Glinka, Mikhail I.
1804 - 1857
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was born near Smolensk in Belarus. He studied in St. Petersburg and in 1830 he went abroad and visited Italy, Germany, and Austria. In Italy an idea came to him to compose a Russian opera, called "Ivan Susanin".
In 1842 Glinka started to work on his second opera, "Ruslan and Ludmilla" based on a fairy tale poem by Pushkin.
In 1844 he decided to take up another trip abroad, and made for France and Spain. In Spain he studied the culture, customs, and language of the people, gathered Spanish folk songs and melodies. These impressions were summed up in two symphony overtures - "Jota Aragonesa" and 'Summer Night in Madrid"
In 1848, having nostalgia for his faraway Russia, he also created a symphonic fantasy Kamarinskaya with Russian folk motifs.
1843 - 1907
In 1867 Grieg produced his first set of miniature pieces for piano, the "Lyric Pieces", which consists of eight short movements in contrasting moods. Over the course of his life he wrote nine further collections under the same title. The following year Grieg finished what has become one of his best-known pieces, the "Piano Concerto in A minor".
Grieg started work on the suite "Peer Gynt" when the playwright Ibsen asked him to provide music for his play of that name. The first performance in 1876 was a resounding success and made Grieg into a national figure overnight.
By 1885 Grieg had established a considerable reputation. He shied away from the larger forms of musical expression, such as the symphony and opera, but in his preferred field - as a miniaturist - he is without equal. His music, highly individual and with a nationalist flavour, has almost universal appeal.
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