History knows a lot of Russian composers who, with their creativity, made an invaluable contribution to the development of world music culture. One of them was Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov, an outstanding musician, whose works embodied the progressive traditions of Russian democratic art. He was called lucky and the darling of destiny, blessed by the Creator himself. Gifted with uncommon abilities, he created joyful, bright and harmonious music worthy of admiration and it was not for nothing that he was compared with Liszt and Wagner, and besides that he was considered the creative successor of Tchaikovsky.
A brief biography of Alexander Glazunov and many interesting facts about the composer can be found on our page.
Short biography of Glazunov
July 29, 1865 in the family of a famous publisher in St. Petersburg K.I. Glazunov joyful event occurred: the firstborn was born, whom his happy parents named Alexander. The father of the baby, Konstantin Aleksandrovich, was a very educated man who, besides, played the piano and the violin with enthusiasm. The mother of the boy, Elena Pavlovna, while still a child brought up in a boarding house, was diligently learning to play the piano there. Her interest in music was so great that she continued her studies after marriage, and since the financial situation of the family was very good, Elena Pavlovna could allow herself to practice in performance skills under the guidance of such prominent St. Petersburg teachers as the Conservatory professor T. Lescheitsky and famous composer M. Balakirev.
The music in the house of the Glazunovs sounded constantly, and therefore little Sasha was surrounded not only by a benevolent, but also by a creative atmosphere. The boy’s extraordinary abilities began to manifest themselves quite early. Noticing this, parents in every way sought to develop them, hiring two governesses for her education: a German woman and a Frenchwoman. According to the biography of Glazunov, at the age of nine, Sashenka, gifted with good hearing and musical memory, was taught to play the piano under the guidance of the best teachers in the city: first N.G. Kholodkova, and then N.N. Elenkovsky. However, the young musician showed interest in other musical instruments, mastering also the violin and cello. At the age of eleven, Sasha first tried to compose something himself, and at fourteen he was introduced to M. Balakirev, who, having become acquainted with the children's, still imitative, compositions of a young musician, marked in it a spark of exceptional talent and urged him to immediately apply for study. the basis of the composition to N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov.
Alexander was lucky that his parents, who had a good income, could pay for his son's private lessons with such an outstanding maestro. The young man was engaged with great interest, eagerly absorbing all the material provided to him by the teacher. As a result of diligent study, the course of the theory of music, harmony, instrumentation and analysis of forms, which is usually calculated for 5-7 years of study, was taught by Sasha Glazunov in a year and a half. Nikolai Andreevich was so pleased with his beneficiaries that he called him none other than the "young professor", and soon announced that he no longer intended to treat him as his student, but was ready to constantly support him with friendly advice.
In addition to the musical, Alexander from 1877 was educated at the Second St. Petersburg Real School, but he did not take this study seriously enough, and every day returning home after class was fully devoted to creativity: he would sit at the piano, writing something or learning a new piece. In addition, the young man enjoyed attending concerts of symphonic music, and once during the rehearsal of the orchestra to one of the performances of N.А. Rimsky - Korsakov presented Sasha to famous music critic V.V. Stasov. Acquaintance with a wonderful man made such a big impression on the young man that he wanted to communicate more with him. For this reason, Alexander began to frequently visit the Public Library, where Vladimir Vasilievich worked, and soon, despite the difference in age, they became close friends. Moreover, Alexander’s social circle with interesting people was constantly expanding: he met A. Lyadov, as well as members of the “Mighty Handful” community of A. Borodin and Ts. Cui.
The first major work of Glazunov, presented to the general public with the assistance of his authoritative patrons N.A. Rimsky - Korsaki and M. Balakirev, became the symphony number 1, written in 1881. The triumphal premiere performance of the work took place in March 1882 in the Noble Assembly Hall of St. Petersburg. The listeners were pleasantly shocked when, after the end of the symphony, when the author called, a 16-year-old teenager appeared in the form of a real school. It became clear to everyone that a new star had caught fire in the domestic musical horizon. Mitrofan Petrovich Belyaev, a timber merchant, a rich man and a great music lover who was so admired by the talent of the young author, that later actively began to popularize his work and thus played a significant role in the fate of the composer, attended this concert.
In 1883, after graduating from a real school, A. Glazunov, as a volunteer, began to attend the history and philology department of St. Petersburg University. However, such a study did not interest the young composer at all, and did not last long. In February of the following year, he stopped attending lectures, but with pleasure he continued to play in the university orchestra, where he played the cello, clarinet, horn and trombone. And in May 1884, Alexander, together with M. Belyaev, went on a creative voyage to the countries of Europe. In Germany, they had a meeting with F. Liszt, who, having heard the first symphony of the young composer, gave his composition a positive assessment. After returning to his homeland, A. Glazunov joined the Belyaevsky Circle, and in 1886 he met, and then firmly became friends with the great PI. Tchaikovsky. Between the young and respectable composer confidential correspondence ensued, which was frank in nature.
In 1887, not only the Mighty Handful, but the entire musical community of St. Petersburg suffered a heavy loss: Alexander Porfirievich Borodin died untimely. The composer left two significant works unfinished: the opera Prince Igor, on which he worked for twenty years, and Symphony No. 3. Shortly before his death, Borodin lost fragments of these compositions to his colleagues, but everything was in draft versions. To finish the works in memory of a friend took N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, who immediately attracted to this work Glazunov, who has an exceptional musical memory. As a result, both works were not only restored, but also orchestrated to the style of A.P. Borodin
In the autumn of 1888, an important event occurred in the creative life of Glazunov: the composer, after long hesitations, finally decided and stood behind the conductor's console. And in the summer of next year, as part of the World Exhibition in Paris, at concerts arranged by M. Belyaev, Glazunov so successfully conducted his Second Symphony that French newspapers, praising the young Russian composer, began his great popularity abroad.
Years of creative heyday
The nineties can rightly be called the time of the full bloom of A. Glazunov's creativity. During this period, he created works that fully reveal his talent and mastery of composer technique. This is the fantasy “The Sea”, the symphonic pictures “The Kremlin” and “Spring”, the suite “Chopiniana”, the overture “Carnival”, the third, fourth, fifth and sixth symphonies, as well as three of his ballets, including the famous “Raymond”. At the end of the decade, in 1899, when the composer's talent reached its heights, he was offered to share his knowledge and take the place of professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The following significant changes in the life of A. Glazunov are associated with a sad event: in January 1904, a great friend and composer’s support, M. Belyaev, died. This irreparable loss not only greatly disheartened Glazunov, but also added a lot of various troubles connected with the testament of the patron of the arts. M. Belyaev ordered that after his death all his undertakings, including a music and publishing company in Germany, a music award to them. M.I. Glinka and "Russian Symphony Concerts" should be continued N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. Glazunov and A. Lyadov. For this reason, the intensity of the social and musical life of Glazunov has greatly increased, and the fruitfulness of his work as a composer has noticeably decreased.
The biography of Glazunov says that the year following the year of 1905 for the composer was also saturated with events that made certain adjustments to his fate. In March, the Directorate of the Conservatory dismissed N.A. Rome - Korsak, who supported the revolutionary-minded students. In a sign of solidarity with the outstanding maestro, many prominent professors who clearly defined their position, among whom was A. Glazunov, pointedly left the educational institution. Alexander Konstantinovich nevertheless returned to the conservatory, and this happened at the end of the same year after the October Manifesto was accepted and autonomy granted to the institution, that is, disconnected from the Russian Musical Society. In addition, some time later, as a result of the election, Alexander Konstantinovich took the post of director of the conservatory.
In 1907, A. Glazunov widely celebrated the 25th anniversary of his creative activity, receiving congratulations not only from compatriots, but also from European admirers of his talent.
Soon, hard times came for Russia: first World War I, and then the 1917 revolution. However, Glazunov, fully absorbed in his work at the conservatory and in his musical and educational activities, despite the significant changes taking place in the country, managed to remain at his post. He established relations with the new government, namely, the people's commissar of education A. Lunacharsky, managed to maintain an authoritative position behind the conservatory, and in the summer of 1918, according to Lenin's decree, it became a higher educational institution. Such attention from the government motivated Alexander Konstantinovich to take an active part in building a new culture of a young Soviet country. Not sparing his strength, he devoted all his energy to the musical enlightenment of the masses, acting as a conductor at concerts held in clubs of factories and plants, as well as attending amateur performances competitions. The active work of A. Glazunov, which received wide recognition, was highly appreciated: in 1922 he was awarded the title "People's Artist of the RSFSR". However, at the same time, the position of Alexander Konstantinovich in the Conservatory strongly shaken, as some professors headed by B. Asafiev wanted more progressive teaching methods. In the team there were constant clashes and bickering, which Glazunov did not like very much.
In 1928, Glazunov received an invitation from Vienna to take part as a jury member in the international competition of composers timed to the 100th anniversary of the death of F. Schubert. In the fall, Alexander Konstantinovich and his wife, Olga Nikolaevna, left for the Austrian capital. After the competition, the Glazunovs were in no hurry to return to the Soviet Union, since they decided to travel around the cities of Europe. They visited Prague, Dresden and Leipzig, and then stayed for a month in Gündelsheim, where the composer recovered his health.
After Germany, the composer and his wife visited Paris - a city with which wonderful memories of his youth are associated and where so many friends lived - immigrants from Russia. The composer, in letters to A. Lunacharsky, constantly complained about his shaky health, but already in December he performed as a conductor in the famous Paris "Pleyel" at an author's concert, after which he received an invitation to make creative trips to Spain, Portugal, England, and then to America. The tour of Glazunov was very successful: there were receptions in his honor, he praised in the press, the works were recorded on the radio. However, during his stay on the American continent, the composer became seriously ill, because of which several planned concerts broke down and as a result the organizers did not pay most of the promised fee.
After returning to Europe, the composer's health began to deteriorate, nevertheless, he continued to perform at concerts as a conductor, circling various European countries. In 1932, the Glazunov family settled down thoroughly in Paris, since the diagnoses that the doctors made to the composer did not bode well. Alexander Konstantinovich died on March 21, 1936 in France, prolonging his Soviet passport for almost ten years, he never became an emigrant and hoped to return home to his native Petersburg until his last breath.
Interesting facts about Glazunov
- The publishing company Glazunov began its existence in St. Petersburg at the end of the 18th century. The founder of the company, Matvey Glazunov, was one of the first to open his bookstores in Moscow, and then in the northern capital. The composer's grandfather - Ilya Glazunov, while A.S. Pushkin published the essay of the great poet "Eugene Onegin" in such an original format that the author himself went to the publisher more than once to admire an unusual book printed with all the innovations of printing technology for that time.
- Alexander Glazunov had a sister who was born two years later and two younger brothers, but the future composer met them only when he was nine years old. Sasha's mom, Elena Pavlovna, in such a peculiar way, protected her children from various kinds of children's infectious diseases. One of the composer’s brothers, Dmitry Glazunov, later became a famous entomologist and traveler, while the younger, Mikhail, continued his father’s book publishing business.
- Usually orchestral musicians do not always speak well of conductors, but A. Glazunov enjoyed an incontestable authority with them. The composer did not suppress the musicians, and during rehearsals he spoke only in a low voice. He perfectly knew the possibilities of the instruments, since he knew how to play many. Once a horn player at a rehearsal of the orchestra complained about the inordinate complexity of a certain passage. Alexander Konstantinovich took the instrument from the musician and masterfully played the "inconvenient" fragment.
- The composer had a phenomenal musical memory: contemporaries claimed that after one audition he could record the score of an entire symphony. Such a fantastic ability of A. Glazunov helped to restore the opera Prince Igor and The Third Symphony unfinished by A. Borodin.
- In addition to the extraordinary musical memory, Alexander Konstantinovich had an exceptional ear, which instantly reacted even to minor deviations from the proper sound. Contemporaries said that he had a headache from the unclean sound. So during the execution of the work of S. Prokofiev "The Scythian Suite" Glazunov left the hall, because he could not listen to this work to the end.
- Alexander Glazunov was very popular in European countries, but he had a special recognition in the country of "Foggy Albion". The composer visited the English capital several times, where he conducted his works at concerts. Assessing his services, the Russian Symphony Society in Great Britain elected A. Glazunov as an honorary vice-president, and in 1907 the University of Oxford and Cambridge awarded him an honorary doctorate degree. In addition, he became an honorary member of the National Academy of St. Cecilia.
- Patron M. Belyaev, in order for Alexander Glazunov not to have problems with the publication of his works, founded in Leipzig the publishing company "M. P. Belaieff, Leipzig" and acquired the exclusive right to publish all the works of the composer.
- The director of the imperial theaters, I. Vsevolozhskiy, who treated domestic composers with great arrogance, heard at the coronation of Emperor Nicholas II in 1896 the work of A. Glazunov, specially written for this event and received with delight by the representatives of the royal family, immediately made a composer's proposal to compose a ballet. This is how "Raymond" appeared, and then "Young Lady Handmaid" and "Seasons".
- From the biography of Glazunov, we learn that in 1905, the composer, dissatisfied with the actions of the Directorate and left the conservatory, fell into depression. He spent all the time in the country and found oblivion in wine. Glazunov's mother, Elena Pavlovna, in order to somehow dispel her son, ordered the driver to seat Alexander Konstantinovich in a car and roll it to sober up.
- А. Глазунов стал профессором, а затем и директором Санкт-Петербургской консерватории не имея консерваторского образования.
- The actions of the generous director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory have always been vigorously discussed among students. There is a case when Alexander Konstantinovich fixed his eyes on a poorly dressed thin girl - a student of the vocal department. Having asked about her fellow students about her, Glazunov found out that the student is draining so miserable existence that the cost of her daily lunch is only four kopecks. Angered by such a situation, the director summoned the girl to himself and announced the appointment of a monthly stipend to her in the amount of 25 rubles. In addition, the fact that Alexander Konstantinovich in the difficult twenties, helping poor students, sacrificed his entire salary, and in the meantime he sat in a cold apartment, because there was nothing to pay for heating, is known.
- Alexander Konstantinovich had many students who left their mark on the history of Soviet music, but the most famous of them was Dmitri Shostakovich.
- The wife of A. Glazunov, Olga Nikolaevna, some time after the death of her husband left Paris for the Holy Land, she closed herself in the cell of the monastery and in order to at least merge with her beloved spouse when she took the veil she took the name of Alexander.
- The remains of Alexander Glazunov in 1972 were transported from France to Leningrad and reburied with great honors in the necropolis of the Masters of Art of the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
- The name of the outstanding composer is the Small Concert Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, the Petrozavodsk State Conservatory, as well as music schools in Moscow and Barnaul.
Creativity Alexander Glazunov
The contribution of Alexander Glazunov to the development of world music culture is difficult to overestimate. His work, formed under the influence of M. Balakirev, N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, A. Borodin, PI Tchaikovsky not only continued the traditions of the great masters, but also inextricably linked the Russian musical classics with the nascent Soviet music. Skillfully applying his mastery in harmony and counterpoint, as well as skillfully using all the variety of the orchestral palette, Glazunov initially created works of both lyrical and dramatic and pictorial and epic content, but then, synthesizing these two directions, created his lyrical and epic symphony in which He tried to convey the whole world of human happiness, spiritual nobility and sincerity.
The creative fate of Alexander Glazunov, which lasted for nearly fifty years, can undoubtedly be called successful. Many of the works coming out from the composer’s pen were still “lukewarm” on the conductor’s console, in order to get an audience’s assessment soon. Glazunov composed a lot. So, finishing one opus, he immediately began to work on another. That is why the composer gave his descendants such a generous creative legacy, including three ballets (Raymond, Young Lady - Handmaid, and Seasons), eight symphonies, seven suites (Eastern Rhapsody, Characteristic Suite, Chopinian "," Ballet Suite "," From the Middle Ages ", suite from the ballet" Raymonda "," Finnish sketches "), five overtures (2 overtures on Greek themes," Solemn Overture "," Carnival "," Song of Destiny ") symphonic fantasies and poems ("In Memory of the Hero", "Stenka Razin", "Sea", "Forest", "Spring", "Kremlin", "From Darkness to Light", "Karelian Legend", " Finnish Fantasy "), five instrumental concertos, six works for voices and choir and orchestra (" Solemn Cantata "," Solemn March "," Toast "," Hey, Let's Go! "," Prelude-Cantata "). In addition, A. Glazunov wrote many different concert compositions for a symphony orchestra, works for various instruments (piano, violin, viola, French horn, trumpet, organ), numerous chamber ensembles, Russian Fantasy for folk instruments orchestra, plays for two hands, romances , as well as compositions for choir a cappella and music to drama performances ( "Salome," "King of the Jews", "Masquerade").
Glazunov - Director of the Conservatory
Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov became the head of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in December 1905 and worked in this position for more than twenty years, until 1928. It was a very difficult time for the country, but for students and teachers of the educational institution, according to contemporaries, it was wonderful, as A. Glazunov’s talent was fully manifested in administrative work. With his principledness and responsive responsiveness, he gained great respect not only among students and teaching staff, but also the entire musical community of the Russian capital.
Already from the beginning, Glazunov, with full responsibility, began his duties and organizational work, although he considered it boring, gave himself up completely. First of all, he put the administrative affairs in order, and in addition, raising the requirements for teachers and students and carefully examining all the details of the academic process, he significantly transformed the curriculum. Secondly, thanks to the initiative of the new director, a student symphony orchestra and an opera studio were organized at the conservatory.
The new managerial position of A. Glazunov devoted himself entirely: in addition to settling the educational process, he had to solve a wide variety of economic issues. The composer had almost no time left for creative work: he composed fewer new works and often refused to participate in concerts.
Alexander Konstantinovich did not like to do administrative work, but he received real pleasure from communicating with young talents. The director considered it obligatory for him to attend the annual exams, sometimes in a month he had to listen to several hundred speeches. He was very happy if he noticed a sign of talent in a young performer, followed the progress of students and personally wrote a description for each.
The conservatory's young people treated Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov with great respect, as she saw him not only as an authoritative composer and instructor, from whom they could learn a lot, but also as a leader who took care of every student. When receiving young people in an educational institution, Alexander Konstantinovich evaluated only the musical abilities of the applicants. He was not interested in either the estate origin or the nationality of the applicants, but he considered the government quota for Jews a shame. As a result of this approach, many promising talented musicians studied at the conservatory. Accordingly, among them were representatives from the poorest segments of the population, whom the director, by virtue of his ability, tried to help. For example, A. Glazunov, his entire salary for the head and teacher, gave student assistance to the cashier.
The merits of Alexander Konstantinovich and the invaluable contribution he made to the development of the conservatory were highly appreciated: in December 1920, celebrating the fifteen-year anniversary of his leadership, the presidium of the educational institution decided to confer the name of A. Glazunov on the Petrograd Conservatory.
Personal life of Alexander Glazunov
Alexander Konstantinovich was an unusually bright and kind man. His mental device was so harmonious that it seemed to necessarily attract happiness to him. However, fate decided otherwise, and for a long time the only woman who was dear to the heart of the composer was his mother, Elena Pavlovna. Yet family happiness did not pass him by. When Glazunov was already at a rather mature age, an extraordinary miracle happened: a young woman appeared in the house of Alexander Konstantinovich, whose name was Olga. Elena Pavlovna hired her as an assistant, who, always caring for her beloved son, began to feel the difficulty in managing the household. Very soon Olga became close and dear to Alexander Konstantinovich a man who surrounded him with tender care. In addition to love, devotion and care, Olga Nikolaevna presented Alexander Konstantinovich with family happiness. Glazunov was very fond of children, but the serious illness he had suffered in his youth deprived him of the joy of fatherhood. Olga did not come alone to the Glazunovs' house: she had a little girl in her arms, which, to the composer’s joy, was named after his beloved mother, Elena. A large apartment on Kazanskaya Street was filled with merry laughter from little Lena, who soon began to call the composer dad, and her talent with musical abilities brought the girl closer to her adoptive father. Later, Elena, who bore the surname and patronymic of Glazunov, became a brilliant pianist who successfully performed at concerts with her stepfather, performing her piano works.
Glazunov and Olga lived together for fifteen years, but officially registered the marriage only after moving to Paris, shortly before the composer's death. According to the recollections of close people, the relationship between Alexander Konstantinovich and Olga Nikolaevna was surprisingly warm and harmonious. And in the last years of the composer’s life, when a severe illness overtook him, Olga, forgetting about herself, sacrificially took care of her beloved spouse, neither at night nor during the day without departing from his bed. After Glazunov’s death, Olga Nikolaevna found consolation only in that she supported the memory of her dear husband.
Alexander Glazunov is a brilliant musician who played a significant role in the development of not only Russian, but also world musical culture, and whose skill is the most valuable example for subsequent generations of composers. His rich creative heritage is admirable, as ideal-harmonious music filled with joy and light, I want to listen and listen.