It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
International Coffeehouses: Russia
This guide will provide links to resources related to the countries featured in the International Coffeehouses.
The Russian Federation is situated in North Eurasia. In 1922 the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the principal member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), which disintegrated in 1991. In May 2008 Dmitrii Medvedev became federal President, succeeding Vladimir Putin, on the expiry of his second term in office. Medvedev's nomination of Putin as Chairman of the Government was subsequently approved by an overwhelming parliamentary majority. In March 2012 Putin was again elected as President; he assumed office in May; he was re-elected in March 2018. Moscow is the capital. The official language is Russian.
Russia is the world's largest country in area. It covers a large part of both Europe and Asia, has coastlines on the Arctic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and Pacific Ocean. Its total landmass is 17,098,246 square kilometers.
Russia borders eight European countries, three Asian countries, and three countries with lands in both Europe and Asia.
Snow covers more than half of the country during six months of the year.
The capital and largest city is Moscow, with a population of 12.5 million. (2018 estimate)
St. Petersburg is the second largest city at 5.3 million. (2018 estimate)
Moscow is home to the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, but there are numerous other ornate and decorated buildings throughout Russia. The Catherine Palace and Winter Palace of St. Petersburg are examples of the late Baroque style of architecture, having been worked on by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Both palaces exhibit cool-colored tones on their exteriors and grand, golden spaces on their interiors. The Winter Palace now houses the Hermitage Museum, making it the largest art museum in the world.
The Story of Baroque Architecture by Claudia ZanlungoFocusing on the Baroque period, this book gives readers the tools they need to grasp the architectural language and building forms of this style. Part of a new, accessibly written, and generously illustrated series on architecture through the ages, this book features Baroque's most important architects, buildings and cities, interior and exterior photographs, detailed images, drawings, and plans. The book offers a general introduction to Baroque, discusses the characteristics of the style, and the commonly used techniques and materials. Originating in the late sixteenth century and continuing to the early 1900s, Baroque swept the globe, from Europe to South America. The period is distinguished by complex architectural shapes designed to heighten emotion and dramatise experience. Buildings from this period are celebrated for their grandeur, intricate embellishments, and gilded statuary. Renowned Baroque architects include Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, and Guariono Guarini. AUTHOR: Claudia Zanlungo is a curator and writer on architecture. She lives in Berlin. 200 colour images REDUCED FROM $35.00
Call Number: NA590.Z36 2012
Publication Date: 2012-09-25
Anna Akhmatova was the pen name of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, one of the most important woman poets in Russian literature. Akhmatova was noted for her skill with language and her emotional and artistic honesty. Akhmatova’s best work demonstrates her ability to describe the feelings experienced by all human beings, especially love.
This powerful collection of fifteen memoirs by and about one of the greatest poets of our time weaves an unforgettable drama of friendship, grace, and courage, through long years of heartbreak and hunger.
Penguin Random House describes Ludmilla Petrushevskaya as “A Singular force in modern Russian fiction.” With a career spanning decades, she has written for film, stage, and even began a singing career in her sixties. Her collection of short stories There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales was awarded a World Fantasy Award in 2010 in the Collection category.
New York Times Bestseller Winner of the World Fantasy Award One of New York magazine's 10 Best Books of the Year One of NPR's 5 Best Works of Foreign Fiction The celebrated scary fairy tales of Russia's preeminent contemporary fiction writer--the author of the prizewinning memoir about growing up in Stalinist Russia, The Girl from the Metropol Hotel Vanishings and aparitions, nightmares and twists of fate, mysterious ailments and supernatural interventions haunt these stories by the Russian master Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, heir to the spellbinding tradition of Gogol and Poe. Blending the miraculous with the macabre, and leavened by a mischievous gallows humor, these bewitching tales are like nothing being written in Russia--or anywhere else in the world--today.
Russian Art and Artists
Russian art has a diverse and extensive history from the Byzantine style through the current day. These are just a few examples of the art that has come out of Russia. More can be found online and through the database ARTStor.
Holy Trinity (Troitsa), Andrey Rublyov
Tempera on cloth and panel, c. 1411
Image courtesy of ARTStor. View its ARTStor page here.
The Last Day of Pompeii, Karl Bryullov
Oil on canvas, 1830-1833
Image courtesy of ARTStor. View its ARTStor page here.
Swan Princess, Mikhail Vrubel
Oil on canvas, 1900
Image courtesy of ARTStor. View its ARTStor page here.
Russians on Russian Music, 1880-1917 by Stuart Campbell (Edited and Translated by)This second anthology of Russian writing on Russian music begins in 1880 (where the first volume concluded) and ends in 1917. It brings the thoughts of leading Russian music critics to an English-speaking readership as they react to the Russian music that is new to them, during a period when all aspects of musical life were developing rapidly. Music criticism had become more sure-footed, if no less opinionated. These reviews demonstrate greater awareness both of music history and of contemporary music abroad. The period covers the late careers of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov as well as late works by Borodin and Balakirev, and the emergence of Mussorgsky's compositions. Works by the intervening generation, including Arensky, Glazunov and Lyadov, are also reviewed and the book concludes with coverage of works by the Moscow School, including Medtner, Rachmaninoff and Skryabin and the early compositions of Stravinsky and Prokoviev.
Call Number: ML300.4 .R872 2003
Publication Date: 2003-08-14
Anton Rubinstein by Philip S. TaylorThe first modern biography in English of Russian composer-pianist Anton Rubinstein, this book places Rubinstein within the context of Russian and western European musical culture during the late 19th century, exploring his rise to international fame from humble origins in Bessarabia, as well as his subsequent rapid decline and marginalization in later musical culture. Taylor provides a balanced account of Rubinstein's life and his career as a piano virtuoso, conductor, composer, and as the founder of Russia's first conservatory. Widely considered the virtuosic heir to Liszt, and recognized internationally as an equivalent cultural icon, he performed with most leading musicians of the day, including Liszt himself, Joachim, Clara Schumann, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, and Ysaÿe.
Call Number: ML410.R89 T293 2007
Publication Date: 2007-06-14
Tchaikovsky Through Others' Eyes by Alexander Poznansky (Editor); Ralph C. Burr (Translator); Robert Bird (Translator)" . . . intriguing collection . . . a recommended study for anyone interested in the habits and personalities of great minds." --ForeWord This compilation of reminiscences about Tchaikovsky the man is unprecedented in English. The memoirs, diary entries, and interviews written and conducted by his contemporaries show us both the public and the private figure: the law student, the professor, the philanthropist, the loving brother and uncle, the intrepid traveler, and of course the composer and conductor. In more than 50 documents--some laudatory, others not--Tchaikovsky's contemporaries speak of little-known facets of the composer's life: foibles and mannerisms, politics and tastes, prejudices and preferences (sexual and otherwise). The result is a dynamic portrayal of the composer, with all the complexities and paradoxes of a real life.
Call Number: ML410.C4 T38 1999
Publication Date: 1999-04-22
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Later on, he gained French (from 1934) and American (from 1945) citizenship. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composer of the 20th century. He has a wide variety of compositions of both Russian music (his earlier works) and neoclassicism (later works). During his neoclassicism period, he wrote traditional forms of music with new serial procedures.
After the Rite: Stravinsky's Path to Neoclassism (1914-1925) by Maureen A. Carr(Also an E-Book) The riot that erupted during the 1913 debut of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris has long been one of the most infamous and intriguing events of modern musical history. The third in a series of works commissioned for Sergei Diaghalev's famed Ballets Russes, the piece combined disjunct tonalities, provocative rhythms, and radical choreography that threw spectators and critics into a literal fury. In the century following its premiere, The Rite of Spring has demonstrated its earth-shattering impact on music and dance as well as its immortalizing effect on Stravinsky and his career. Having gained international attention by the age of 30, what direction could Stravinsky's path forward take after the momentus events of 1913? After the Rite: Stravinsky's Path to Neoclassicism (1914-1925) traces the evolution of Stravinsky's compositional style as he searched for his own voice in the explosive musical world of the early 20th century as he responded to harsh criticisms of his work. Throughout the book, author Maureen Carr presents new transcriptions and sophisticated analyses of selected musical sketches to show the genesis of Stravinsky's musical ideas as he forayed into surrealism, classicism, and abstraction to develop his signature Neoclassical style. Exploring these annotated compositional experiments--such as the earliest evidence of Stravinsky's appropriation of the "rag idiom" and the development of his so-called "sound blocks"--After the Rite provides new insight into how Stravinsky challenged and guided the musical developments of the decade after that legendary Paris premiere. Enlightening visual metaphors, such as the contemporary paintings of Paul Klee and those of the Russian futurists, supplement discussion of the musical sketches throughout, offering a comprehensive artistic context for Carr's unprecedented and rigorous examination. A treasure trove of outstanding material for scholars, musicians, students, and general readers alike, After the Rite offers a much-needed delineation of the concept of musical neoclassicism. Maureen Carr's innovative and detailed examination of the metamorphosis of Igor Stravinsky's compositional style after The Rite of Spring is an invaluable contribution to the literature concerning this iconic 20th century composer.
Hear the name "Igor Stravinsky" and the first thing that comes to mind is a composer of ponderous, "serious" music. But did you know that Stravinsky lived much of his life in Hollywood? That he collaborated on musical projects with Pablo Picasso and George Balanchine? That his work subtly espoused deeply held political views and reflected key literary influences? That he was not only interested in the modern communication technologies of his time--sound recording, radio, television, even early computers--but wrote music that echoed their impact? In Experiencing Stravinsky, music historian Robin Maconie takes a fresh approach to understanding this great composer's works, explaining what makes Stravinsky's sound unique and what we, as listeners, need to know in order to appreciate the variety and brilliance of his compositions. Experiencing Stravinsky is more than just another work of music appreciation. In the author's deft hands, Stravinsky's long musical career is a guided tour through 20th-century history, from Czarist Russia and two world wars to the height of the Hollywood era and the birth of the information age. Maconie has provided nothing less than an operating manual to getting the most out of Stravinsky's music.
Rite of Spring (1913)
The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by Igor Stravinsky. This ballet was first performed in 1913 and was recognized as avant-garde in both music composition and choreography. Many called the reaction to this ballet a 'riot' because of the negative reviews of the ballet. Both the music and ballet was very experimental in the way that both broke stereotypes and included new sounds and visuals that audiences at the time were not accustomed to based on the music of the time.
This paper describes a fascinating connection between the physics of music and the famous chord in the dissonant rhythmic section of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913). The analysis of Stravinsky’s chord will draw from the physics of harmonics, musical intervals, mathematics, and cognitive psychology. This highly interdisciplinary approach will especially appeal to students typically found in a physics course for non-majors. A video accompanies this paper so that readers and students can hear the construction of Stravinsky’s dissonant chord as well as an orchestra performing an excerpt of The Rite of Spring.
Music director Michael Tilson Thomas and the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony go from the salons of St. Petersburg to the villages where Stravinsky found inspiration in the earthy power of Russian folk music and dance. Thomas then retraces Stravinsky's journey to the cultural crossroads of pre-war Paris, where the composer collaborates with the great impresario Diaghilev and his star dancer Nijinsky to develop the shocking, erotic, and violent evocation of pagan Russia that became The Rite of Spring. Includes a live performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and music from The Firebird by the San Francisco Symphony, with Thomas conducting.
Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a popular Russian composer who wrote six symphonies, the most popular being Manfred Symphony (1886) and nine operas, the most popular being The Queen of Spades (1890). He also wrote successful ballets such as Swan Lake (1877), The Sleeping Beauty (1890), and The Nutcracker (1892). In addition to these visual productions, he wrote a number of orchestral works as well as a number of piano and violin concertos. For more listening, check out his music on Naxos Music Library.
Many of Tchaikovsky's compositions including Swan Lake, "Emeralds" from Jewels, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and more!
Tchaikovsky by Roland John WileyA giant in the pantheon of 19th century composers, Tchaikovsky continues to enthrall audiences today. From the Nutcracker--arguably the most popular ballet currently on the boards--Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty, to Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame, to the Symphony Pathetique and the always rousing, canon-blasting 1812 Overture--this prolific and beloved composer's works are perennial favorites. Now, John Wiley, a renowned Tchaikovsky scholar, provides a fresh biography aimed in classic Master Musicians style at the student and music lover. Wiley deftly draws on documents from imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet era sources, providing a more balanced look at recent controversies surrounding the marriage, death, and sexuality of the composer. The author dovetails the biographical material with separate chapters that treat the music thoroughly and fully, work-by-work, with more substantial explorations of Tchaikovsky's most familiar compositions. These analyses present new, even iconoclastic perspectives on the music and the composer's intent and expression. Several informative appendices, in the Master Musicians format, include an exhaustive list of works and bibliography.
Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, his first ballet, was first performed in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The libretto was written by Vladimir Begichev and the original choreographer was Julius Reisinger. The premier did not receive the best reviews and was reworked with new libretto and choreography that resembled what was popular in the west at the time.
Summary: Swan Lake generally tells the story of young Prince Siegfried and the beautiful Odette, often described as a princess. Odette and her companions have been put under a spell that transforms them into swans by day, and back to human form at night. One night, Siegfried encounters the swan maidens at a lake in the forest. Odette tells him about the spell, and they fall in love. The next night, Siegfried is to choose a bride at a ball. Baron von Rothbart attends the ball with his daughter Odile, who resembles Odette. In many productions, Rothbart is a sorcerer who cursed Odette and her companions. Siegfried says that he will marry Odile, then realizes too late that he has been tricked. He returns to the lake and asks Odette to forgive him. Some versions of the ballet end tragically, with the lovers drowning in a great storm. In others, they jump into the lake together and die. Still other versions have a happy ending in which the swan spell is broken and the lovers live happily ever after. In many productions, the same ballerina dances the parts of both Odette and Odile. Odile often appears onstage wearing black and is referred to as the Black Swan.
Swan Lake has a central place in the ballet repertoire. Generally seen as the ballerina's ballet, one of the greatest difficulties in presenting Swan Lake as a credible drama has been the historically marginal role played by Siegfried, the Prince. As choreographer-producers have struggled in the challenge to make the ballet work dramatically, his character has been transformed from onlooker to major influence in a series of reinterpretations of this classic work. In this article Gregory Sporton raises questions about what motivates Siegfried and why that is important for our understanding of the ballet, offering an alternative view of Siegfried's character. Gregory Sporton is Director of the Visualisation Research Unit in the Department of Art at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. His interest in Swan Lake emerges from his background as a dancer and long periods of research in the former Soviet Union during 2004–2006, when he was able to see at first hand most of the Russian productions referenced in this article. His other published work includes ethnographic accounts of dance and its place in the flow of culture.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was a Russian composer and conductor and one of the greatest pianists in history. His compositions generally carry the late romantic style of Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky into the early 1900s. Even Rachmaninoff's last works from the 1930's are hardly affected by modern trends. His music is strongly influenced by the chants and church bells of the Russian Orthodox Church. These musical influences appear in Rachmaninoff's simple melodies and rich, full keyboard sounds. Rachmaninoff combined these native Russian materials with his own passion and intensity of expression.
Sergei Rachmaninoff--the last great Russian romantic and arguably the finest pianist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries--wrote 83 songs, which are performed and beloved throughout the world. Like German Lieder and French mélodies, the songs were composed for one singer, accompanied by a piano. In this complete collection, Richard D. Sylvester provides English translations of the songs, along with accurate transliterations of the original texts and detailed commentary. Since Rachmaninoff viewed these "romances" primarily as performances and painstakingly annotated the scores, this volume will be especially valuable for students, scholars, and practitioners of voice and piano.
In two of Rachmaninov's last works, the of 1934 and the first of the of 1940, a stylistic contrast between an opulently scored lyrical theme and the more angular, dissonant music that surrounds that theme throws into relief the extent that Rachmaninov's musical language had changed and developed since his first great successes thirty years earlier with the Second Piano Concerto and the Second Symphony. The words that motivate a similar stylistic contrast in the song (Sleep), composed in 1917, near the end of his most compositionally productive years, suggest an interpretive reading of such a stylistic contrast: the earlier, lusher style is associated here with dreams, and hence with memories; while the later, sparer, more tonally ambiguous style accompanies an evocation of something more impersonal, in the case of the song the stillness of a dreamless sleep. Some of the developing aspects of Rachmaninov's style revealed in these later examples are already evident even in the more traditional-sounding pieces of the last decade (1907–17) of his Russian period, which is shown in an analysis of the piano Prelude in G# Minor of 1910. Even this seemingly traditional Prelude, but more and more in his later music, Rachmaninov emerges as an indisputably twentieth-century composer.
The Rachmaninoff Statue commemorates the composer/performer's last public performance held at the University of Tennessee on February 17, 1943. The statue is a bronze casting sculpted by Russian artist, Victor Bokarev. (https://www.visitknoxville.com/listings/statue-of-sergei-rachmaninoff/1677/)