Music of Russia <ul><li>Russia is a large and extremely culturally diverse country, with dozens of ethnic groups , each with their own forms of music . Although the majority of Russia's music is produced by Russians , it has also seen contributions by numerous minorities (such as the Jewish, Ukrainians, Gypsies and others) who populated the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and modern day Russia. </li></ul><ul><li>Tracing its roots from early traditional songs, Russian music developed through centuries. It includes several prominent 19th century classical composers, such as P.I. Tschaikovsky and N. Rimsky-Korsakov, and Russian romance . The 20th century Soviet music saw the rise of Russian popular music, including bard music and early Russian rock . In modern Russia, Western-style rock and pop music are still the most popular musical forms. </li></ul>
19th century: Russian Classical music The first important Russian composer was Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), who composed the early Russian operas Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Lyudmila .
Biography Mikhail Glinka's great-great-grandfather, Wiktoryn Władysław Glinka of Maków County in Łomża Governorate , was a Polish nobleman (pol. szlachcic ) from a family that bears the Trzaska coat of arms . In 1641 this Glinka received from Władysław IV Vasa , King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth , a landed estate within the Smoleńsk district (today Smolensk Oblast , a part of the Russian Federation ) for his great bravery in wars of Rzeczpospolita . In 1654, when the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth lost Smolensk for the Tsardom of Russia in the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667) for Ukraine , W. W. Glinka remained on his estate, took Russian citizenship, and converted to the Russian Orthodox religion. Tsar Alexis conserved his nobility, the Trzaska coat of arms, and all his Polish endowments. Mikhail Glinka many times said "I am a Russian, but I have Polish blood".
Operas A Life for the Tsar was the first of Glinka's two great operas. It was originally entitled Ivan Susanin. Set in 1612, it tells the story of the Russian peasant and patriotic hero Ivan Susanin who sacrifices his life for the Tsar by leading astray a group of marauding Poles who were hunting him. The Tsar himself followed the work’s progress with interest and suggested the change in the title. It was a great success at its premiere on December 9, 1836, under the direction of Catterino Cavos , who had written an opera on the same subject in Italy. Although the music is still more Italianate than Russian, Glinka shows superb handling of the recitative which binds the whole work, and the orchestration is masterly, foreshadowing the orchestral writing of later Russian composers. The Tsar rewarded Glinka for his work with a ring valued at 4000 rubles . (During the Soviet era, the opera was staged under its original title Ivan Susanin).
Second Opera He soon embarked on his second opera: Ruslan and Lyudmila . The plot, based on the tale by Pushkin , was concocted in 15 minutes by , a poet who was drunk at the time. Consequently the opera is a dramatic muddle, yet the quality of Glinka’s music is higher than in A Life for the Tsar. He uses a descending whole-tone-scale in the famous overture. This is associated with the villainous dwarf Chernomor who has abducted Lyudmila, daughter of the Prince of Kiev . There is much Italianate coloratura , and Act 3 contains several routine ballet numbers, but his great achievement in this opera lies in his use of which becomes thoroughly infused into the musical argument. Much of the borrowed folk material is oriental in origin. When it was first produced on 9 December 1842 it met with a cool reception, although subsequently it gained popularity.
Legacy After Glinka's death the relative merits of his two operas became a source of heated debate in the musical press, especially between Vladimir Stasov and his former friend Alexander Serov . In 1884 Mitrofan Petrovich Belyayev founded the "Glinka prize", which was awarded annually. In the first years the winners included Borodin, Mily Balakirev, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Cesar Cui and Lyadov. Outside Russia several of Glinka's orchestral works have been fairly popular in concerts and recordings. Besides the well-known overtures to the operas (especially the brilliantly energetic overture to Ruslan), his major orchestral works include the symphonic poem Kamarinskaya (1848), based on Russian folk tunes, and two Spanish works, A Night in Madrid (1848, 1851) and Jota Aragonesa (1845). Glinka also composed many art songs , many piano pieces, and some chamber music. A much lesser work that received some attention in the last decade was Glinka's " The Patriotic Song ", supposedly written for a contest for a national anthem in 1833; the music was adopted as the national anthem of Russia during 1990–2000.