Glazunov, Alexander

Biography

Alexander Glazunov - Russian composer, conductor, teacher, People's Artist of the Republic. He got home musical education. From 1879, he studied under Mily Balakirev and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The latter exercised a decisive influence on the formation of Glazunov as a composer.

Glazunov was the active participantsof the Belyayev circle. In his own creative work, Glazunov was guided by the aesthetic and compositional canons of the 19th century (genres, forms, harmony of the Classic-romantic type, impeccable voice leading), took the symphonism of Borodin, Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov (program music, scenic characteristicalness, preference of genre-determined themes) as the baseline premise and mastered other types of instrumental writing as well.

Alexander Glazunov friendship with "Moscow teachers" – Petr Tchaikovsky (since 1884) and Sergei Taneyev (since 1887) was of great importance in the identity formation of the composer. Glazunov’s music gained the breadth of melodic breathing under the influence of Tchaikovsky; he learned the mastery of constructing large symphonic forms from the composer’s experience. Taneyev awakened his taste for polyphonic development of the thematic material. In 1888, Glazunov stood at the conductor's console for the first time. During the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889 he conducted his own compositions.

In the middle of the 1890’s – 1900’s Glazunov created his main works - the 4th - 8th symphonies (1893, 1895, 1896, 1902, 1906; the 9th - was not finished). Glazunov was the greatest Russian symphonist after Petr Tchaikovsky, he found himself close to the tragic problems of Tchaikovsky, which was reflected in his 6th and 8th symphonies. His symphonic music was affected by Richard Wagner compositions as well. Glazunov worked in other genres, created the symphonic suite “From the Middle Ages”, the concert for violin and orchestra, two piano sonatas.

Like other Russian symphonists, Glazunov wrote music for ballets, Raymonda, The Young Maid, or Damis examination, and The Seasons. The cantatas “Coronation” (dedicated to the accession to the throne of Emperor Nicholas II, 1895) and “Solemn” (in memory of the 100th anniversary of Alexander Pushkin, 1899) stand out against many works that the composer wrote for various solemn dates.

The late period of creativity, which the composer himself called "noticeably simmering down" began from the 2nd half of the 1900’s. Glazunov still composed music for theaters.

The period of Glazunov world glory falls within the 1910’s.

Ref.: The Great Russian Encyclopedia
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