Mily Balakirev

related topics
{album, band, music}
{son, year, death}
{theory, work, human}
{work, book, publish}
{group, member, jewish}

Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (Russian: Ми́лий Алексе́евич Бала́кирев, Milij Alekseevič Balakirev, IPA: [bɐˈlakʲɪrʲef]) (2 January 1837 [O.S. 21 December 1836] – 29 May [O.S. 16 May] 1910),[a 1] was a Russian pianist, conductor and composer known today primarily for his work promoting musical nationalism. He began his career as a pivotal figure, extending the fusion of traditional folk music and experimental classical music practices begun by composer Mikhail Glinka. In the process, Balakirev developed musical patterns that could express overt nationalistic feeling. After a nervous breakdown and consequent sabbatical, he returned to classical music but did not wield the same level of influence as he had done previously.

In conjunction with critic and fellow nationalist Vladimir Stasov, in the late-1850s and early 1860s Balakirev brought together the composers now known as The Five—the others were Alexander Borodin, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. For several years, Balakirev was the only professional musician of the group; the others were amateurs limited in musical education but possessing enormous potential. He imparted to them his musical beliefs, which continued to underlie their thinking long after he left the group in 1871, and encouraged their compositional efforts. While his methods could be dictatorial, the results of his influence were several works which established these composers' reputations individually and as a group. He performed a similar function for Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky at two points in the latter's career—in 1868-9 with the fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet and in 1882-5 with the Manfred Symphony.

As a composer, Balakirev finished major works many years after he had started them; he began his First Symphony in 1864 but completed it in 1897. The exception to this was his oriental fantasy Islamey for solo piano, which he composed quickly and remains popular among virtuosos. Often, the musical ideas normally associated with Rimsky-Korsakov or Borodin originated in Balakirev's compositions, which Balakirev played at informal gatherings of The Five. However, his slowness in completing works for the public robbed him of credit for his inventiveness, and pieces that would have enjoyed success had they been completed in the 1860s and 70s made a much smaller impact.


Full article ▸

related documents
Frederick Delius
Kenneth Patchen
Gioachino Rossini
Hugo Wolf
Richard Strauss
John Barbirolli
David Oistrakh
Yehudi Menuhin
Nathan Milstein
The Makropulos Affair (opera)
The Big Bopper
Jean-Baptiste Lully
César Cui
Hubert Parry
Stéphane Grappelli
Sam Cooke
Jacques Offenbach
Alexander Bard
Warren DeMartini
Tasmin Little
Stuart Hamm
Johnny Young
Heavenly (British band)
Seven Mary Three
Ernest Ansermet
Ziggy Marley
Dez Cadena
Swan Song Records
Barrington Levy
Peter Tosh