Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Mikhail Glinka

Mikhail Glinka

1 June 1804, Novospasskoye, Smolensk Governorate – 15 February 1857, Berlin


Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was the first Russian composer to win international recognition, and the acknowledged founder of the Russian nationalist school.

He studied at the Chief Pedagogic Institute at St. Petersburg (1818–22) and took piano lessons with the Irish pianist and composer John Field. He studied composition seriously for six months in Berlin, where he began his Symphony for Orchestra on Two Russian Themes.

Mikhail Glinka – Symphony on Two Russian Themes in D minor

Recalled to Russia by his father’s death, he married and began to compose the opera that first won him fame, A Life for the Tsar (later renamed Ivan Susanin).

Mikhail Glinka – A Life for the Tsar (Ivan Susanin) Dances

During this period, Glinka composed some of his best songs, and in 1842 his second opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila, was produced. The exotic subject and boldly original music of Ruslan and Lyudmila won neither favour nor popular acclaim, although Franz Liszt was struck by the novelty of the music.

Mikhail Glinka –  Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture Orchestra Of Mariinsky Theatre, Director Valery Gergiev

Glinka’s compositions were an important influence on future Russian composers, notably the members of The Five, who took Glinka’s lead and produced a distinctive Russian style of music.

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Songs of Mikhail Glinka Soprano: Galina Vishnevskaya, Piano: Mstislav Rostropovich


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