M. I. Glinka (1804-1857)

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka

was born on 20th May1804 in Nowospasskoje. He began to study music in 1818 at the “Adelsinstitut” in St Petersburg and then later in Berlin by Siegfried Dehn, who introduced him to the Works of Bach and the Viennese Classic. Up until 1835 he mainly composed songs. During a visit to Italy he met Gaetano Dinizetti, Vincenzo Bellini and Felix Mendelssohn- Bartholdy. Inspired by this meeting he composed music using the themes of the two Italians.

The libretto and music for his opera “Ein Leben für den Zar” (A Life for the Czar) originated from Russian folksongs and traditional Russian tales. It was the first Russian opera with a national touch. The music for his second opera “Russlan and Ljudmilla” (!842) was based on a poem from the Russian poet Alexander Puschkin and was also strongly influenced by the Russian folk music.

Glinka established himself as the founder of the Russian National School and was followed by other composers, such as Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolaj Rimskij-Kosakow. Glinka’s interest included the music and dances of Spain. He visited Spain several times between 1845 and 1847. Inspired by these journeys to Spain, he composed the overtures “Jota aragonesa” and “Recuerdos de Castilla” (1848) In the same year he wrote the orchestra fantasy “Kamarinskaja”.

At the same time Glinka composed chamber music, piano music, music for choirs and songs.

He died on 15th February 1857 in Berlin.