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Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov

Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov

born on 13/1/1866 in Woiny, Oblast Orjol, Russian Federation

died on 11/1/1901 in Jalta, Crimea, Ukraine

Vasily Kalinnikov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov (Russian: ; January 13 [O.S. January 1] 1866. Oryol GovernorateJanuary 11, 1901 [O.S. December 29, 1900], Yalta) was a Russian composer of two symphonies, several additional orchestral works and numerous songs, all of them imbued with characteristics of folksong. His symphonies, particularly the First, were frequently performed in the early 20th century.

His younger brother Viktor Kalinnikov (1870-1927) was also a composer, mainly of choral music.


Kalinnikov was a policeman's son. He studied at the seminary at Oryol, becoming director of the choir there at fourteen. Later he went to the Moscow Conservatory but could not afford the tuition fees. On a scholarship he went to the Moscow Philharmonic Society School, where he received bassoon and composition lessons from Alexander Ilyinsky. He played bassoon, timpani and violin in theater orchestras and supplemented his income working as a music copyist.

In 1892, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky recommended Kalinnikov to be the director of the Maly Theater, and later that same year to the Moscow Italian Theater. However, due to his worsening tuberculosis, Kalinnikov had to resign from his theater appointments and move to the warmer southern clime of the Crimea. He lived at Yalta for the rest of his life, and it was there that he wrote the main part of his music, including his two symphonies and the incidental music for Alexey Tolstoy's Tsar Boris. Exhausted, he died of tuberculosis on January 11, 1901, just before his 35th birthday.

Thanks to Sergei Rachmaninoff's help, Tchaikovsky's publisher P. Jurgenson bought three Kalinnikov songs for 120 rubles, and later the Symphony No. 2 in A major. The Symphony No. 1 in G minor, which uses some cyclic principles, was performed in Berlin, Vienna and Moscow during his lifetime, but not published until after his death, so Jurgenson increased the fees he would have paid Kalinnikov, and paid them to his widow. He was also survived by a brother, Viktor, who composed choral music and taught at the Philharmonic School.

His reputation was established with his First Symphony, written between 1894 and 1895, which had great success when Vinogradsky conducted it at a Russian Musical Society concert in Kiev. Further performances swiftly followed, in Moscow, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris (Spencer 2001). Its themes are characteristic of Russian music.

In Russia his First Symphony remains in the repertory, and his place in musical history there is secure (Spencer 2001). On November 7, 1943, Arturo Toscanini conducted the NBC Symphony Orchestra in a rare broadcast performance of the First Symphony; although the performance was recorded, it was never commercially released by RCA Victor, but has recently appeared on Relief CR 1886 (anon. [n.d.]b, 15) and on CD Testament SBT21404 (Anon. [n.d.]c).


  • In 1812 ( 1812 ) (1899-1900); incomplete
  • Fugue in D minor (1889)
  • Nymphs (), Symphonic Picture after Ivan Turgenev (1889)
  • Serenade () in G minor for string orchestra (1891)
  • Suite () in B Minor (1891-1892)
  • Bylina (: ), Epic Poem (Overture) (c. 1892)
  • Overture in D minor (1894)
  • Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1894-1895)
  • Symphony No. 2 in A major (1895-1897)
  • Intermezzo No. 1 ( 1) in F minor (1896)
  • Intermezzo No. 2 ( 2) in G major (1897)
  • The Cedar and the Palm ( ; Le Cèdre et le palmier), Symphonic Picture after Heinrich Heine (1897-1898)
  • Tsar Boris ( ), Incidental Music to the tragedy by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1898)
  • Moderato in E minor
  • Polonaise on a Theme from Symphony No. 1 ( 1) in B major for piano 4-hands
  • Scherzo in F major (1888-1889)
  • Chanson triste ( ) in G minor (1892-1893)
  • Nocturne () in F minor (1892-1893)
  • Élégie () in B minor (1894)
  • Minuet () in E major (1894)
  • Russian Intermezzo ( ) in F minor (1894)
  • Waltz () in A major (1894)

  • Come to Me ( ) for soprano, alto, baritone and piano; words by Aleksey Koltsov
  • I Am Yours, My Darling ( , ) for voice and piano; words by Heinrich Heine
  • I Would Like to Make My Songs into Wonderful Flowers ( ) for voice and piano; words by Heinrich Heine
  • On the Old Burial Mound ( ) for voice and piano (1887); words by Ivan Savvich Nikitin
  • On Your Lovely Little Shoulder Dear ( ; An Liebchens schneeweisse Schulter) for voice and piano (1887); words by Heinrich Heine in translation by Vasily Pavlovich Fyodorov (1883-1942)
  • When Life Is Weighed Down with Suffering ( ) for voice and piano (1887); words by Polivanov
  • 16 Musical Letters (16 ) for voice and piano (1892-1899)
  • Bright Stars ( ) for voice and piano (1894); words by Konstantin Fofanov
  • The Gentle Stars Shone Down on Us ( ) for voice and piano (1894); words by Aleksey Pleshcheyev
  • There Was an Old King ( ) for voice and piano (1894); words by Heinrich Heine in translation by Aleksey Pleshcheyev
  • A Present for 1 January 1900 for voice and piano (1899)
  • Bells () for voice and piano (1900); words by K. R.
  • Prayer (: " ") for voice and piano (1900); words by Aleksey Pleshcheyev
  • Do Not Ask Why I Smile in Thought ( , ...) for voice and piano (1901); words by Alexander Pushkin
  • The Triumph of Lilliput for chorus and piano
  • Cherubic Hymn No. 1 ( 1) for chorus (1885)
  • Cherubic Hymn No. 2 ( 2) for chorus (1886)
  • The Mountain Tops ( ) for chorus (1887)
  • Christe Eleison for chorus (1889)
  • Lord, Our Lord for chorus (1889)
  • Ioann Damaskin ( ), Cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1890); words by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy
  • A Beautiful Girl Sits by the Sea (: ), Ballade for female chorus and orchestra (1894); words by Mikhail Lermontov


  • anon. [n.d.]a.
  • anon. [n.d.]b. "Discography".
  • anon. [n.d.]c. [Untitled].
  • anon. 2004.
  • Spencer, Jennifer. 2001. "Kalinnikov, Vasily Sergeyevich". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.

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