Russian classical music is a genre of classical music related to Russia 's culture, people, or character. The 19th-century romantic period saw the largest development of this genre, with the emergence in particular of The Five , a group of composers associated with Mily Balakirev , and of the more German style of Pyotr Tchaikovsky. In the period of Muscovy — , a distinct line was formed between the sacred music of the Orthodox Church and that of secular music used for entertainment.
The former draws its tradition from the Byzantine Empire , with key elements being used in Russian Orthodox bell ringing , as well as choral singing. Neumes were developed for musical notation, and as a result several examples of medieval sacred music have survived to this day, among them two stichera composed by Tsar Ivan IV  in the 16th century. One of Russia's earliest music theorists was the Ukrainian Nikolay Diletsky c. Although several of his compositions survive, Diletsky's fame rests chiefly on his composition treatise, Grammatika musikiyskago peniya A Grammar of Music[al Singing] , which was the first of its kind in Russia; there are three surviving versions of this work, of which the earliest dates from It was sung in Russian churches up to the October Revolution.
In the 18th century, Peter I brought in reforms introducing western music fashions to Russia. During the subsequent reign of Empresses Elisabeth and Catherine , the Russian imperial court attracted many prominent musicians, many from Italy. A number of composers received training in Italy or from these recent Italian emigres and composed vocal and instrumental works in the Italian Classical tradition popular in the day.
These include ethnic Ukrainian composers Dmitri Bortniansky , Maksim Berezovsky and Artem Vedel who not only composed masterpieces of choral music but also included operas, chambers works and symphonic works. The first great Russian composer to exploit native Russian music traditions into the realm of Secular music was Mikhail Glinka — , who composed the early Russian language operas Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Lyudmila.
They were neither the first operas in the Russian language nor the first by a Russian, but they gained fame for relying on distinctively Russian tunes and themes and being in the vernacular. Russian folk music became the primary source for the younger generation composers.
Many of the works by Glinka and the Mighty Five were based on Russian history, folk tales and literature, and are regarded as masterpieces of romantic nationalism in music.
He remains Russia's best-known composer outside Russia. Easily the most famous successor in his style is Sergei Rachmaninoff — , who studied at the Moscow Conservatory where Tchaikovsky himself taught. Alexander Glazunov also took this romantic style. The late 19th and early 20th century saw the third wave of Russian classics: Igor Stravinsky — , Alexander Scriabin — , Sergei Prokofiev — and Dmitri Shostakovich — They were experimental in style and musical language.
Some of them emigrated after the Russian revolution, though Prokofiev eventually returned and contributed to Soviet music as well. Easily sing in Russian with our user-friendly phonetics and Audio Diction Tracks. For more programming ideas, visit our Sheet Music Showcase.
From Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and throughout the Orthodox world, we bring you the best CDs of Orthodox choral music, liturgical chant, and folk music, all expertly reviewed and rated. Learn More. February 15, — High quality recordings of Russian Orthodox sacred music have proven popular in recent years.
It is the third time in ten years that such recordings have taken home a Grammy. Using musical examples drawn from the history of Russian music, Musica Russica's president, Dr. Vladimir Morosan, reveals some of the musical sources of the All-Night Vigil and explains how Rachmaninoff wove them together to create a composition that was uniquely his own.
Categories : Russian styles of music Song forms Art songs Romance music. Hidden categories: Articles containing Russian-language text. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Wikimedia Commons. Bell ringing Liturgical Znamenny.
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