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The Story of Russian Classical Music: From Glinka to Gubaidulina

To the uninformed, Russian classical music often is thought of as a monolith. However, simply scratching beneath the surface and beyond the stereotype of Russian classical music reveals a tapestry of vibrant differences and fascinating stories intertwined with passion and politics. In this course, explore the rich diversity of Russian classical music, beginning with Mikhail Glinka and progressing through the nativist “Russian Five,” including Borodin, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov. We will consider internationally recognized and timeless composers—Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Prokofiev—as well as the present-day artistry of Gubaidulina. Explore monumental works of these composers with an emphasis on their musical and cultural influences. Issues to be considered include the search for a Russian musical identity, the Westernization of Russia under Peter I, the debate between folk music and the “learned classical” style, the role of music after the fall of Communism, and the musical relationship between Russia and the United States. Historical recordings and Internet resources augment lectures and class discussions. No musical knowledge is necessary to enjoy this class.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with the great variety of Russian classical music
  • An understanding of how politics and history have influenced music

Ideal for

  • The curious and creative
  • Classical music lovers and those wishing to learn more about classical music
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.