Russians on Russian Music, 1880-1917: An Anthology

By Stuart Campbell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Other composers of the former
Balakirev circle

(a) Ts. A. Cui: The Second Concert of the Russian Musical Society. Excerpt from 'Music Notes' in The Voice, 22 October 1880, no. 292, p. 2

[The orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre was conducted by Eduard Napravnik.]

The Second Concert of the Russian Musical Society was full of interest. From the symphonic repertory, the following works were performed: Schumann's 'First' Symphony, Glinka's Jota aragonesa, Borodin's [In the Steppes of ]Central Asia, and a March by Mr Musorgsky.

The last two works named belong in the category of so-called pièces d'occasion. Both form part of a whole series of pieces of music conceived last year, in the composition of which all our composers, of all hues, were meant to take part. The programme of Mr Borodin's musical picture is as follows:

In the desert of central Asia the melody of a peaceful Russian song is heard at first. The approaching tramp of horses and camels is heard, together with the doleful sounds of an oriental melody. A native caravan guarded by Russian soldiers crosses the boundless steppe. It completes its long journey trustingly and without fear under the protection of the victors' awesome military strength. The caravan moves further and further away. The peaceful melodies of both vanquished and vanquisher merge into a single common harmony, whose echoes long resound in the steppe before eventually dying away in the distance.

This programme has been implemented by Mr Borodin with exceptional talent. The two brief themes, Russian and oriental, are very beautiful and fresh; and the way they are combined is the most successful and harmonious of any I know. The caravan's approach and retreat are executed in masterly fashion. The measured pizzicato which continues throughout, and also the violins' extremely high pianissimo at the beginning and end, lend the whole short piece a great deal of picturesqueness. In addition, the entire little

-92-

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Russians on Russian Music, 1880-1917: An Anthology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Sources xv
  • Chapter One - Tchaikovsky 1
  • Chapter Two - Rimsky-Korsakov 42
  • Chapter Three - Other Composers of the Former Balakirev Circle 92
  • Chapter Four - The Belyayev Generation 132
  • Chapter Five - Moscow and Her Composers 168
  • Chapter Six - New Stylistic Directions 198
  • Epilogue 234
  • Index 259
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