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Entries / Dargomyzhsky А.S., (1813-1869), composer

Dargomyzhsky А.S., (1813-1869), composer

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Personalia

DARGOMYZHSKY Alexander Sergeevich (1813-1869, St. Petersburg), composer. Lived in St. Petersburg from 1817. Educated at home, similarly receiving a musical education. He learned to play the piano under composer and pianist F. Schoberlechner and studied singing and music theory under B. L. Zeibich, a tenor at St. Petersburg's German Opera. He was known as a good pianist in the capital as early as 1830, and also played the violin and viola, singing his own romances, participating in amateur concerts and publishing his works. He met M. I. Glinka in 1833 to become his close friend and follow his lead in studying the science of composition and composing operas. His Esmeralda composed in 1837-41 to V. Hugo's libretto and The Mermaid composed in 1843-55 to Dargomyzgsky's own libretto, based on Alexander Pushkin's poem, both were staged by the Imperial Russian Opera in 1851 and 1856, but received a cold reception and closed after a short season. It was not earlier than 1865 that the revival of The Mermaid urged by Y. F. Platonova brought Dargomyzhsky an incredible and mysterious success. Reputed as a saloon man and just another romancist for most of his life, Dargomyzhsky suddenly became an authority among St. Petersburg's musicians. A good friend of A. N. Serov and M. A. Balakirev from the mid-1850s, he also became close with the Mighty Five, growing under the latter's wing, who was first to respond to Dargomyzhsky's innovations in music composition. A. G. Rubinstein asked him to become the director of the Russian Musiсal Society in St. Petersburg in 1867. Just as M. P. Mussorgsky in his Marriage, Dargomyzhsky conceived a kind of recitative opera in 1868 that would retain the entire text of Pushkin's Stone Guest. The opera, however, was left incomplete, N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov and C. A. Cui finished it according to Dargomyzhsky's will. Staged in Mariinsky Theatre in 1872, Stone Guest, however, was given an icy welcome as too boring and complicated an opera. It was for his romances that Dargomyzhsky was esteemed while alive. Based on verses by his contemporaries, including Pushkin, M. Y. Lermontov, A. V. Koltsov, and Iskra poets, Dargomyzhsky's romances are charming and realistic in tone, enabling us hear the melody and emotional nuances of speech typical for St. Petersburg in the late 19th century. Dargomyzhsky visited all the music saloons of St. Petersburg and himself arranged the so-called Thursday gatherings from 1840 at 13 Moskovsky Avenue and in A. K. Esakov's house at 30 Mokhovaya Street. He also made music for various occasions such as Petersburg Serenades composed for the traditional festivities of boating on Chernaya Rechka and Malaya Nevka rivers. He lived at 30 Mokhovaya Street from 1843 and died there. He was buried in the Necropolis of the Artists.

Reference: А. С. Даргомыжский (1813-1869): Автобиография. Письма. Воспоминания современников / Ред. и примечания Н. Финдейзена. 2-е изд. Пб., 1922; Тарасов Л. М. Даргомыжский в Петербурге. Л., 1988.

A. L. Porfiryeva.

Balakirev Mily Alexeevich
Cui Cesar Antonovich
Dargomyzhsky Alexander Sergeevich
Esakov D.S.
Glinka Mikhail Ivanovich
Hugo Victor-Marie
Koltsov Alexey Vasilievich
Lermontov Mikhail Yurievich
Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich
Platonova Yulia Fedorovna
Pushkin Alexander Sergeevich
Rimsky-Korsakov Nikolay Andreevich
Rubinstein Anton Grigorievich
Schoberlechner Franz
Serov Alexander Nikolaevich
Zeibich B.L.

Mokhovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 30
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 13

А. С. Даргомыжский (1813-1869): Автобиография. Письма. Воспоминания современников / Ред. и примеч. Н. Финдейзена. 2-е изд. Пб., 1922
Тарасов Л. М. Даргомыжский в Петербурге. Л., 1988

The subject Index
Musical Society, The Russian
Mariinsky Theatre
Necropolis of Artists