Composer Alexander Glazunov: his life and work
Composer Alexander Glazunov: his life and work
Glazunov was born in the family of a famous rich publisher of St Petersburg. He started learning music when he was nine and at the age of thirteen he already tried to create his first works. Mili Balakirev, ex- member of the supporter’s of independence group called “The Five,” acknowledged Glazunov’s abilities and introduces his work to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He wrote then: “Casually Balakirev once brought me the composition of a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old high-school student, Sasha Glazunov. It was an orchestral score written in childish fashion.
The boy’s talent was indubitably clear. ” (Volkov 1995) Rimsky-Korsakov became a teacher of Glazunov. He recognized the fast progress he made in his study not only every day but even every hour. The character of their relations also altered. Already by 1881, Rimsky-Korsakov started to treat Glazunov as his colleague. At the same time as it was the result of the teacher’s necessity to find another Modest Mussorgsky, it also was the result of Glazunov’s development. (Volkov 1995) Glazunov was lucky to have a rich lumber and part-time musician, Mitrofan Belyayev among his admires.
He got to know about Glazunov and his creative work from Anatoly Lyadov and became concerned about the boy’s musical prospect. Mitrofan Belyayev also brought his own interest in Glazunov to other nationalist musicians. Then the composer had a tour around Europe. Glazunov was introduced to Liszt in Weimar, where Glazunov’s first work of art was showed to public. (Volkov 1995) In 1884, Belayev leased a hall and employed a group of musicians to play Glazunov’s First Symphony. The rehearsal was successful and Belayev made a decision to organize a open performance of Glazunov’s and other musicians’ creations.
As a result the Russian Symphony Concerts were organized in 1886-1887. In 1885 Belyayev started publishing the music by Glazunov, and other composers at his own cost. Young creators became interested in him so deeply that it was rather difficult to choose among their offerings. (Volkov 1995) Glazunov quickly took pleasure in worldwide approval. On the other hand, he went through a serious crisis in 1890-1891. This period brought an important development to him. Throughout the 1890’s he created three works. In 1905 he became the director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
His most excellent creations from this time are his Violin Concerto and Eighth Symphony. This period was also the time of his best worldwide approval. There were also series of the Composer’s performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg to celebrate his 25th celebrations as a creator. Glazunov began working as a conductor in 1888. The next year, the composer was a conductor of his Second Symphony performance in Paris. Later the composer led the unsuccessful first performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No 1. Glazunov’s wife then stated that her husband was very drunk during this performance.
At the same time as her statement cannot be proved, it is not improbable for a person who always had a bottle of alcohol behind his table was drinking even during his lessons. Drinking or not, Glazunov did not give enough time to his music and, at the same time as like a work of conduct, he did not do it well. Now and again the composer conducted his own pieces of music, particularly the Raymonda, although he was aware about his inability to do it. The composer sometimes said: In spite of the financial crisis he went through during World War I and the resulting social battle, Glazunov continued to work as a conductor.
The composer conducted performances in industrial units, associations and Red Army posts. The composer played a significant role in the Russian inspection in 1927 of the centennial of Beethoven’s death, as both lecturer and performer. (White1966) According to The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music “the ballets The Seasons and Raymonda written by Glazunov, some of his later symphonies, primarily the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth, and his two Concert Waltzes are considered to be Glazunov’s most well-known creations at the present time”. (White1966)
By his creation called the Saxophone Concerto created in (1934) the composer demonstrated his talent to become accustomed to contemporary Western music tendencies. (White1966) Glazunov’s musical development was contradictory. Sometimes he was even treated as an idol by other composers who did not have such an outstanding teachers, were mainly self-taught and suffered the lack of technique. Glazunov’s first two creations might be treated as a collection of nationalist methods applied by Borodin and Balakirev. Already at twenty years old the composer understood the polemic conflict between academicism and patriotism.
Notwithstanding that Glazunov based his works on Russian popular compositions, his practical techniques let him write in a complicated, cultured manner. By his Third Symphony, the composer deliberately tried to internationalize his music in a way comparable to Tchaikovsky, to whom the work was devoted. (Walsh 1999) Shostakovich stated that at the same time as Glazunov was very often found unintelligible, even preposterous, he deliberately presented the Conservatory with his own time, the part of his soul and his originality.
Some people said that Glazunov practically lived there. The composer was peaceful and unyielding communicating with the authorities. (Walsh 1999) In 1922, the authorities made a decision to provide Glazunov with good living conditions in order to help him work and create new masterpieces. The composer denied the proposition in favor of the conservatory and asked to set a new firewood there. The firewood was established. (Walsh 1999)
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 16 December 2016
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