Милий Алексеевич Балакирев (Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev)

~ Person


Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (Russian: Ми́лий Алексе́евич Бала́кирев, IPA: [ˈmʲilʲɪj ɐlʲɪkˈsʲeɪvʲɪtɕ bɐˈlakʲɪrʲɪf]; 2 January 1837 [O.S. 21 December 1836] – 29 May [O.S. 16 May] 1910) was a Russian pianist, conductor and composer known today primarily for his work promoting musical nationalism and his encouragement of more famous Russian composers, notably Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 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 the process, Balakirev developed musical patterns that could express overt nationalistic feeling. After a nervous breakdown and consequential sabbatical, he returned to classical music but did not wield the same level of influence as before.

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 others were Alexander Borodin, César Cui, Modest 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. While his methods could be dictatorial, the results of his influence were several works which established these composers' reputations individually and as a group. He performed a similar function for Tchaikovsky at two points in the latter's career—in 1868–9 with the fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet and in 1882–5 with the Manfred Symphony.

As a composer, Balakirev finished major works many years after he had started them; he began his First Symphony in 1864 but completed it in 1897. The exception to this was his oriental fantasy Islamey for solo piano, which he composed quickly and remains popular among virtuosos. 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.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1952 Symphony in C Major Милий Алексеевич Балакирев; Philharmonia Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan 1
1986 Russian Piano Music Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Moussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov; Margaret Fingerhut 1
1991 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Hopak / On the Southern Shore of the Crimea / Une larme / Balakirev: Islamey Modest Mussorgsky, Mily Balakirev; Jenő Jandó 2
1993 The Romantic Piano Concerto, Volume 5: Balakirev: Piano Concerto no. 1 in F-sharp minor / Piano Concerto no. 2 in E-flat major / Rimsky-Korsakov: Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor Mili Balakirev, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; English Northern Philharmonia, David Lloyd-Jones, Malcolm Binns 1
1993 A Russian Piano Recital Balakirev, Scriabin, Glazunov; Michael Lewin 1
1993 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Stravinsky: Petrushka (Three Movements) / Balakirev: Islamey Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Balakirev; Piers Lane 1
1994 BALAKIREV: Symphony No. 2 / Russia Милий Алексеевич Балакирев 1
1994 Symphony no. 1 / Islamey / Tamara Mily Balakirev; Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Igor Golovschin 2
1996 The Complete Piano Music, Vols. 1 & 2 Mily Balakirev; Alexander Paley 1
1997 2 Symphonies / Symphonic Poems / Overtures Mily Balakirev; USSR Symphony Orchestra, Evgeny Svetlanov 1
1997 Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 (USSR Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Evgeny Svetlanov, Gennady Rozhdestvensky) Милий Алексеевич Балакирев 1
1998 Balakirev: Symphony 1 / Roussel: Symphony 4 Balakirev, Roussel; Herbert von Karajan, Philharmonia Orchestra 1
1998 Overture: King Lear / Symphony no. 1 / In Bohemia Mily Balakirev; BBC Philharmonic, Vassily Sinaisky 1
1998 Symphonies and Symphonic Poems (The Philharmonia feat. conductor: Yevgeny Svetlanov) Милий Алексеевич Балакирев 1
1999 Symphony no. 2 / Tamara / Piano Concerto, op. 1 Mily Balakirev; BBC Philharmonic, Vassily Sinaisky, Howard Shelley 1
2001 Balakirev: Symphony no. 1 / Rimsky-Korsakov: Suite from Le Coq d'or / Borodin: Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin; BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham 1
2002 Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Bach-Busoni: Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C / Glinka-Balakirev: The Lark Mussorgsky, Bach-Busoni, Glinka-Balakirev; Evgeny Kissin 2
2004 Russian Romantics for Cello and Piano Rachmaninoff, Glazunov, Balakirev; Jonathan Cohen, Leslie Howard 1
2006 Borodin: The Sixteen Songs / Glinka, Dargomyjsky, Balakirev: Songs Borodin, Glinka, Dargomyjsky, Balakirev; Pyotr Gluboky, Ilya Scheps, Yury Loyevsky 1
2007 BBC Music, Volume 15, Number 6: Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 2 "Little Russian" / Balakirev: Tamara / Arensky: Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky Tchaikovsky, Balakirev, Arensky 1
2009 Scherzi and Mazurkas (Complete) (Joseph Banowetz) Милий Алексеевич Балакирев 1
2011 Piano Works by 'The Mighty Handful' Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Cui; Philip Edward Fisher 1
2011 BBC Music, Volume 19, Number 9: The Firebird (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra feat. conductor: Ilan Volkov) Stravinsky / Balakirev 1
2013 Tchaikovsky: The Seasons / Balakirev: Islamey Tchaikovsky, Balakirev; Yefim Bronfman 1
Songs Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov; Daniil Shtoda, Larissa Gergieva 1
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto no. 1 / Theme and Variations, op. 19 no. 6 / Balakirev: Islamey / Liszt: La Campanella Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Mily Balakirev, Franz Liszt; Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, Andrei Gavrilov 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1996 Piano Works Sergey Rachmaninov, Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Mily Balakirev 1
2001 Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" / Piano Works Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, Balakirew, Liapunow 1
2005 Piano Music Mily Balakirev; Alexander Paley 1
2005 Symphonies nos. 1 & 2 / Piano Concerto, op. 1 / Overture to "King Lear" / In Bohemia / Tamara Mily Balakirev; BBC Philharmonic, Vassily Sinaisky 1
2005 Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto no. 1 / Prokofiev: Piano Concerto no. 1 / Balakirev: Islamey Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Balakirev; Andrei Gavrilov, Philharmonia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, London Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle 2

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