Category Archives: Russian

88: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 Little Russian

The symphony takes its name from the use of Ukrainian Folk Songs; Ukraine often referred to as Little Russia in Tchaikovsky’s day. Tchaikovsky wrote most of his second symphony while staying with his sister’s family in Kamianka, Ukraine. He finished … Continue reading

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92: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4

In 1935 Joseph Stalin was shaping Soviet Russia into a new world. Russia was still largely agrarian, uneducated, and backward. He feared the Western nations and was determined to catch up to them. He began industrializing the nation at an … Continue reading

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94: Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms

Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms was written in 1930 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra’s conductor Serge Kussevitsky requested Stravinsky write a symphony to commemorate the occasion and commissioned the work. Although written for the … Continue reading

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95: Rachmaninoff’s The Bells Symphony

The Bells was the third symphony written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1913. He considered it to be his third symphony after writing it, but later wrote and instrumental Third Symphony. The composition is based on a loose translation of Edgar Allen … Continue reading

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Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

It was 1873 when Modest Mussorgsky’s close friend, artist Viktor Hartmann died suddenly of an aneurism at age 39. The following year Mussorgsky attended an exhibition of over 400 pieces by Hartmann. Shaken by his death, and inspired by his … Continue reading

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Igor Stravinksy’s The Rite of Spring

Igor Stravinsky first gained international fame at the age of 18 with his premiere of his ballet The Firebird in 1910. The following year he premiered another ballet, Petrushka. With two successful ballets under his belt, the premiere of his … Continue reading

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And now for your listening and viewing pleasure…

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