Mikhail Glinka (1804 - 1857) is most famous for his two excellent
operas. But he also laid down the cornerstone of the Russian symphonic
music and wrote a number of superb works for the symphony orchestra.
Overture to the opera Ruslan
represents a dazzling introduction to a fairy tale opera
on the theme of an early poem by Pushkin. It is not just a good
curtain-raiser but a full-scale composition full of life-asserting
March from the same
opera is an effective symphonic miniature that skillfully utilizes
an oriental colour. Listz greatly admired this piece. He made a
piano transcription of it and often played it in his recitals.
Aragonesa was the first of Glinka's
Spanish overtures. Spain played a special role in his life. He spent
almost three years in the country busily travelling and studying
history, culture, language but above all the music of its people.
A dance tune that the composer wrote down in a small Spanish town
was laid down as the basis of the overture. While preserving the
sparkling rhythms of the Spanish music Glinka brings into it the
spirit and power of a profound symphonic composition.
Glinka wrote Souvenir
of a Night in Madrid several years later when
he had already returned from Spain. This overture turned out to
be the composer's last big symphonic work and is based on four Spanish
folk tunes that illustrate a walk over night in Madrid.
Dances from the opera A
Life for the Czar, Cracovienne,Valse
reveal Glinka'a orchestral mastery in its true brilliance. Specific
devices and intonations of the Polish music are used in every piece.
In opera itself the scene of the ball and dance episodes became
an efficient way to describe the Poles.
The illustrious Kamarinskaya
constitutes a symphony poem based on two Russian
folk songs, one slow and the other lively. The later is actually
a dance tune and is repeated about 30 times throughout the work
as was the habit at folk festivities.. Here the composer works out
marvellous orchestral accompaniment. Harmonic and contrapuntal combinations
Glinka first elaborated in the piece later became a source of inspiration
and a trade mark of the Russian music which gave Tchaikovsky a chance
to say that the Russian symphonic school is all in Kamarinskaya
just as the whole oak is in the acorn.
is one of the finest Glinka's compositions. It's an exquisite
lyric piece with original melodies and a wonderful orchestration
of instruments. Like the whole composer's music it marks a line
of maturity of the professional Russian music and, speaking a modern
language, its harmonic integration with the European music.
Moscow Symphony Orchestra
is the first privately owned orchestra in modern Russia. It was
founded in 1990. The orchestra performed in the best concert halls
in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and appeared in many countries in
Europe, Asia and America. It recorded many compact discs including
all 17 symphonies by Malipiero, all symphonies by Turnemir.
Vladimir Ziva graduated
from two oldest Russian conservatoires, in Petersburg (then Lenigrad)
and Moscow. He worked with the Moscow Philharmonic orchestra and
the Nyzhny Novgorod Philharmonic orchestra. He also was the chief
conductor of the Mousorgsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in St.Petersburg.
Since 1997 he is the chief conductor of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
He gave over 800 concerts including 250 in foreign countries. Ziva
played with outstanding musicians including Rostropovich, Gutman,
Maysky, Kremer, Tretyakov, Bashmet and many others.
Total time 62.50
Recorded by Vista Vera in 2002
Cover: St.Petersburg.Engraving by I.Cheskov. 1817.