant Types, and an Exposition of the 
Theory of the Air-Stream-Reed Based upon the Dis- 
covery of the Tone of the Air, by Means of Displace- 
ment Rods. With 30 Illustrations and Tables. Thick 
crown 8vo, cloth, 6s. 
5[r. HermQnB Smith has gained a distinguished position as an investi- 
gator in matters relating to sound production in musical instruments. 
His conclusions arrive at a theory widely different from those which have 
been propounded in the several le.irned works on acoustics. 

MODERN ORGAN BUILDING. Being a Practical Explan- 
ation and Description of the Whole Art of Organ Con- 
struction, with Especial Regard to Pneumatic Action. 
Together with Chapters on Tuning, Voicing, etc. By 
Walter and Thomas Lewis (Organ Builders). With 7G 
Illustrations Drawn to Scale and Reproduced from 
Actual Working Drawings, together with Diagrams, 
Tables, etc. 4to, cloth, 7s. 6d. 1911 


TIE PEDAL ORGAN. Its History,. Design and Control. 
By Thomas Casson. With folding Diagram. Second 
Impression. 8vo, clotli, 29. net (paper, Is. net). 

Development in the Light of its Past History and 
Present Tendencies. By Francis Burgess, F.S.A., 
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" All organists should read Mr. Francis Burgess' lecture on.' The Organ 
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OBOAN. 23 

SOME CONTINENTAL ORGANS (Ancient and Modern) and 
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Contains speoiflcation and ft brief critique of some of the famous old 
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MODERN ORGAN TUNING, The How and Why, Clearly 
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Study of their Structural Features. For the Use of 
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positions. Edited by Dr. W. Spaetc, 5s. per part. New^ 
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24 OBOAN. 

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The student who will take the trouble to test this edition against any 
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Asa royal road to thorough and sound Organ Playing in all styles, there 
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AND OTHER CHORAL WORKS. Analytically Con- 
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Tho snpremo importance, the absolute nccoflsity, of ft study of ecalca 
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Systematised Selection of Practical Suggestions for 
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REEVES' VAMPING TUTOR. Art of Extemporaneous Ac- 
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THE DEPPE FINGER EXERCISES for Rapidly Developing 
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playing-." — W. H. Webbe in The PiaTtist's A. B. C. 


PLAYING (Deppe's Principles). By C. A. Ehren- 

TTiiiCHTER. With numerous Illustrations. Fourth Edi- 
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CONTENTa : Position— Arm — Wrist— Fingers ; Touch (Tone Proclnction) ; 
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WELL-KNOWN PIANO SOLOS. How to Play them with 
Understanding, Expression and Effect. By Charles 
W. Wilkinson. Three Series. Each containing 26 
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Contents of the First Series :— Sikdino, Rustle of Spring. !3caelatti, 
Pastorale o Capriccio. PADEnEWSET, Minuet in G. Hasdel, Harmonious 
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ScHDiiAJTN, Nachtstiicke. Qodard, Mazurka. Delibes, Pizaicati from 
Sylvia. Gbieg, Wedding Day at Troldhangeo. Elgah, SaUit d'Amour. 
Paderewski, iMelodie. Uwf, La Fileuse. Tchaikotbkt, Troika. Godard, 
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Paderewski, Minuet in A JIajor. Grieg, Norwegian Bridal Procession. 
Liszt, Pegata Yeneziana. CnAaiiNADE, Automne. Moszkowski, Sorenata. 
Lack, Valse Arabesque. Schumann, Arabeske. Chopin, Etude in G Flat. 
DuBAND, First Talse. 

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Draws one's attention to the beauties in a piece, explains difficulties here 
and there, draws attention to a pedal effect and any peculiarity of finger- 
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give to hie pupils. 

" Described in detail in a manner to be understood by the youngest 
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—Aberdeen Daily Jnnrnal. 

" In plain language free from technioalities proffers valuable help to the 
budding, piano Boloiat."— Leicester Mail. 


Rhythm, Measure, Phrasing, Tempo. By C. A. Ehren- 
FBCHTER. Second Edition. Crown 8vo, bevelled cloth, 

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and uninspired amateur will be safest in giving an altogether objective 
rendering. The section with reference to accent is particularly good. 
There are numerous illustrations from the works of the masters."— W. IT. 
Webbe in The Pianist's A. B. C. 



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of acknowledged standing and experience, wh^ possesses not only a very 
complete knowledge of his subject, but also the faculty of expressing 
himself in clear and unmistakable terms." — Aberdeen Daily Journal. 

Account of all the Compositions of Chopin. Short 
Analyses for the Piano Student and Critical Quota- 
tions from the Writings of "Well-Known Musical 
Authors. By G. C. Ashton Jonbon. The Whole 
Forming a Complete Guide for Concert-Goers, Pianists 
and Pianola-Players, also a Short Biography, Critical 
Bibliography and a Chronological List of Works, etc. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 6s. 

Will be found equally useful and helpful to concert-goers, for whom it 
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time a ayetematio and co ordinated study of ObopJn's works, a delight 
hitherto denied to them owing to their inability to read or play the more 
difficult compositions. 

" Here in one compact volume, is all that it is necessary to know about 
Chopin and his works except by the leisured enthusiast * * • Each separ- 
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Jonson's own lucid criticiBms. The task is well done ; nothing has ap- 
parently been left out that ought to have been put in, and never once 
can our asthor be accused of being tedious. The book should be greatly 
studied by &U."— Daily Chronicle. 



A Practical Treatise. By Edwin Evans, Scniur, 
F.H.C.O. Part 1, Tlieoretical ; Part II, Practical 
School of Plain Chant Accompaniment, consisting of 240 
Exercises, with an Appendix of Notes. Crown 8vo, 
cloth, 3s. Gd. iicl. 

Harmony.) By Authur G. Potter. With Musical Ex- 
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Students and Beginners. By H. C Banister. Thii'd 
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the Works of Orlando di Lasso, Palestrina, Vittoria, 
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Rogers, Boyce, etc. For Students preparing for the 
R.C.O. and other Examinations. By James Lyon, 
31 us. Doc. Oj^un. 4to, 3s. 

Altliou^'h there are books on vocal score reading in existence, the author 
has found tlie exercises contained iu this book — taken from the works of 
icntera of the early contra piintal school — of the greatest possible value in 
his private teaching, and ho ventures to think that students preparing 
for diplomas where vocal score reading is requirf^, will welcome such a 
cullcution as this. 

MONIZATION. By James Lyon, Mus.Voc. 4to, 23. 

Mus.Doc. 4to, 4s. 

These exercises are printed in open score so as to be of use io score 
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ham. Crown 8vo, sewed, 6d. 

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and olearLr exulaioed. To these studenta T dedicate this work. 



HOW TO COMPOSE. A Practical Guide to the Composi- 
tion of all Works within the Lyric Form, and which 
include the Valse, Gavotte, Mazurka, Polonaise, 
March, Minuet, and all Ordinary Dance Forms; as also 
the Nocturne, Imioromptu, Berceuse, Reverie and 
Similar Characteristic Pieces. By Edwin Evans, 
Senior, F,B.C.0. (author of "The Relation of Tchai- 
kovsky to Art-Questions of the Day/' *' A Handbook to 
Brahms' Works/' "The Modal Accompaniment to 
Plain Chant/' etc.). AVith 60 Musical Examples. 
Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. (paper, Is. 6d. net). 

The plan adopted is tliat of gradually developing a full com position 
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knowledge is alone required for its comprehension. 

"A daring subject to tackle, and one tliat in most caaes would be 
better left alone. We must confess that we opened the book feeling very 
BoeptJcnl ; but the author — who is well known as one of the most blionght- 
ful of our musical litterateurs — has handled bis subject in a manner that 
compels our admiration. To the young musician who feels that he has 
something to say, we strongly advise the immediate purchase of this 
thoughtful and distinctly practical treatise. It will save him from that 
loose, meandering, formless music so characteristic, unfortunately, of 
many of the early works of our young composers." — Aberdeen Daily 


Dr. Dudley Buck. Sixth Edition, with the Pronunciation 

of each Term accurately given. Edited and Revised by 

A. Whittingham. Crown 8vo, cloth, Is. (pax^er, 6d.) 

A most valuable aud useful little book to all musical people. Tlic method 
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aud clear. 


Presenting in a Simple Manner the Elementary Ideas as 
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With about 300 Musical Examples and Exercises. By 
Paul Colbbkg. Crown 8vo, cloth, 23. (paper, Is.) 

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Recent English and Cootinental Teaching. By Alfred 
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The two principal objects kept in Tiew in writing this littlo book were 
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Burgess, F,S.A., Scot. Crown 8vo, 6d. 


Book for Beginners. By K. Paige. Fourth Edition. 
Part I., price 6d. Part II., price Is. Crown 8vo, 
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Contents of Part 1 : 1. Pitch. 2. Length of Sounda. 3. Time. 4. Time 
and Auccnt. 5. Intervals. 6. Scales. 7. Transposition. 8. Syncopation- 
y. Sig-ns and Abbreviations. 10. Notation. 11. Miscellaneous Questions and 

Contents of Pakt II : 1. Triads. 2. First Inversion of a Triad. 3. Second 
Inversion of a Triad. 4. Dissonances. 5. Suspensions. G. Sequences. 7. 
Cadences. 8, Dominant Sevenths, etc. 

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witli the method of writing incomplete bars, and asking the pupil to supply 
tlie miaaing parte with rests ; also of requiring notes to be changed into 
rests and rests into uotQe.'*— Musical Times. 

ELEMENTARY MUSIC. A Book for Beginners. By Dr. 

"VVestbuook. With Questions and Vocal Exercises. 

Thirteenth Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, Is. 6d. (paper, 

Contents : 1. The Staff and its Clefs. 2. Notes and their Bests. 3. Bars 
and Time. 4. Accidcntala. 5. Kcya and Sealea. 6. Intervals. 7. Muaical 
Piteli. 8. Accent. 9. Secondary Signs. 10. Oruamcnts and Groupa of 
Notes. 11, Toicce and Scores. 13. Churcli Modes. 13. Italian and other 
Directions. 14. Foreign Note-Names. 15. Questions. 16. Yocal Exercises. 

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be found invaluable to teachers." — Journal of Trinity College, London. 


AVith Questions "and Exercises. By Dit. J. U. Lewis. 
Vol. I, 8vo, boards, cloth back, 5s. 
Ditto, Vol. II. 8vo, boards, cloth back, 5a. 

COUNTERPOINT: A Simple and Intelligible Treatise. Con- 
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Catechetical Form (forming an AnsAver to the Question 
" What is Counterpoint P'*) Intejided for Beginners. 
By A. Livingstone Hirst. (Reeves^ Educational 
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HOW TO MEMORIZE MUSIC. By V. I'. Kei^yon. With 
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and so sucocssfully." — Ohiafjuw Ilerultl. 

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adopted." — jJJvntiitff I'Of^t. 

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information on tlic art of memorising, with many illubtrations."- -H"c.s7cr?) 
ilurnuty Nead. 

"May do mueli good indueing joung jjiunists tu e.\ert their l.uaius 
together witli llieir lingers." — i'drlcdhirc /'u-s'^ 

THE ART OF MODULATION. A Handbook showing at a 
CJlance the Modulations from one Key to any Other in 
the Octave, consisting of 1,0U8 Modulations. For the 
Use of Organists and Musical Directors. Edited hy 
C.ARLi ZoisLLEH. Third Edition. Koy. 8vo, cloth, 4s. 
(paper, L'.s. Gd.). 

ing for Strings and Pianoforte Accompaniments. By 
J. Hbnrt Bridger, Mus.Bac. With Musical Examples 
throughout. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. 6d. 

posers, Students of Harmony, Counterpoint, etc., can 
be Written very Kapidlj' and is more Legible than 
printed Music, with Specimens from Bach, Handel, 
Chopin, Wagner, Mendelssohn, Spohr, Mozart, etc. By 
Francis Taylor. 14 pages, 12mo, sewed, 6d. 

TRANSPOSITION AT SIGHT. For Students of the Organ 
and Pianoforte. By H. Ernst Nichol. Fourth Edition, 

with numerous Musical Exercises. Crown 8vo, cloth. 

Is. 6d. (i)aper, Is.) 

There is no need to duell upon the usefulness or even the necrstity of 
transposition to tlic organist or the accompanist of songs. 'J'lic practice of 
tiansposing upon the lines hero laid down dcvelojis the "mental car." 
quickens the musical perception and gives case in sight reading; as it is 
evident that, if the student can transpose ai sight, he will not have niueli 
difficulty in merely plaiting at sight. The autlior has made free use of the 
tonic Bol-fa as well as the old notation in his many musical esamplcs. 


MUSICAL ANALYSIS. A Handbook for Students. By 

H. C. Banister. With Musical Illustrations. Crown 

8vo, limp cloth, 2s. 

This series of papers has not been intended as a treatise on its bounrlleea 

subject ; only illustrative of the way in which students may go to work in 

the interesting- procesg of Analysis. To work nt it is much more interesting* 

and impvoviny than to read Analysis alrrady made for them. The student 

should look out for beauties, even of the simpler kind, as well as endenvnur 

1o solve recondite problems. Try and enjoy Hie landscape and not merely 

map out the country. 

THE ART OF MODULATING. A Series of Pai^ers on Modu- 
lating at the Pianoforte. By Henry C. Banister. 
With 62 Musical Examples. Crown 8vo, limi) cloth, 2s. 
Jloreovor in writing- a composition tlicvc is time to think, devise and 
contrive; but that whicli is the subject of the above work is promptness, 
readiness and quick thought under special circumstances. 

THE STUDENT'S HELMHOLTZ. Musical Acoustics or the 
Phenomena of Sound as Connected Avith Music. By 
John Broaiihouse. With more than 100 Illustrations. 
Fourth Edition. Crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d. 

" lu Ills Preface the author snys : ' The object of the present book is fn 
g-ive, in one volume, a good general view of the subject to those who can 
nnither spare time to read, nor money to buy a number of large and ex- 
I)ensive works.' A perusal of tlie book justifies us in asserting that tliia 
design is most satisfactorily carried out; and it is not too much to sny 
that although the plan of the work excludes the possibility of minutely 
dissecting every subject treated uijoii, any careful reader may obtain sn 
clear an insight into the principle of acoustics, as to enable him not only to 
pass an examination but to store ujj a large amount of goncrol 
ujjon tlie phenomena of sound." — Musical Times. 

" ' The Student's Helmholtz ' will be vei'y useful to majiy musicians, to 
whom much in Helmlioltz's work must appear obscure. I sliall recommend 
the book whenever an opportunity offers itself." — Du. Rittkr. 

This work has beeo specially designed for musical students preparinjf 
for exftmicatioD. 


THE VIOLINIST'S DICTIONARY. Containing nearly 2,000 
Words, Phrases, References, etc., used in the Study of 
the Violin Fully Explained. By Frederic B. Emery, 
M.A. With a List of Important Composers of Violin 
Music, and of Old Violin Makers, also Rules for Pro- 
nouncing Foreign Terms. 8vo, cloth, 2s. 9d. net. 

Tho ahove volume sliovild appeal to all those wlio love their violin and 
who wish to have fluocss toa work of this kind but who flo not feel justi- 
liccl in purchasing u, volume of musical terms whose references are as 
g'eneral as the terms. The controlling idea in' preparing this work has 
been to make it a helpful book for violinists. Practically all the words 
mid phrases have been taken directly from violin musio after an exam- 
ination of several thousand exercises, solos and concert pieces of all 
descriptions. The other words are those frequently used by violinists 
and arc found in titles, dedicatory notices, cte., or explain points of 
general interest to the violin student. 

THE VALUE OF OLD VIOLINS. By E. Polon.aski, Being 
a List of the Principal Violin Makers, British, Italian, 
French and German. With Aioproximate Valuations of 
their Instruments and Occasional Notes on their Var- 
nish. Facsimiles of Labels and Violins. Crown 8vo, 
cloth, 2s. 6d. net. 1912 


W. B. Coventry. 12mo, sewed, Is. net. 

torical and Biographical Account of the Violin. By 
A. M.isoN Clarke. With Facsimiles of Labels used by 
Old Masters and illustrations of a copy of a Gaspare da 
Salo. Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s. net (paper, Is. net). 

AVith Illustrations. Tenth Edition. Cloth, 2s. fid. 
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38 VOCAL. 

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OPERA AND DRAMA. By Richaud Wagneh. Translated 

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WAGNbli 41 

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" Ring." Kobbe 41 

Judaism in Music. Wogncr ... iO 









3i. 6d. (.coittintteil).— 

Life of Beethoven. Nohl ... 13 

Modal Accompanivient of Plain 

Chant. Evans 29 

Modern Organ Tuning. Smith 2a 
Mozart's " Don Giovanni " Uom- 

mcntary. Hntohinson 7 

Piano Touch. Johnstoue ... '2S 
The Rise of Military Music. 

Farmer 17 

Veidi: Man and Musician ... i) 

Vocjil SL-iL-ncc and Art. Gib ... 37 


Exercises in Vocal Score Read- 
ing. Lyon 2y 

Structure and Preservation of 
the Violin. Otto 35 

2s. 9d. 

Violini'^f's Dictionary. Emery 31 

2s. 6d. 

Advice to Violin Stiidents. 

Uitchie 2 

Artist at the Piano. Wood- 
house 25 

Art of Modulating. Banister ... 33 
Art of Modulation. Zoeller ... 32 

Bach Letters 13 

C'Jioir Attendance Register ... 43 
Chopin: From his Diary ... 12 
English Gleo and Madrigal 

W ritcra. Barrett 4-") 

Front Lyre to Miiae. Donovan 7 
Hint or y of Hungarian Mutie ... 1(! 

How to Compose. Evans 3U 

How to Harmonize Melodies. 

Bridgor 33 

Information for Players of Bow 

Inatrumentfl. Hepworth ... 3.^ 

jManual of Srusicnl History ... 17 
Masonic Musical Service Book. 

Linekar 44 

Purity in Jfusic. Thibaut ... 8 

Sixty Years of Music 15 

Smart's Organ Compositions An- 
alysed. Broadhouse 34 

Sojne A apeets of Chiuesp. Mu.tic 
and Snnie Thoughts nud Ini- 
prefix ion f on Art Prinrijilefi 

in Mn.-iic. Green 2 

Songs from the Itavel. Austin. 45 
Technical Study in Pianoforte 

Playing. Ehvcnfechtcr 27 

Templeton and Malibran ... 13 

Value of Old Violins, Polon- 

aski 34 


An Important Lcaaon to Per- 
formers on the Violin. Tar- 

tini 2 

Art of Holding the Violin ... ^Ci 

Art nf ]\rodulating. Banister ... 33 
Art of Tuning the Pianoforte. 

Smith 26 

Catechism of Musical History. . 

Crowest 19 

Cherubini. Crowest 14 

Choir Attendance Register ... 43 
Chronometrical Chart of M^isical 
History. Harris 18 

29. (continued).— page 

Delivery in Pianoforte Playing. 

Elirenfechter ... 3 

Elementary Music. Paige ... 31 

Esevciees in Figured Bass. Lyon t'J 

Future of -Music. Laloy 5 

Harmonising of Melodies. Ban- 
ister 29 

Harmony. Colbcrg .., ... ... 3U 

How to Attain the Singing 
Voice. Broad 

How to Memorize Music. £en- 

How to Play the Fiddle. Grcss- 

How to Ueimir Violins. Com- 

Musical Analysis. Banister 

Mufilc-Drama of the Future. 
Boughton and Buckley 

Notes on Conducting. Uroger ... 

Pedal Organ. Caason 

Physical Development and Voice 
Production. Adams 

Piano Teaching, he Couppey ... 

Purcell. Cummings 

60U Questions and 600 Exercises 
in Klcmeuiary Music. Palmer 

Some Continental Organs. Wedge- 

System of Study of Scales and 
Chords. West brook 

Technics of Violin Playing. 
C()urvoisicr ... 

Throat. AVard 

Three Impi'cssions of Bayreuth. 

Training Boys' Voices. Fleming 

Vamping Tutor. Taylor 

Violin. Abele and Nicderheit- 











mann ... ... 

Violin and Old Violin Makers. 


Violin JManufaotHrc in Italy. 


Weber. Benedict 

Is. 6d. 

the Piano. 


Art y.'it at 


Choir Attendance Register 

Chopin : From his Diary. 

Ueppe Finger Exercises 

Elementary Afusie. Westbvnok 
Handel. Whittingham 

how to Compose. Evana 

Masonic Musical Service Book. 


jMozart. Whittingham 

Pianoforte Scales. Rock 

Some Aspects of Chinese Music 
and Some Thoughts and Im- 
pressiowi on Art Principles 
III Music. Green 

Transposition at Sight. Nichol 


An Important Le:ifOn to Per- 
formers on the Violin. Tar- 

Art of Holding- the Violin 

Bayreuth and Munioh. Black- 

Catechism for the Harmonium. 







Is. (continued). — paga 

Oateohiam of Musical History. 

Orowest ID 

Catechism of Part-Singing. Hilee 38 
Chronometrical Chart of Musical 

History. Harris 18 

Dictionary of Musical Terms. 

Buck 30 

Dictionary of i,000 British Musi- 
cians. Croweet 13 

Elementary Music. Part II. 

Paige , 31 

Elementary Music. Westbrook 31 
Exercises for Boy ChoriBtera. 

Fleming 38 

Future of Music. Laloy ... 5 

Handel Whittingham 14 

Harmony. Colberg 30 

History Dulwich College Or^an ... 23 
Bow to Attain the Singing 

Voice. Broad &7 

How to Memorize Music. Kcn- 

yon 32 

How to Play the Fiddle. Gress- 

woU 35 

How to Play Well-Known Piano 

Solos. First Series. Wilkinson 27 

— . Second Series. Wilkinson 27 

Third Series. Wilkinson 27 

How to Study th6 Pianoforte 

Works of Beethoven. Westerby 2 

How to Repair Violins. Common .S5 

Influence of Organ in History ... 2i 

In the Service of Art. Nin ... 4 

Liszt. Martin 13 

Modern Chords. Potter 29 

Modest Idylls. Alfleri 45 

Mozart. Whittinghara 14 

Musical Festivals. Boughton. 
Musical Hints to Clergymen. 

Grover 3D 

Notes on Conducting. Croger ... 21 

Oratorio Vocal Scores 44 

Organ Fifty Years Hence. Bur- 
gess 22 

Past and the Future. Bridge ... 19 

Pedal Organ. Casson 22 

' Pianoforte Teacher's Guide. 

Plaidy 2(1 

Pianoforte Tutor 26 

Place of Science in Music ... 8 
Reform in Organ Building. Cas- 
son 24 

600 Questions and 600 Exercises 

in Elementary Music. Palmer 2 

Some Famous Songs. Ritter ... 39 
System of Study of Scales and 

( herds. Westbvook ... 25 
Teohnios of Violin Playing. 

Courvoisier 34 

Three Tmjiressions of Bayreuth. 

Eoenig 41 

Throat. Ward 37 

Transposition at Sight. Nichol 32 

Twelve Lessons on Breathing ... 37 

Twenty Lessons on the Voice ... 38 
Violin and Old Violin Makers. 

Clarke 34 

Violin Manufacture In Italy. 

Sehebek ... 35 

... 3 
Ritter ... 7 

1p. (continued) 

Well-known Piano Solos. 


Woman as a Musioiaii. 


Counterpoint. Hirst 31 

Wagner's " Ring." Kilburn ... 41 


Accompaniment to the Psalms. 

Webb 44 

Book of Chords. Needham ... 29 

C^sar Franck. Hinton 14 

Dictionary of i.OOO British Musi- 
cians. Crowest 13 

Dictionary of Jfusioal Terms. 

Buck 30 

Elementary Music. Part I. Paige 31 
Facts about Fiddles. Broadhouee 34 
How to Manage a Choral Societv. 

Kilburn 39 

How to Sing an English Ballnd. 

Philp .39 

How to Study the Pianoforte 

Works of Handel. Westerby. 2 
How to Study the Pianoforte 
Works of C. P. Emanuel Bach 

and Haydn. Westerby 2 

How to Study I'lanofarte IVoilcs of 

Scarlatti. Wfsterby 2 

Hnu- io Stiidi/ Pianoforte Works of 

J. S. Bach. ;We;t ihy ... 2 

How to Study the Pianoforte 

Works of Clementi. Westerby 2 
How to Write Music in Short- 
hand 33 

Manuscript Music Books 43 

Modern Chords. Potter 29 

National School of Opera. 

Austin 45 

Rudiments of Gregorian Music. 

Burgess 31 

Voice Production. Levien ... 39 
Wagner, a Sketch. Kilburn ... 41 
Wagner's "Parsifal." Kilburn 41 


Manuscript Music Book 43 

A Chat with Choral Singers. 
Sparrow 37 


Manuscript Music Book ... . 43 


Advice to TouDff Organiatg . 22 

Music for Begrs. Whittingham 30 

Rudimenta Vocal Mus. Pattison 38 

Sclmmann's Hules and Maxims 6 

Vocal Exercises. Westbrook ... 39 

The Art of Accompanying at 

the Pianoforte. Evans ... 3 

Some Eomantio and Modem 
Musical Composers. Eunoi- 

man 3 

Vocal Expression. Gib 3 

Steps in Harmony. Sibley ... 3 
On Beethoven's Symphonies. 
Evans q