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"Portrait of Miliy Balakirev"

Author Rinat Kuramshin

Miliy Andreevich Balakirev was a Russian composerpianist, and conductor.  He began his career as a pivotal figure, extending the fusion of traditional folk music and experimental classical music practices begun by composer Mikhail Glinka.

In conjunction with critic and fellow nationalist Vladimir Stasov, in the late 1850s and early 1860s, Balakirev brought together the composers now known as The Five (The Mighty Handful) – the others were Alexander BorodinCésar CuiModest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. For several years, Balakirev was the only professional musician of the group; the others were amateurs limited in musical education. He imparted to them his musical beliefs, which continued to underlie their thinking long after he left the group in 1871, and encouraged their compositional efforts.

Often, the musical ideas normally associated with Rimsky-Korsakov or Borodin originated in Balakirev's compositions, which Balakirev played at informal gatherings of The Five. However, his slow pace in completing works for the public deprived him of credit for his inventiveness, and pieces that would have enjoyed success had they been completed in the 1860s and 1870s made a much smaller impact. Balakirev wrote several orchestral, piano and vocal compositions, 2 symphonies. Russian Russian Folk Songs Collection, published by Balakirev, is a valuable contribution to Russian musical ethnography.

Postage stamp of 1957.

120 years old

M.A. Balakireva

M. Balakirev and A. Glazunov

A collection of Russian folk songs compiled by

M. Balakirev

A.V. Mikhailov The Mighty Bunch