Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka in your last visit from abroad rarely went out of the house, very few people took only his closest friends, Yes friends-musicians. In his house, in a narrow circle, friends sang, played piano, discussed new music, talked about the development of Russian music. One day an old friend of Mikhail Ivanovich, the famous diplomat, a lover and Explorer of music Ulybyshev presented Glinka his young friend Milia Balakirev. The young man got in the house Ulybyshev beautiful musical upbringing and showed such rare abilities that Ulybyshev decided that no matter what type it in the music world capital. Both of them, and Ulybyshev and Balakirev, were delighted by the music of Glinka, and therefore to him first and went, coming from Nizhniy Novgorod to St. Petersburg.
Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev
From the first meeting Balakirev liked Glinka. Liked he is smart, inquisitive, with sparkling black eyes, liked his views and reasoning, his fantasy on the theme of "Susanin", liked the way he played the piano. Soon Balakirev became a very close person in the house Glinka. "In the first Balakirev I found the views, so close fit to mine, in all that relates to music, " said Glinka sister,-- ...eventually it will be second Glinka".
Leaving again abroad, Glinka gave young friend two Spanish musical themes. Balakirev process them. One of them formed the basis of his first symphonic works - Overture for Symphony orchestra. Second Balakirev used in one of the late works for piano - "Spanish Serenade".
And before leaving Glinka asked sister is sure to fulfill his desire: to anyone except Balakirev, not to trust the musical education of her daughter Oli - favorite niece Glinka.
Balakirev forever preserved the love of Glinka, to his music and together with her sister Glinka did much to perpetuate the works of the great Russian composer and continue in Russian music work he started.
Balakirev was a brilliant pianist and conductor. He knew by heart almost all the works of Beethoven, Chopin, Glinka, Schumann, Liszt. Especially often, he played Chopin, played differently, and Chopin in his performance sounded always courageous, tragic.
First performing in public concerts brought Balakirev loud glory. Among his closest friends came centuries Stasov - man bright, talented, widely educated, with progressive views on social life, on art and literature. Stasov called himself a disciple of the great Russian revolutionary Democrats Belinsky and Chernyshevsky. He was fascinated by the young Balakirev reading the most advanced at that time log ("Contemporary" ) and "Bell" Herzen). Literary news, new music, art exhibitions, debates about art was vividly interested in and fascinated by Stasov. Every significant event in Russian literature, music, painting, he responded fiery articles. Stasov was a true fighter for approval of advanced, original Russian art. Balakirev was the same fighter in the musical life of Russia. In 1855 Balakirev appeared in St. Petersburg, and by 1860 around him and Stasov had gathered a group of musicians and composers.
At first the young Balakirev joined composer-Amateur engineer césar Cui, then a young guards officer, a talented pianist and improviser Mussorgsky. Balakirev began to give them lessons, composition, music theory, discussed their work, showing their friends with the works of Glinka, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Beethoven, played his compositions. After some time in the Balakirev circle became a talented musician, naval officer Rimsky-Korsakov and later Professor of chemistry Borodin, people are extremely gifted and well-educated. A great friend circle was the composer of the older generation, colleague Glinka, A. S. Dargomyzhsky. "A great teacher of musical truth" called him Mussorgsky.
None of the members of the group, except Balakirev, I did not otkotilsya seriously to his music classes. However, Balakirev and Stasov, who became the ideological leaders, made of all - and Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin - new look on my works. They set a lofty goal - to Express in music the most advanced ideas of his time, to bring creativity to the people and the wonderful folk art to make available Russian classical music. This circle in Russian music played the same role as the "Wanderers" in Russian painting.
Portrait Of Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov,
Russian music critic
and art historian (1883)
"...Much poetry, feeling, talent and skill there is in this small, but mighty handful of Russian musicians," wrote one Stasov about my friends composers. Since then, the circle became known as the "Mighty handful"
"Cockily" regularly gathered. How was it, said he Balakirev: "Our studies... was friendly conversations and was not only for piano, but also for the tea table. Borodin (and then all our company) played his new essay, and I made comments concerning form, orchestration and so on., and not only I, but all the other members of our company took part in these judgments. Thus, jointly developed critical of all our composing".
Although members of the group were connected by common views, although they are constantly consulted with each other, each was in art his way, he developed his own subjects, was looking for his images and forms. The main and mandatory for all was to bring people the truth in music.
The center of all meetings, the main critic was always Balakirev. That's what tells it Rimsky-Korsakov: "It obeyed unquestioningly, for the charm of his personality was scary high. Young, wonderful, moving fiery eyes, beautiful beard, speaking firmly, authoritative and right; every minute ready for a nice improvisation at the piano, remembering every known quantum memory instantly play his compositions, he had to make it a charm like no other. Appreciating the slightest sign of talent in the other, he could not, however, do not feel its height above it, and the other, too, felt his superiority over them. His influence on others was so..."
His compositions Balakirev was also given to the discussion of the fellows he was very demanding, not only to others, but first and foremost to yourself. Busy constantly with other things, he wrote little, sometimes for many years working on one product.
At the end of 1862 Balakirev managed to arrange a Free music school for talented young people who could not take a paid music lessons. Free music school were singing lessons, music theory and violin. Choir and orchestra, organized Balakirev from students performed.
In 1866 he published a collection of Russian songs recorded Balakirev in the Volga region. Folk melodies adorn all the works of Balakirev - his symphonies, overtures, fantasy, paintings, songs. The composer turned to musical creativity of other Nations: Czech, Spanish, Georgian, Kabardian, Tatar.
In 1866 Balakirev with huge success when it was staged in Prague Glinka's Opera "Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Lyudmila", he conducted them. He was happy that his favorite Opera finally enthusiastically received by the audience.
The success of Balakirev in Prague for some time changed the attitude and in St. Petersburg. The conductor was safe to enter into the program of modern music - Russian and Western. This caused a new rage against the opponents best art. They became even fiercer attack on the composer.
Enemies did everything possible to undermine Free schools and the "Mighty handful". Funds from Balakirev and his friends for the maintenance of schools was not enough.
In the end free school stopped their concerts. Balakirev tired in the fight, he suddenly left the music, friends, became friends with random people - pilgrims, the fortune-tellers. Friends could not understand how could it happen that man, far from religion, intelligent, educated, suddenly plunged into endless conversations about God. At the end of life Balakirev, however, returned to musical activities - acted as conductor and pianist who composed the music started again Free school. But still Balakirev, bold, ardent fighter for progressive art, it was not.
Departed from the views of the "Mighty handful", and césar Cui is the least talented of all the composers of the famous "five". Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov until the end of his life he remained faithful to the ideas that once opened they Balakirev, continued in the music business, started by Glinka, created works, famous Russian music and brought her worldwide fame.