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First published in 1939, On Russian Music was conceived by Gerald Abraham as a sequel to his earlier Studies in Russian Music (1935, also in Faber Finds), and complements the previous work in many useful respects. Glinka moves to the forefront via close study of both of his operas. A historical account of the composition of Borodin’s Prince Igor enriches the critical study made in the first book. And chapters on Mlada and Tsar Saltan round out Abraham’s appreciations of the major operas of Rimsky-Korsakov.
There are also critical and historical essays on works by Mussorgsky, Dargomïzhsky, Tchaikovsky and other composers, and analyses that, in their time, threw new light on the programmatic meaning of such well-known compositions as Scheherazade and the Pathétique symphony. The book is superbly illustrated with music examples throughout.