A MIGHTY HANDFUL
Music of The Russian Five
for Piano and Voices
‘The Five’ were a small group of similar-thinking composers gathered around Mily Balakirev. They essentially created a myth around themselves as a musical movement that was more “authentically Russian” than the classic music of the Conservatory, by composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Their moniker, ‘A Mighty Handful,’ was coined by the influential Russian cultural critic, Vladimir Stasov, who advocated for a purer ‘Russianness’ in their music over the hold of European influences.
They tried to incorporate in their music what they heard in village songs, in Cossack and Caucasian dances, in church chants and the tolling of church bells (to the point where the bell tolling became a cliché); their music became filled with imitative sounds of Russian life. They also tried to reproduce the long-drawn, lyrical and melismatic peasant song, what Glinka had once called “the soul of Russian music.”
Balakirev made this possible by his study of songs from the Volga in the 1860s. More than any previous anthology, his transcriptions artfully preserved the distinctive aspects of Russian folk music.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2018 at 7:30 pm
IVY HALL – International Institute for Culture
6331 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19151
ADMISSION: $27/general; $22/seniors; $10/students
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