Hold on to your hats, a real barn burner.
Recorded in 1928.
Thanks to Bill Anderson for allowing me to use his fine transfer.
Mikhail Glinka was the father of Russian music. Where before itinerant troupes of Italian, French, or German musicians had dominated, Glinka staked o became the musical inspiration for generations of composers and listeners who followed him. He created a uniquely Russian music, planting its roots firmly in the European tradition but fertilizing it with music from Russian, Middle Eastern, Persian, and other Asian folk traditions. As a young man, Glinka had conducted the serf orchestra on his uncle's estate near Smolensk, digesting a large chunk of the mainstream European repertoire while encountering the vital tradition of Russian folk music that thrived in peasant culture. A visit by an Italian opera company to St. Petersburg in 1828 gave Glinka an opportunity to immerse himself in Rossini's stage works, and the young composer went on to meet Donizetti and Bellini during a visit to Italy in the early 1830s. He took what he had learned and created two operas, A Life for the Tsar (1836) and Ruslan and Ludmilla (1842), which came to stand as monuments to later generations of Russians. Composers like Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov all looked to Glinka as their musical Adam, and the two works are still frequently performed in Russia.
The Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla is quite a curtain-raiser, with an energy worthy of Rossini and a uniquely Russian combination of earthy exuberance and heroic feeling.
- John Mangu, Artistic Administrator for the LA Phil
Born: April 23, 1882 - St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 11, 1953 -- Milnerton, near Cape Town, South Africa
The English conductor and composer, Albert Coates, was born in Russia to an English father and a mother of Russian descent. He went to England, enrolled in science classes at the University of Liverpool, and studied organ with an elder brother. In 1902 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, studying cello with Julius Klengel, and piano with Teichmüller. Eventually, he became most influenced by Nikisch's conducting classes, served his apprenticeship there, engaged as répétiteur at the Leipzig Opera, and made his debut as conductor in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Leipzig Opera in 1904.
In 1905 (or 1906) Albert Coates was appointed (on Nikisch's recommendation) chief conductor of the opera house at Elberfeld, serving in this post until 1907 (or 1908). From 1907 to 1909 he was a joint conductor at the Dresden Court Opera (as assistant to Schuch); then at Mannheim (1909-1910, with Bodanzky). An invitation to conduct Siegfried at St. Petersburg led to Coates' appointment as principal conductor at the Mariinsky Theater (Imperial Opera) there for five years. He conducted many Russian operas, and the post also brought him into close contact with leading Russian musicians, particularly Scriabin, whose music he championed. From 1919 he conducted in England, specialising in Wagner and the Russian repertoire. Having made his first appearance at London's Covent Garden in 1914 with Tristan und Isolde, he conducted there regularly from 1919. He shared performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen with Nikisch, and returned there frequently during Sir Thomas Beecham's opera seasons. From 1919 to 1921 he was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1920 he made his American debut as guest conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra. During 1923-1925, he led conducting classes at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and appeared as guest conductor with other American orchestras. Subsequent engagements included a season at the Berlin State Opera (1931) and concerts with the Wiener Philharmoniker (1935). In 1938 he conducted for the last time at Covent Garden. In 1946 he settled in South Africa, where he conducted the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra and taught at the University of South Africa at Cape Town.