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Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture

Here’s a hint: It’s a work from what many call the “founder” of Russian classical music.

In early 19th century Russia, Mikhail Glinka was the undisputed master composer of his time.

For a while, he lived and studied in Milan and then Vienna, but he realized that his purpose in life was to return to Russia, write music in a Russian style and, therefore, establish a Russian musical tradition.

He returned to his native land and did just that.

Among his wide output of musical works, the overture to his opera Ruslan and Ludmilla is an orchestral favorite throughout the world.

The opera is a setting of a fantasy poem by Alexander Pushkin that is based on a wide variety of traditional Russian fairy tales.

Glinka’s compositions inspired future composers to carry on his tradition and further establish a Russian musical style.

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