Mikhail Glinka

Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila

            Before there was Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and even Mussorgsky, there was Glinka.  The latter is the precursor of all the great Russian composers so familiar to today’s concertgoer, but ironically, in this country, he is known to audiences for only one composition:  the sparkling overture to his opera, Ruslan and Lyudmila.   Composer of many songs, chamber works, and other compositions, his major contributions to musical history are both that opera (1842) and his earlier opera, A Life for the Tsar (1836).  Both works are infused with Russian elements--musical and narrative—and are ample evidence of his position as the father of the Russian nationalist school.