Leipzig: M. P. Belaïeff [PN 1551], 1898.
Octavo. Original publisher's gray wrappers with titling within decorative border. 1f. (recto decorative title printed in sepia, verso blank), 1f. (recto dedication, verso blank), 1f. (recto preface, verso contents), 7-55, [i] (blank) pp. Watermark CGR*11. Text in French. Title in Russian and French to upper. Publisher's catalogue of works for voice and orchestra to recto and verso of lower wrapper.
Handstamp of English distributor J. & W. Chester to foot of title.
Wrappers somewhat worn; spine split and repaired with transparent tape. Light uniform browning; some signatures split.
First French edition. Davis, pp. 66-7.
Balakirev embarked on a journey down the Volga from Nizhny-Novgorod to Astrakhan in 1860. He was accompanied by Nikolai Novoselsky (1818-1898), who arranged the expedition, and the poet Nikolai Shcherbina (1821-1869), who collected folk texts. While not an accurate ethnomusicological study by modern standards, Balakirev's collection was part of the growing Russian nationalism of his time, and displays the type of rhythm and harmony that would influence him and his followers.
The last song in the collection ("Chant des haleurs") is one of the first recorded instances of what is now commonly known as the "Song of the Volga Boatman." See Fuld, p. 520.
"Balakirev was a crucial figure in Russian music. He extended and developed the fusion which Glinka had accomplished between on the one hand the common-practice music of his day and on the other some musical elements of Russian character and others of a boldly experimental nature. Balakirev established patterns which could be used to express overtly national feeling in music. In his own compositions he demonstrated how this could be done, laying the basis for a rich repertory spanning all the contemporary genres." Stuart Campbell in Grove Music Online.
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