(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "An introduction to Russian music"

!(> 



=CO 



Introduction to 

SSIAN MUSIC 

M-MONTAGU NATHAN 



ML 
390 

ru6 




.E Roy PHILLIPS -BOSTON 



AN INTRODUCTION TO 
RUSSIAN MUSIC 



Works by the Same Author : 

A HISTORY OF RUSSIAN MUSIC 

GLINKA 

MOUSSORGSKY 

RIMSKY-KORSAKOF 

CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN COMPOSERS 

A HANDBOOK TO THE PIANO WORKS 
OF SKRYABIN 



AN INTRODUCTION TO 

RUSSIAN MUSIC 

**** 
Mf MONTAGU- NATHAN 



BOSTON : 

LE ROY PHILLIPS 



FIRS T 
EDITION 
1916 
COPY- 
RIGHT 



WHITEHEAD ANT MILLER, PRINTERS, LEEDS, EXGLANI> 



CONTENTS 



PAG 1C 

PREFATORY : WHY "\YE SHOULD V STUDY 

RUSSIAN Music . 12 



THE FOUNDERvS : 

I. GUNKA 16 

II. DARGOMIJSKY 22 

" THE FIVE." 

III. BAIvAKIREE 28 

IV. CUI 34 

V. BORODIN |o 

VI. MOUSSORGSKY 46 

VII. RlMSKY-KORSAKOF 52 

THE CONSERVATIVE ELEMENT : 

VIII. SEKOF, TCHAIKOVSKY, THE RUBINSTEINS, 

TANEYEE AND GLAZOUNOF . . . . 58 

THE NEW AGE. 

IX. vSKKYABiN, RAKIIMANINOK, TCHICREPNIN, 
REBIKOY, MEDTNER, GNIESSEN, 
PROKOFIEF AND M YASKOVSK Y . . . . 64 



PREFATORY 




12 AN INTRODUCTION 

PEOPLE who are interesting themselves in 
Russian music are doing so for a variety 
of reasons. Some because other people 
are doing it ; they have a very hazy 
notion as to why ; they speak of it as " this " 
Russian music, as if it were a peculiar form of 
the tonal art, peculiar in the sense that the 
sounds that come from the seolian or the Jew's 
harp are peculiar, perhaps as if it were, so to 
say, music with a " sky " tacked on to the end 

of its name. 

* * * 

Others are interested for political reasons, 
recognising that as we have entered into an 
alliance with the Russians it is high time that 
we began to find out what sort of folk our allies 
really are, and these people are rapidly dis- 
covering as Borodin prophesied they would 
that the Russians are not the " eaters of tallow 
candles and polar bears " some of us once 

thought them. 

* * * 

But there is another class, and it is obviously 
the smallest, of students of Russian music. 
" There is no doubt," wrote Mr. Francis To ye, 
in the July, 1914, number of the English Review, 
" that we are in full revolt against German 
music ..." Coming away from the Paris 
performance (in June, 1914) of Strauss' Legend 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 13 

of Joseph, says M. Jean-Aubry in La Musique 
Francaise d'attjourd'hui, he remarked to a 
friend and he has often since been reminded 
of it " that here were the clearest symptoms 
of decadence." " But/' writes Mr. Edwin 
Evans, in a review of the above-mentioned book, 
" I have apparently held longer than the author 
that the German tradition began to decline 
as German materialism gained the ascendant." 



It will quickly become obvious to those who 
compare the recent music of Russia and of 
Prussia, that while the latter is in a decline, 
the former is in a particularly flourishing con- 
dition. The people who were studying Russian 
music long before the War and wondered why 
the British musical public persisted in ignoring 
all the great Russians excepting Tchaikovsky, 
knew that Debussy was saved from the great 
wave of Wagnerism that all but engulfed Europe 
in the 'eighties through his good fortune in 
learning of the existence of Moussorgsky's 
Boris Godounof ; they knew that while there 
is much that is original in Pelleas et Melisande, 
it is in many respects to be regarded as the 
grandchild of Dargomijsky's somewhat austere 
opera, The Stone Guest, welcomed by the 
Russian reformers as " the keystone of the 



14 AN INTRODUCTION 



modern Russian opera " ; they knew that in 
leading the French movement for the foundation 
of a national school upon native traditions, 
Debussy had not the intention of copying, but 
of emulating the Russians who had succeeded 
in achieving this for their own music. 

It is because Russia has made a national music 
for herself, because she has contrived to endow 
Opera with a dignity that compels people to 
think of Opera as Drama, and not as a " Concert 
in costume," because her musicians have 
consistently preached nationalism not merely 
for themselves but for all nations, that we should 
study Russian music. We have much to learn 
from it, and, not least, how to be ourselves. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 15 



I. 

THE FOUNDERS 



GLINKA 



16 AN INTRODUCTION 



WHEN in 1812 the Muscovites saw the 
army of Europe's enemy retreating 
from the smouldering ruins of their 
ancient city, Michael Ivanovich 
Glinka had already celebrated his eighth birth- 
day, having been born on May 2Oth, 1804. 
He was hardly able at that time to realise the 
difference that had been made by this tremen- 
dous conflagration in the minds of his fellow- 
countrymen, but at a later date he saw clearly 
that the flames of Moscow had, as it were, 
illuminated the Empire, and that in their glare 
the Russian had caught a glimpse of his own 
soul. During Glinka's life he prepared a lamp 
whose flame should for ever throw a light upon 
this soul, and, 'ere he died, he had kindled it. 

Early Training and Environment. 

His early home life was favourable to the 
cultivation of a musical taste, for his uncle, 
who lived near, kept his own band, and the boy 
heard music of all kinds. But it was the folk- 
tunes they played that pleased him above 
everything, and what he afterwards achieved was 
largely due to their inspiration. When a child, 
he exclaimed to a teacher who could not under- 
stand his devotion : " Music is my soul." As a 
man he gave life to Russian music. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 17 

In 1817, he was taken to school in Petrograd, 
and his parents arranged that he should have 
good lessons on the piano and the violin, so that 
when his general education was finished and he 
entered the government service, his talents 
were already conspicuous, and he was made much 
of in musical circles. He found his official work 
tedious, but he made so many musical and 
artistic friends that his life, out of office hours, 
was highly congenial. In 1827 his father's 
fortune was suddenly increased, and, quitting 
the service, Glinka devoted himself entirely 
to music. There followed a perfect orgy of 
musical festivities in which he took a leading 
part, and the strain on his weak constitution 
was so severe that he was obliged to seek health 
in a warm climate. He spent the next three 
years (from 1830) in travelling about Italy, 
and it was towards the end of that time that, 
suffering fiom a surfeit of music that aroused no 
deep feelings within him, he experienced that 
sensation which in his diary he described as 
musical nostalgia, a desire to hear music that 
would minister to his racial sentiments and 
emotions. On his way home he stayed in Berlin 
and there took some lessons with the well-known 
teacher, Dehn, in musical theory. It was Dehn 
who challenged him to "go and write Russian 
music," and soon after this he wrote home to a 



i8 AN INTRODUCTION 



friend disclosing his resolve to compose an opera 
that would make his countrymen " feel at home " 
when they heard it. 

National Opera. 

On 27th November, 1836, this opera received 
its first performance, and Russian music began 
its wonderful and glorious career. A Life for 
the Tsar had delivered a message ; it had given 
a music to Russia, a music which Russians 
themselves had created. " We," said Glinka, 
speaking for composers, " are but the arrangers." 

The success of this work caused Glinka himself, 
as well as many other people, including the 
Tsar, to think of a further opera. When in 
Italy he had remarked that " our sad Russian 
songs are children of the North, with certain 
Oriental characteristics," and taking as his 
" plot," Pushkin's folk-poem, Russian and 
Ludmila, he laid particular emphasis upon its 
oriental episodes by setting them to music of 
Eastern origin. Partly because Russians had 
not yet opened their hearts to their wonderful 
folk-loie, and partly because Glinka had suc- 
ceeded even better than in A Life for the Tsar 
in ridding himself of the Italian mannerisms so 
dear to the conventional opera-goer of that day, 
Russian and Ludmila, on its production on the 
sixth anniversary of that of the first opera, 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 19 

was not so successful as its predecessor : its 
national colour was less obvious, but it only 
needed public enlightenment to make its full 
effect, and on musicians of the next and suc- 
ceeding generations its influence has been 
incalculable. 

Glinka, somewhat piqued at its moderate 
success, began once more to travel, and while in 
Spain perceived that the folk-songs of that 
country, like those of his own, were quite un- 
known to its people and even to its musicians. 
Making a collection of them, he wrote two 
Spanish orchestral pieces, and in this new form 
of short symphonic popular piece he composed 
his Kamarinskaya fantasia on two folk-songs 
heard at a Russian village wedding. He had now 
another project in view, and, for the purpose 
of tiacing the connection between his native 
folk-song and the ancient ecclesiastical modes, 
he once more visited Dehn in Berlin. Meyerbeer, 
hearing of his presence there, arranged a concert 
in his honour, and it was on leaving the hall that 
Glinka contracted the chill which ended fatally 
on February i5th, 1857. 

Glinka's Work for Russian Music. 

Glinka is known as the Father of Russian 
Music. He founded a family of musical forms 
which may be briefly described as follows : 



20 AN INTRODUCTION 



Opera, in which a deeply patriotic historical 
text is set to music written as far as possible 
in the folk-style ; Opera, in which the fantastic 
or fairy element of Russian folk-lore is the 
primary characteristic, and in which the Eastern 
flavour, so conspicuous in Slavonic legend and 
art, is heightened by music which suggests the 
Orient ; Orchestral music in which the tradi- 
tional symphonic mould is discarded for a shorter 
and more popular form, and of which the con- 
tent is " national." Tchaikovsky described 
Kamarinskaya as " a source at which Russian 
composers will drink for long years to come." 

What Glinka did for Spain will 'ere long 
become manifest, for the Spaniards are already 
beginning to show that his lesson has been well 
learned. Glinka is not only the father of 
Russian musical nationalism, but of universal 
nationalism in music. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 21 



II. 

DARGOMIJSKY 



22 AN INTRODUCTION 

AI/EXANDER Sergeyevich Dargomijsky 
was born on 2nd February, 1813, in the 
government of Toula, whence his father, 
a well-to-do land-owner and civil servant 
had fled in the previous year from his country 
property at Smolensk, on the approach of 
Napoleon's army. Making, in 1817, a further 
change of domicile, the family settled in Petro- 
grad, and, arriving in the capital, lost no time in 
arranging for the cultivation of the musical 
gifts the child had already shown himself to 
possess. " Already at the age of eleven or so," 
says Cheshikin, in The Russian Opera, " Dargo- 
mijsky played the violin and the piano (Glinka 
spoke of him as a very vigorous pianist), had 
made some attempts at composition and was 
taking lessons in singing." 

Education and Early Works. 

His general education was conducted at home, 
and when this was finished he secured an ap- 
pointment in the Civil Service. Thus placed, 
he seems to have repeated the experiences of 
Glinka ; the work was uncongenial, but contact 
with highly placed government officials won him 
the entree into the salons where his talents were 
valued. Through his repute in these circles he 
became known in 1833 to Glinka, who showed 
him in which direction lay his duty towards 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 23 

the musical art. Glinka also induced and 
assisted him to acquire a theoretical knowledge. 
Fortified by his study of the exercise books used 
by the composer of A Life for the Tsar when 
working with Dehn in Berlin, he proceeded 
to compose an opera on the subject of Hugo's 
Notre Dame* performed after some years' 
delay at Moscow, in 1847. Dargomijsky, whose 
artistic judgment and power had in the mean- 
time matured, describes the work as being in 
the style of Meyerbeer and Halevy, but, gratified 
by its popular success, he determined to try 
again. He accordingly dramatised a Cantata 
called The Triumph of Bacchus, offering it in 
its new shape as an opera-ballet to the Operatic 
Directorate : they refused to produce it, and 
it was shelved for some twenty years. 

" Russalka." 

From the end of 1843 until early in 1845, 
Dargomijsky was travelling abroad, meeting 
several famous musicians, among them the very 
men to whom he attributes the style of his 
successful opera. We do not read that he actually 
suffered from the musical nostalgia recorded in 
Glinka's diary, but on his return home he began, 
like the older composer, to write a national 
opera. Owing, however, to the discouraging 

* ^Dargomijsky used the title, Esmeralda, given by 
Hugo to his own dramatic adaptation. 



24 AN INTRODUCTION 

reception of his opera-ballet he only composed 
intermittently, preferring to occupy himself 
with some very fine songs, and it was not until 
1853 that he resolved on completing it. Rus- 
salka, as it was called, was not a great success 
with a public little inclined to be enthusiastic 
about an opera on a Russian folk-subject con- 
structed on unfamiliar lines. But Dargomijsky 
had a better purpose than merely to court the 
approval of the contemporary public. 

" The Stone Guest." 

On returning in 1865 from a second absence 
abroad, during which he had visited France, 
Germany, Belgium and England, he allied 
himself closely with the little band of reformers 
with whom, through Moussorgsky, he had 
previously made an acquaintance, and it was 
then that he began to occupy himself with that 
epoch-making work, The Stone Guest, hailed 
by the " Invincible Band " as the embodiment 
of the artistic principles which they had drawn 
up as their code. His health now began to fail, 
but thanks to the intense interest and under- 
standing displayed by these friends he felt 
quite satisfied, when on his death-bed in January, 
1869, in confiding its completion to them. 
The finishing touches were entrusted to Cui, the 
scoring to Rimsky-Korsakof. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 25 

Dargomijsky's Reforms in Opera. 

Referring to Glinka's youthful avowal, " Music 
is my soul," Cheshikin avers that Dargomijsky 
might well have said that poetry was his. Per- 
haps it will be easier for students to obtain a 
clear notion as to the divergence in their ideals 
if we associate with Glinka the desire to cleanse 
Russian music of its foreign style and substance, 
and with Dargomijsky the firm intention of 
eradicating certain absurdities which had 
obtained sanction in dramatic music. While 
agreeing cordially with Glinka that native music 
ought to be Russian in flavour, he felt the 
necessity of making music, and especially 
opera, a more dignified form of art. When he 
chose for his motto, " The sound must repre- 
sent the word/' he meant that music written to 
a text ought to be appropriate to the words, 
but he had also in mind that closer connection 
between the music of an opera and its dramatic 
action which he sought to establish in Russalka 
and The Stone Guest. In a word, he refused to 
countenance that kind of opera which was 
obviously intended simply as a means of showing 
off the superb voices of the principal actors, 
and which consisted of a series of tuneful pieces. 
In Russalka he followed Glinka by adopting a 
folk-subject text written by the great national 
poet, Pushkin, but it was as a pioneer that he 



26 AN INTRODUCTION 

set about the broadening of the melodic subs- 
tance until it had the nature of a recitative, and 
thus a resemblance to real speech. A further 
innovation was the introduction of a pungent 
native humour (this is also to be found in his 
songs) which is as national a characteristic 
as that reflected by the pathetic heroism of 
A Life for the Tsar. 

But in The Stone Guest he went ever so much 
further. As though to prove that music could 
ally itself on equal terms with drama and not 
merely as a species of ornamentation, he took 
Pushkin's " dramatic scenes " and set the text 
exactly as it stood to music, making no con- 
cessions to the public's weakness for melody 
nor to its willing disregard of dramatic verity. 
This was the opera that Cui called the " key- 
stone of modern Russian music," and it was The 
Stone Guest also, which, having proved a model 
for the form of Moussorgsky's Boris Godounof, 
influenced Debussy, through that work, to 
make a similar experiment in setting Maeter- 
linck's Pelleas et Melisande. Thus while Glinka 
helped to revive the neglected folk-song both 
of Russia and of Spain, Dargomijsky caused 
opera to be cleansed and remodelled not 
only in his fatherland, but far beyond its 
confines. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 



III. 

"THE FIVE" 

BALAKIREF 



28 AN INTRODUCTION 



M 



Alexe} r evich Balakiref was born on 
2ist December, 1836, in Nijni- 
Novgorod about a month after the 
production of A Life for the Tsar. His 
musical education was of a rather casual kind. 
When four years of age he began to learn the 
piano from his mother, then for a short time 
he took lessons with a good teacher in Moscow, 
but soon returned home to prepare for entrance 
into the University of Kazan. During the period 
of these studies he occupied himself as seriously 
as they would allow with a self-education in 
music. I/ater on, becoming acquainted with 
Oulibishef, the biographer of Mozart, he was 
considerably helped by this well-known critic, 
who made the young man free of an exception- 
ally fine library at his country house, and allowed 
him to experiment with the private band which 
was there maintained. Finally Balakiref was 
introduced by him to Glinka, who entrusted him 
with the noble mission of carrying on the work 
begun with A Life for the Tsar. 

" The Invincible Band." 

Acquaintance with Cesar Cui very soon fol- 
lowed, and then it was that the two young men 
founded the little association known to historians 
as the " mighty little heap," the " Invincible 
Band," and (by the French) as " I^es Cinq." 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 29 

Balakiref had a fine talent as a pianist, and this 
at once made him a persona grata in Petrograd 
musical circles. But it was his extraordinary 
knowledge of the classical musical literature 
which a phenomenal memory enabled him to 
quote at will, that earned the admiration and 
respect of the reformers grouped about him, 
and they were at first sufficiently cognisant of 
their own inferiority to submit to his ruling 
on all matters musical. As time went on, 
however and the members of the group " found 
their feet " as composers, they became dis- 
inclined to accept advice which often did 
violence to their individual temperaments, and 
eventually each member of the Band took his 
own path. Meanwhile Balakiref had begun 
to make a position for himself in Petrograd, 
and in his capacity as director of the concerts 
of both the Imperial Musical Society and 
the Free School of Music (which he had helped 
to found), he was able to further the prospects 
of the National School by including in his 
programmes the works composed by his four 
disciples. Although subscribing to the reform- 
ative operatic principles drawn up in consultation 
with Dargomijsky, Balakiref made only one 
attempt, which he soon abandoned, to apply 
them. But with his two orchestral works on 
Russian themes, his Oriental piano-fantasia, 



3 o AN INTRODUCTION 

Islafney, the symphonic poem, Tamara, and a 
number of very lyrical songs, he contributed 
in a remarkable measure to the perpetuation 
of the Glinkist tradition. 

In 1874 his personality underwent a great 
change, partly due, it is said, to financial 
misfortune, and he became more or less of a 
spiritual recluse, being for some time lost to 
his friends. He reappeared in Petrograd in 
1881 and once more took over the direction 
of the Free School. Two years later he was 
appointed chief of the Imperial Chapel and, 
together with Rimsky-Korsakof, his assistant, 
carried out some much needed reforms in the 
conduct of that institution, but in 1895 he once 
again disappeared from view and was only 
occasionally seen in Petrograd. His last visit 
to the capital was made shortly before his death 
in 1910, but the concert which he had hoped to 
give on that occasion had to be abandoned 
owing to lack of public support. 

A Follower of Glinka. 

Balakiref's labours in the cause of Russian 
Nationalism are not so easily identifiable with 
the precept of Glinka as are those of his con- 
temporaries and colleagues Borodin, Moussorg- 
sky and Rimsky-Korsakof, because of his failure 
to write an opera. But apart altogether from 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 31 

his administrative occupations, which show 
him to have been a true disciple, he contributed 
some works that in virtue of their quality form 
an important addition to the treasury of Russian 
national music. The symphonic poem, Russia, 
the overture on three Russian themes, and his 
collection of folk-songs, mark him out as a 
pioneer in the direction hinted at by Glinka's 
Kamarinskaya ; the seed of the Oriental works, 
Tamara and the wonderful Islamey, may be 
said to have been sown in the Eastern music of 
Russian and Ludmilla, while the theme of the 
Spanish overture, as well as the intention of 
celebrating the folk-music of Spain, came from 
the composer of the Jota Aragonese and A Sum- 
mer Night in Madrid. As for his songs they 
owe much to the influence of Glinka and com- 
paratively little to that of Dargomijsky. 



32 AN INTRODUCTION 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 



IV. 
GUI 



AN INTRODUCTION 



AT the earliest point in the life-history 
(not yet complete) of Cesar Antono- 
vich Cui we find a link with the episode 
to which the awakening of Russian 
nationalistic sensibility is attributed. His 
father, a Frenchman, was left wounded, and thus 
escaped the horrors of the disastrous retreat 
of 1812, and having found work as a teacher of 
his native tongue, married and settled at Vilna, 
where our subject was born on i8th January, 
1835. His parents chose for him a military 
career, and to judge from the distinction he has 
earned as an authority on the subject of forti- 
fication, there seems little reason to suppose that 
he had less vocation for soldiering than for music. 

His Work for Russian Music. 

The value of his labours as a musician lies in 
his capacity rather for precept than for practice. 
Having received very little tuition and being 
busily occupied in preparing for his military 
examinations, the development of his musical 
talent was deferred until the beginning of his 
association with Balakiref. It was then that 
his clear grasp of the question of operatic reform, 
his sympathy with the ideals of Dargomijsky, 
and his understanding of matters vocal, earned 
for him the respect of his musical comrades, 
and for a time he shared with Balakiref the 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 35 



leadership of the Circle. But despite his fervid 
advocacy of the Glinkist and Dargomijskian 
principles, displayed in many a journalistic 
battle on behalf of the nationalist group and 
its propaganda, in his own compositions he 
has interpreted the doctrines somewhat elas- 
tically. A prolific composer, he has not yet 
produced anything worthy of a place among 
the masterpieces left by his fellow-workers in 
the cause of nationalism. And even the 
delightful satire with which his critical articles 
abound is very often quite misapplied. 

His Operas. 

His activities as an operatic composer show 
how loosely he has construed the canons to 
which he committed himself in his literary 
labours. His first opera, The Mandarin's Son, 
on a text by V. Krilof, owed much to Auber 
and something to Offenbach. Most of The 
Captive of the Caucasus, after Pushkin's 
youthful poem, was composed before the asso- 
ciation with Dargomijsky had begun, but even 
the extra act, added in 1881, might well, in 
some particulars, have been written in defiance 
rather than in support of the approved principles. 
William Ratdiff is based on Heine's tragedy, 
but here, although Cui has observed the Dargo- 
mijskian code in the letter, the spirit of musical 



36 AN INTRODUCTION 



interpretation is conspicuously lacking. In 
Angela, derived from Hugo's drama, the com- 
poser, while more successful in this respect, 
transgresses against one of the vital tenets by 
interpolating a whole act for musical purposes. 
The Saracen, on a Dumas plot, earned him the 
soubriquet of the "Northern Bellini." Le Fli- 
bustier is a setting of Richepin's drama of 
Brittany, and was published and first performed 
in Paris. A French critic pronounced it to be 
as dull " as a L,ondon fog " while his compatriots 
marvelled at the adaptability of the mind that 
could reconcile the choice of a French wine 
when filling so Russian a vessel as the structural 
form of this work, which was closely modelled 
on The Stone Guest. They must have been 
equally surprised at the next essay, Mmlle. Fifi, 
after de Maupassant's famous impeachment of 
Prussian brutality, which contains French 
folk-song and the Wacht am Rhein, and thus 
comes curiously from him who contemptuously 
styled Rubinstein " a Russian composer of 
music." In his last two operas Cui appears 
better to have realised his responsibilities and 
has returned to Pushkin, but his use in one 
instance of a plot derived by that poet from 
"Christopher North," and in the other of an 
adaptation of a prose tale, shows him still to 
be far less capable than Rimsky-Korsakof of 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 37 

creating a work which abides by the new 
Russian tradition. 

His musical gift is not of a kind that allows 
of the composition of a large work in which the 
sense of the text is faithfully reflected. He is 
essentially a miniaturist, and far from being a 
nationalist in practice, is as thorough a cosmo- 
politan as Saint-Saens. He is to be seen at his 
best in some of his many songs and small piano 
pieces in which the defects of his operatic 
compositions become virtues. 



38 AN INTRODUCTION 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 39 



V. 
BORODIN 



40 AX INTRODUCTION 

IN the career of Alexander Porfirievich Borodin, 
born in Petrograd on 3ist October, 1834, 
we have a further example of that dual 
occupation already noted in reference to 
Cui. In pursuit of his calling of professor of 
chemistry and lecturer in medicine, his enthu- 
siasm for the primary vocation was in no measure 
inferior to that of Cui, but his contribution to 
Russian musical literature is immensely superior. 
Although he was one of the first to repudiate 
the hard and fast code of The Stone Guest, the 
music he has left us is to be considered not only 
as showing his regard for the Glinkist tradition 
of lyricism and a humour of a kind which recalls 
the composer of Russalka, but as a wonderful 
manifestation of Oriental colouring that is to 
be traced not so much to a knowledge of R^^sslan 
and Ludmilla as to an Eastern ancestry. 

Association with the Nationalists. 

In Borodin's early musical tastes quite a 
different tendency was noticeable. He was a 
great lover of Mendelssohn, to whose chamber 
music he was probably attracted by his love of 
melody. But on his appointment as doctor 
in a military hospital he came across Mous- 
sorgsky, then an army officer, and this, leading 
to an acquaintance with Balakiref in 1862, 
resulted in his subsequent enthusiasm for the 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 



nationalist cause. Balakiref, ignoring, as was 
his custom, the scientist's want of musical 
training (he was only a passable pianist and had 
but an amateurish command of both 'cello and 
flute) immediately advised him to write a 
symphony, while V. V. Stassof, the art critic, 
not yet aware of his aversion from Dargo- 
mijskian purism, proposed to him an operatic 
subject to be treated on the lines of The Stone 
Guest. He proceeded with the first, but soon 
abandoned the second and less congenial task. 

** Prince Igor." 

Borodin did not reveal his full power until 
some time later, when he addressed himself to 
the famous B minor symphony and the magni- 
ficent opera, Prince Igor. In the music of these 
we see reflected all the archaic pageantry and 
the heroic Eastern splendour of which Borodin 
had discovered the records when studying the 
literature of the period of The Tale of Igor's 
Band, an epic poem with a subject dating back 
to the twelfth century. The composition of 
the opera proceeded very slowly, owing partly 
to an embarrassing abundance of material 
collected during these preliminary studies, and 
partly to the composer's activity in other 
spheres. Borodin, one of the founders of the 
Petrjgrad Academy of Medicine for Women, 



42 AN INTRODUCTION 

lectured regularly at this and other institutions, 
and spent a good deal of time in private research 
work. In consequence of this over-crowded 
life he only had leisure to compose when unwell, 
and, strange as it may seem, he was often better 
inspired when indisposed than when in good 
health. In the end, Prince Igor was left un- 
finished. On Borodin's death in 1887 the task 
of collecting and arranging the profusion of 
material, much of it familiar, fell on the shoulders 
of Rimsky-Korsakof and Glazounof, the latter 
writing out the overture from memory. It was 
received, when first performed in 1890, with 
the greatest enthusiasm, as a truly Russian 
document. 

Borodin's reputation rests on his opera, his 
second symphony, his second quartet and 
some superb songs, some of which were known 
and admired in England long before his author- 
ship of an opera was suspected. Among the 
many friends he made when on his extended 
pilgrimages to Western Europe none was more 
enthusiastic than I^iszt, of whom there is a fine 
word portrait to be found in the letters of 
Borodin to his wife. 

The Opera of an Optimist. 

Prince Igor is considered in Russia to be, in a 
sense, the modern parallel to Glinka's Ri^slan 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 43 

and Ludmilla. It has, however, certain features 
in common with the music dramas of Moussorg- 
sky, such as the prominence of the chorus, and 
the inclusion of the two clownish characters. 
But the general impression gained from a hearing 
of the work is that of the cheerfulness of the 
music designed to reflect the optimism of the 
protagonists when faced with misfortune. Boro- 
din, himself an optimist and none the less a 
Russian, has given us a fresh and very welcome 
view of the national character. 



44 AN INTRODUCTION 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 45 



VI. 
MOUSSORGSKY 



46 AN INTRODUCTION 

MODESTB Petrovich Moussorgsky, more 
than any of the composers with whom 
his name is linked, was the child of 
his age. He began his life on March 
i6th, 1839, just about twenty years before the 
great act of Emancipation by which millions 
of serfs were liberated in 1861, and ended it 
on his forty-second birthday, twenty years 
after that event. His personality and outlook 
on life were tremendously affected by the social 
changes taking place around him and, beginning 
as a youth desirous of employing an unusual 
talent for the piano and a pleasant voice as a 
means of commending himself to society, he 
resolved, in early manhood, to demonstrate 
that music was not intended to be a self-suffi- 
cient art, but a vehicle of human intercourse. 
In this view he was encouraged by Dargomijsky, 
lo whom he was introduced by a brother officer 
in the Preobajensky, or " crack " regiment of 
Guards. And he was so thoroughly imbued 
with the spirit of his mission that he resigned 
from the army and faced financial stress rather 
than abandon it. 

Inspiration of Folk Music. 

With Dargomijsky's creed, which he inter- 
preted as " the truth whatever it may cost," 
he, of all the " Five," was most in sympathy, 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 47 

and not long after The Stone Guest was put before 
Balakiref's circle he began The Matchmaker, 
a work of similar kind. But his allegiance to 
Glinka was strengthened by the folk-tales he 
had heard, as had Pushkin and many another 
Russian, from his nurse, and in his great national 
opera, Boris Godounof, we find him inspired not 
only by a historical subject hardly less signi- 
ficant than that of A Life for the Tsar, but also 
by a deep appreciation of the poetry inherent 
in popular legend and song. In Khovanshchina, 
an equally famous work, he pays a further 
tribute to his precursors ; its plot deeply con- 
cerns the annals of " Holy Russia," its music 
contains more than one example of genuine 
folk-song and many pages in which its spirit 
is reflected, while in structural form it is much 
indebted to the Dargomijskian model. 

Truth in Music. 

But apart from the qualities which prove him 
to be so worthy a disciple of his two great pre- 
decessors he is to be credited with a profound 
insight into the real nature of music itself, 
and it was as a seer in a region in which others 
had been blind that he insisted on a free path 
for musical progress. Musicians, he protested, 
must not base their art on the laws of the past, 
but on the needs of the future. The surviving 



48 AN INTRODUCTION 

music of the past began as the music of the 
future. 

With these views is often connected Mous- 
sorgsky's apparent indifference to theoretical 
study. But recently published documents 
prove that if he was not practically proficient in 
technical matters he at least understood them 
and felt that his aloofness would enable him to 
compose as he felt unhampered by the tradi- 
tions which become second nature to the 
schooled musician. 

His views were by no means congenial to 
his friends, and through this divergence, as well 
as their disapproval of his rather wild mode of 
life, they became little by little estranged. 
But on his death, due to sheer physical decay, 
they rallied round him and arranged for the 
completion of the unfinished works, many of 
which have since been published. 

In none of his compositions can his develop- 
ment more clearly be traced, his life-story better 
be told, than in his songs. Some earlier speci- 
mens such as the Hopak show him as a melodist ; 
with the growing desire for " the truth " we 
see him representing, as in Savishna, not only 
the word, but ,the tone of voice in his music. 
In the Nursery cycle of child -scenes he reflects 
even gesture. During the period of Cui's 
warfare with the opponents of nationalism and 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 49 

progress he revealed himself to be a satirist, 
and in the Classicist and the Peepshow is to be 
found a biting sarcasm which depends very 
much for its point upon their musical material. 
And finally, when the premature end seemed 
to be rapidly approaching, he was impelled by 
the realisation of his destiny to write the 
two cycles, Without Sunlight and the Songs and 
Dances of Death, which contain all the poetic 
feeling, human sympathy and artistic sincerity 
engendered by his experience of life and inspired 
by his profound genius. 



50 AN INTRODUCTION 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 



VII. 
RIMSKY-KORSAKOF 



52 AN INTRODUCTION 



NICHOLAS Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakof 
was born at Tikhvin on March 6th, 
1844, an d came of a stocK that was 
accustomed to give its scions to the 
naval and military service of its country. Thus 
the man who was destined to consolidate the 
traditions founded by Glinka and Dargomijsky 
and handed on by Balakiref to his disciples, 
and moreover, to perpetuate that tradition by 
training the musical minds of a later generation , 
began his career as a naval cadet who was 
interested in music, and though very little 
versed in it preferred Russian and Ludmilla 
to the works which found favour in his social 
circle. 

A Sailor Musician. 

His position in Balakiref's group was 
altogether that of a pupil, for he had neither 
instrumental talent nor theoretical knowledge. 
And soon after his first appearance at their 
meetings he was obliged to leave Russia on a 
three years' naval cruise. Despite these dis- 
abilities, however, he had begun, on Balakiref's 
advice, to write a symphony, to which during 
the cruise he made some additions, and on his 
return to Russia, -becoming more and more 
attracted by the musical life, finally abandoned 
his naval career. I,ater on, when offered a 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 53 

position (on the strength of his symphony 
and the orchestral work, Antar, which displayed 
an intuitive grasp of essentials at which he never 
ceased to marvel) as professor at Petrograd 
Conservatoire, he made, after some hesitation, 
trie double resolve to accept, and to prepare 
himself for the post ! He felt himself to be a 
complete ignoramus, and, beginning by stealthily 
gathering information from his pupils, prosecuted 
his studies so assiduously as to become one of 
the finest musicians, in the scholastic sense, in 
Russia. 

Rimsky-Korsakof as Opera Writer. 

But his activities as conductor, teacher and 
administrator do not by any means overshadow 
his creative achievements. As the composer 
of fifteen operas in which there is stored a wealth 
of historical, legendary and spiritual material, 
and by means of which he has created a distinct 
type of opera, based upon a fusion of st} 7 les, 
each of them having associations with the 
Russian tradition, by his wonderful symphonic 
pictures of the barbaric East, and by such 
works as the Serbian Fantasia and the Spanish 
Caprice, he has earned the right to be considered 
a composer in whose music all the streams of 
Russian musical nationalism unite in one mighty 
current. 



54 AN INTRODUCTION 

Rimsky-Korsakof and Glazounof. 

One of the first of the many pupils who have 
won distinction for themselves and thus added 
to their master's fame was Glazounof. The 
intimacy between them was the beginning of 
a new chapter in Russian musical history, 
one which opens a story in no wise inferior in 
interest to that of the " Invincible Band." 
Through Glazounof's supporter, Belayef, retired 
timber merchant and altruistic publisher, 
Rimsky-Korsakof was enabled to establish a 
new circle to replace that which Balakiref's 
retirement had rendered moribund, and in the 
early 'eighties he found himself in the position 
of a musical statesman, a privilege he never 
abused. 

It may safely be said that while the under- 
standing, so earnestly desired between Britain 
and Russia, has been greatly helped by our 
knowledge of those operas which have proved 
our previous estimate of the Slav character to 
be false, we shall never appreciate the beauties 
of Russian legendary lore and the measure of 
their appeal to the Slav, until such operas as 
Sadko, The Snow-Maiden, Kashchei, Tsar Saltan, 
and K.itej have been made familiar to us. Only 
then shall we see how inextricably can music 
become bound up with the social life of a people, 
how opera can be elevated to a form of worship, 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 55 

and lastly how thoroughly and yet with what 
subtlety music may be permeated with a 
nationalistic sentiment. 

Rimsky-Korsakof's death, in 1908, left a 
gap in the Russian musical world which has 
vet to be rilled. 



56 AN INTRODUCTION 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 57 



VIII. 
THE CONSERVATIVE ELEMENT 

SEROF, TCHAIKOVSKY, THE RUBINSTEINS, 
TANEYEF AND GLAZOUNOF 



58 AN INTRODUCTION 



IT is natural that the latter-day historians of 
Western Europe, whose main desire has 
been that of establishing the Nationalist 
Group in its rightful position, or, perhaps 
one should say, to proclaim its existence, 
should have said much less about the opposing 
body of musicians than would have been told 
had both sections of Russian musical society 
been discovered by us simultaneously. The 
names of Anton Rubinstein and Tchai- 
kovsky were famous the world over long before 
those of the nationalists were known even to 
the few who sought a wider acquaintance with 
the Russian School. It is not long since the 
Russians themselves were quite content to rest 
on the laurels gained by these two men, and it 
is only of recent years that the work of the 
" mighty little heap " has received the honour 
due, but nearly always denied, to prescience. 
" When I proclaimed to them the truth," says 
I/ermontof s prophet, " my neighbours furiously 
stoned me." 

The nationalists were centred in Petrograd 
a name which, by the way, they frequently used 
in preference to Peter's now for ever discarded 
German appellation. But in the new, as well 
as in Moscow, the old capital, there were music- 
ians who did not at first look with favour upon 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 59 

these attempts to establish a tradition of 
nationalism in Russian music. 

The first opposition came from Serof (1820- 
1871), who had begun as a warm admirer of 
Glinka's A Life for the Tsar, had then succumbed 
to the almost universal influence of Wagner, 
and who, after becoming more friendly to the 
nationalists whom he had formerly attacked 
with an ardour bordering on ferocity, set about 
writing an opera in which he proposed to apply 
the Wagnerian principle to music based on folk 
material interpreted in a Russian text. The 
position of Serof in Russian musical affairs at 
this time was, however, one of isolation. He, 
as has been hinted, was not in close sympathy 
with the nationalists, and as an advocate of 
Wagner he came too early to win many adher- 
ents to the cause of the mighty Teuton's music. 

Opposition of the Conservatoires. 

The really organised opposition to the " Five " 
and their supporters (Stassof, the art critic, 
being the doughtiest) came from the conserva- 
toires in Petrograd and Moscow. Over the 
former ruled Anton Rubinstein, who had 
founded it in 1862, while his brother Nicholas 
presided at the conservatoire in Moscow. In 
the earliest days of the first institution there 
came within its portals two students who were 



60 AN INTRODUCTION 

destined to wield a considerable influence over 
Russian musical society. The first, Hermann 
I,aroche, composed little, but became a cele- 
brated lecturer and writer, and was one of the 
first to proclaim the merits of the second, who 
was Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky. The latter even- 
tually migrated to Moscow, where he joined 
forces with Nicholas Rubinstein, upholding 
there a tradition of sound musicianship and of 
adherence to the methods of musical speech 
prevailing in Western Europe. Meanwhile 
Balakiref and his nationalist associates in the 
new capital had founded the Free School of Music, 
and had also contrived to secure a footing in the 
conservatoire, to the staff of which Rimsky- 
Korsakof was appointed in 1871, and Balakiref 
had succeeded Anton Rubinstein as conductor 
of the Imperial Russian Musical Society. For 
a time there was between these rival groups a 
bitter warfare. For the nationalists, Stassof 
and Cui, fought with the utmost vigour. Against 
them were L,aroche, Famintsin, Solovief and 
others whose names are to be found in Mouss- 
orgsky's Peep-show, a work in which the situa- 
tion is admirably reproduced. 

It is perhaps unnecessary to mention that as 
usual there was a certain amount of right on both 
sides. Musical Russia needed the nationalist 
campaign just as badly as it had needed a some- 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 61 



what similar movement in Literature, instituted 
at the turn of the century by Pushkin. But if 
we trace to its root the present splendid music- 
ianship displayed by the rising generation, we 
shall find ourselves obliged to admit that but for 
the Petrograd and Moscow conservatoires and 
their steady resolve to cultivate musical tech- 
nique in all its branches (a study to which a 
special impetus was given by the desire to dis- 
credit the " dilettantism " of the nationalists) 
Russian music would to-day be in a very 
different condition. 

On the other hand the nationalistic ideal 
influenced in no small degree those who dis- 
played so inimical an attitude towards it. 
Anton Rubinstein was brought to recognise its 
value partly by the respectful attention paid 
by the public to Boris Godounof, but he was not 
himself altogether successful as a composer of 
national opera. Tchaikovsky admitted that 
" even " the nationalists had exerted some 
influence on his operatic style, and it has been 
shown by the correspondence published since 
his death how greatly he was indebted to 
Balakiref for artistic advice. 

A Double Victory. 

Little by little, then, the battle died down, 
and it ended in victory for both sides, and 



62 AN INTRODUCTION 

consequently, for Russian music. The nationalist 
ideal gained a greater measure of acceptance, 
and Rimsky-Korsakof silenced the jibes against 
dilettantism by becoming a first-rate musician. 
Glazounof, his successor as chief at the Petro- 
grad Conservatoire, and for some time associated 
with the nationalist group, inaugurated there 
a fresh tradition of technique and of a reverence 
for classicism which is far less characteristic of 
the Moscow School than once it was. Here, 
since the retirement of Taneyef (who was much 
influenced by L,aroche, N. Rubinstein, and 
Tchaikovsky, but whose music has far less 
modern colouring than the latter's), and the 
death of Arensky, who, unlike Taneyef, could 
not countenance individuality in his pupils, the 
Conservatoire has become associated with a 
many-hued progressiveness, while in Petrograd 
there is once more a group of young men who 
are in active dissent from the conservative 
attitude maintained by Glazounof. 

The connecting links between the old regime 
and the new age in Russian music are Rimsky- 
Korsakof and Taneyef. Each, as the director 
of a great Conservatoire, has left behind him 
a number of pupils who have already proved 
that the glory of Russian music is not waning. 
With the achievements and aspirations of these 
pupils it is now proposed to deal. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 



IX. 

THE NEW AGE 

SKRYABIN, RAKHMANINOF, TCHEREPNIN, REBIKOF, MEDTNER, 
GNIESSIN, PROXOFIEF AND MYASKOVSKY 



64 AN INTRODUCTION 



THE history of Russia's musical past 
possesses such clearly defined features, 
groups itself so conveniently, and falls 
so definitely into epochs, that the com- 
piling of its record presents no difficulties. 
Turning to the present, however, and scanning 
the names of those whose achievements, though 
in some cases slender as to quantity, stamp 
them as belonging to the future as well as to 
our own time, one is amazed at the variety of 
aim evinced by the several distinguished creative 
artists who form the present movement in 
Russian music. One attempts to divide them 
according to their scholastic origins, and, as a 
result, the names of Rakhmaninof and Skryabin, 
or of Stravinsky and Steinberg claim a juxta- 
position which might well be designed as a 
symbol of superlative incongruity. To seek any 
other means of classification is well-nigh futile 
since almost every worthy Russian composer 
of the day has a style of his own, and were we 
to couple the names of Rakhmaninof and 
Glazounof as representing the Old Guard that 
refuses to surrender but succeeds nevertheless 
in flourishing mightily, there would then have 
to be explained that their creative ideals have 
apparently little in common. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 65 

Rakhmaninof. 

There would be little need to say more of so 
well-known a composer as Rakhmaninof, whose 
style may be described as that of a romanticist 
with a harmonic manner affording few surprises, 
were it not that in the last few years he has 
signified his approval, in unexpected fashion, 
of the aims of Dargomijsky's apostles. His 
little known, though occasionally performed 
one-act opera The Niggardly Knight, written to 
one of the series of three Pushkin playlets of 
which The Stone Guest is the first, is a work 
which proves that if the tree of Russian operatic 
reform has not flourished to the extent one 
would desire, its roots have travelled far under- 
ground. The Niggardly Knight testifies to 
unseen depths in the well of Rakhmaninof's 
creative power, and it is said that no one 
welcomes the light that has been shed thereon 
more than the composer himself. 

Older Composers of To-day. 

Among the senior composers to be discovered 
in the heterogeneous ranks of the present day 
Russian School there are one or two men who 
recall the fm-de-siede exchange of political, 
social and artistic ideas between France and 
Russia. Of these may be mentioned Sergei 
Vassilenko, who, in addition to material in 



66 AN INTRODUCTION 



which there is an occasional reference to the 
history, legend and literature of his own country, 
has given us music containing something more 
than a hint of French impressionism ; Tcherep- 
nin, famous with us for his ballets, also provides 
an instance of similar influence, and in his last 
work for the theatre, a Choreodrama on the 
subject of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red 
Death, shows that he has an abiding sympathy 
with the countrymen of Baudelaire, the Ameri- 
can poet's French translator. A sojourn in 
Paris may account for Balakiref's protege, 
Akimenko's harmonic manner, their origins for 
that of the adoptive Muscovite, Catoire, and 
Taneyef's pupil, Gliere. Grechaninof, an 
alumnus of both the Moscow and Petrograd 
schools, is at his best in his songs ; his style, 
originally falling between orthodoxy and a 
cautious progressiveness, seems of late to 
incline in the latter direction. 

Skryabin and Rebikof. 

Skryabin and Rebikof are two composers of 
equal notoriety but of very different merit. 
The life record and the story of the former's 
artistic development and spiritual evolution 
form one of the oddest .pages in musical history. 
There isjnuch yet to be told about the composer 
of Prometheus, and only when that is known 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 67 

will his art be fully appreciated. He will be 
called by some a visionary ; but that he was an 
inspired artist and a superb musician, whose 
work bears witness to the magnificent training 
he received at Taneyef ' s hands providing many 
examples of the facility with which he gave 
musical expression to his philosophical ideas 
none who study his art and the idealogy it 
represents will doubt. Skryabin belongs, in the 
chronological sense, to a period closing in 1915 
with his death, but his music belongs as much 
as any living Russian composer's to the future. 

In Rebikof we have a seeker, one who, while 
proclaiming his conviction that music, " the 
language of the emotions," must not be fettered 
by considerations of form, hardly ever refrains, 
when coming upon a fresh musical thought, 
from bestowing upon it a theoretical designation. 
His advocates claim for him the original dis- 
cover}- of a number of fresh musical ideas which 
erroneously, they say have been associated 
with other composers. The truth appears to 
be that whereas other composers have found 
spontaneous expression, by means of these 
musical concepts, for an original emotion, the 
plagiarised Rebikof 's novel chords are apparently 
the product of an arduous search. His piano 
pieces are valuable as studies in modern har- 
mony ; his dramatic works are curiously 



68 AN INTRODUCTION 



unsatisfying in view of their pretensions tc 
psychological exposition. 

Medtner. 

Medtner, one of the most earnest musicians 
in Russia, and one whose output is the most 
limited in point of variety, stands, as to creative 
style, quite alone. His early piano music 
recalled in more than one respect the manner 
of Brahms, the difference between the two being 
that Medtner possesses in considerable measure 
the power, denied to the German by Hugo Wolf, 
of " exulting." Of late, Medtner, though working 
on orthodox lines, has shown that while so 
doing it is possible to invest music with modern 
feeling. A comparison of his work with that of 
Rakhmaninof, who was educated in the same 
conservatoire, reveals a highly instructive 
contrast. 

In the attempted classification of the above 
composers the word " nationalism " has not 
occurred, but it is now required in order that 
the art of Igor Stravinsky may be described. 
Among the nationalistic documents already 
issued by him are his ballets The Firebird, 
Petroushka, and The Rite of Spring, and from 
occasional messages reaching these shores from 
the once voluntarily sought foreign habitation, 
now become enforced owing to the devastation 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 69 

of his Russian estate, one learns that the list is 
increasing. Stravinsky provides the sole living 
instance among Glinka's numerous progeny of a 
composer whose artistic countenance resembles 
in feature that of the " Father of Russian 
music." From the creator of Russian and 
Ludmilla he inherits the general tendency of 
his work, from Rimsky-Korsakof, one of the 
second generation, his technical verge in the 
direction of a refined and specialised orchestra, 
from Moussorgsky his laconicism and his 
aversion from the obvious. Three other 
disciples of Korsakof who have distinguished 
themselves in dramatic music, but especially 
in song, are his son-in-law Maximilian Steinberg, 
Michael Gniessin and Vladimir Senilof. 

The New-Comers. 

There remain to be mentioned a few composers 
whose appearance on the Russian musical 
horizon is of comparatively recent date. Here 
again we are confronted with a complete diver- 
sity of style. The poetic content of the music 
of Nicholas Myaskovsky, the composer of three 
symphonies, a fine piano sonata and some choice 
songs, is subjective and somewhat highly 
charged with emotion ; Sergei Prokofief, like 
Stravinsky, with whom he is sometimes com- 
pared, is more impersonal ; a brilliant pianist, 



70 AN INTRODUCTION 

he has written a number of pieces for his instru- 
ment, and two sonatas, but it is in respect of 
some daring symphonic and dramatic examples 
that the above-mentioned comparison has been 
instituted. Alexis Krein, a progressive, is 
somewhat hampered by want of training ; his 
French sympathies are shared in a degree by 
his brother Gregory. Evgenie Gunst and Leonid 
Sabaneyef are both followers and exponents of 
Skryabin ; the former has done much to popu- 
larise, the latter to explain the later works. 

As this chapter has almost declined into a 
list it may be concluded by a mere mention of 
two musicians who with the best, and most 
zealously progressive intentions, have so far 
succeeded only in scoring a kind of succes de 
scandale ; Oboukhof is desirous of establishing 
a system of notation wherein the long-enslaved 
semitonal degiees are to be enfranchised and 
given independent designations ; Nicholas 
Roslavets decorates the covers of his songs, 
piano pieces and violin sonata with Cubist draw- 
ings that appear to be an appropriate enough 
introduction to the fanciful material they enclose. 

It is because present-day Russian music is 
sufficiently varied in tendency and aim to repre- 
sent the tonal art of a continent, that the above 
commentary falls far short of completion, even 
as a list. 



TO RUSSIAN MUSIC 71 



CONTEMPORARY 
RUSSIAN COMPOSERS 

BY M. MONTAGU-NATHAN 

(Author of " A History of Russian Music," " Glinka," 

' Moussorgsky," " Rimsky-Korsakof," " The Piano Music 

of Skryabin.") Illustrated with portraits of famous Russian 

Musicians. 

DEMY 8vo. CLOTH. 7/6 NET. 

Music Students who need experienced guidance 
in the stud}- of Russian Music cannot do better 
than take Mr. Montagu-Nathan as their pilot. 
Mr. Montagu-Nathan possesses a remarkable 
fund of knowledge on his favourite subject from 
the early Folk Songs down to the latest Works 
of Contemporary Composers. 

In this volume Mr. Montagu-Nathan introduces 
to the public a number of Russian Composers 
who may be said collectively to constitute the 
contemporary Russian School of Musical Com- 
position and who are maintaining for Russia 
its supremacy among the musical nations. 

Of such composers as Skryabin, Glazounof, 
Stravinsky, Rebikof, Medtner, and Rachman- 
inof, the Author provides a biographical account 
and a detailed consideration of their creative 
work ; their aims and ideals are discussed and 
their music submitted to a critical review. 
There are some chapters devoted to those younger 
men whose music has already attracted con- 
siderable attention in Russia and whose names 
are likely ere long to become familiar to the 
musical world. An introductory section of the 
book is devoted to a survey of the earlier period 
of musical activity in Russia, in which the 
founders of the Nationalist movement are dealt 
with and their artistic labours outlined. 



CECIL PALMER & HAYWARD 



IN PREPARATION. 

MODERN 

RUSSIAN PAINTERS 

BY ALEXANDER BAKSHY 

Author of " The Path of the Modern Russian Stage," etc. 
Demy 8vo, Cloth, 7/6 net. Illustrated. 

Except for the names of one or two artists, 
Russian painting is practically unknown in 
this ccmntry. It deserves, however, as much 
attention as Russian literature and music. 
Quite a number of Russian masters may be 
ranked with the most renowned repre- 
sentatives of modern art of Europe, whilst 
the peculiarities of style and historical 
development give the Russian school of 
painters a character that is distinctly its own. 
Mr. Bakshy's work will give an account of 
the leading modern artists and trace the 
influences which they have exercised in the 
modern development of Russian painting. 
Amongst the older generation of artists it 
will deal with the work of Ryepin, Surikov, 
Vasnetsov, Syerdv and others who adhered 
to the realistic traditions ; the aesthetic 
movement with its ramifications of visionary 
spiritualism and quests for a style will be 
illustrated by the work of Vrubel, Tchurl- 
yaniss, Rerich, Somov, Bakst, Mussatov, and 
a number of others ; and lastly, the latest 
tendencies will be shown by the description 
of the work of the younger artists. 

The Publishers will be glad to send their complete 
illustrated Catalogue post free on application. 



CECIL PALMER & HAYWARD 



THE PATH OF THE MODERN 
RUSSIAN STAGE 

BY ALEXANDER BAKSHY. 

Demy 8vo, Cloth, 7/6 net. With 12 Pholeo Illustrations. 
In the present volume the guiding principles of the Russian 
stage, such as " faithfulness to life " of the Moscow Art 
Theatre, the various forms of " conventionalism " applied 
at the Theatre of Vera Kommissarzhevsky, and the theories 
of " theatricality " lately propounded by Meyerhold and 
Kureinov, are subjected to a close analysis. 

CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN 
NOVELISTS 




THE GIRL AND THE FAUN 

BY EDEX PHIU.POTTS. 

\\"ith 4 Illustrations in colour and decorative border by 



THE BOOK OF JOB 

With an Introduction by (1. K. CHESTERTOX, and 8 
Illustrations in colour by C. M. TOXGUE. 
7'in. by lOin. Parchment boards. Hand-made paper- 
10/6 net. 

THE BOOK OF LAUGHTER 

BY EDWIX PUGH. 

With Humorous Wrapper, in colour, by !'. GARDNER 

Crown 8vo, Cloth, 6/- net. 

THE SILVER CHAIN 

A Novel. BY SIR WIIJJAM BI.AKE RICHMOND, 

K.C.B., R.A. 

Crown 8vo, Cloth, 6/- net. 



CECIL PALMER & HAYWARD 



THE RUSSIA SOCIETY 



PRESIDENT : 
THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. 

HON. TREASURER : 
THE HART, OF PORTSMOUTH. 



The Objects of the Society arc : 

(1) TO PROMOTE and maintain a thorough, permanent 
and sympathetic understanding between the peoples 
of the British and Russian Empires by all legitimate 
means so that German intrigues may in future be 
nullified. 

(2) TO ENCOURAGE reciprocal travel. 

(3) TO STIMULATE the study and real appreciation of 
the two countries, their national qualities, languages, 
arts, literature, habits and customs of their Town and 
Country life, pastimes and sports. 

(4) TO ARRANGE lectures, conferences, exhibitions, 
tours, and to form branches or independent societies 
with similar objects. To arrange Russian classes in 
Russian arts, literature and language, and to give 
prizes and scholarships for any subject, including 
sports and pastimes. To disseminate knowledge of 
each other among each other in a simple, popular 
manner. 

(5) TO ABSORB (if expedient), co-operate with, or 
assist in the work of other existing or future societies 
having common ends. 

(6) BRIEFLY, to establish mutual friendship with 
Russia in its widest and frankest sense. 

(7) THE. SOCIETY will not directly concern itself in 
the development of Commerce and Finance between 
the two Empires. 

(8) ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION, 10/-. 

A PERMANENT UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN 
THE BRITISH EMPIRE AND RUSSIA MEANS 
PERMANENT PEACE FOR THE WORLD. 

A SCHOOL OF RUSSIAN Music has been established by 
the Society in London. 



47, VICTORIA STREET, 
LONDON, S.W. 



JAMES A. MALCOLM, 

Hon. Sccretarv. 



ML 

390 

M66 

1916 

Music 



Montagu-Nathan, Montagu 

An introduction to Russian 



music r 



ML 
390 



1st 



470529 



Montagu -Nathan, 



M66 Montagu 

1916 An introd-Qction to 

Russian music 
flat ftdJ 



i