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Welcome to Music section of our site!

Here you can learn about the main streams of Russian musical culture.

Folk music is certainly the oldest of them. The roots of Russian folk music date as far back as to the middle of the first millennium AC, when Slavic tribes settled in the European part of the present territory of Russia. Those tribes were famous for their love and mastery of music, singing and dancing. From generation to generation folk ensembles and singers try and keep up the authentic Russian music traditions alive. Folk song and dance ensembles present old country repertoire with songs often blending pagan roots and Christian symbolism, songs either sad and drawling or merry, as well as dances - dignified and graceful or rollicking and vigorous, accompanied with traditional musical instruments (balalaikas, whistles, guslis, wooden spoons, bayan, etc.) and colourful costumes. These days enjoy the 'new folk wave' bringing together old traditions, modern technologies and experimental music styles.
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Classical music

Russian national composer school acquired its individual shape rather late, only by the mid 19th century. However, once getting mature Russian music rushes into the world music arena. West European musicians and critics of the 19th century could not but appreciate most peculiar features of Russian music, such as the use of rich and fresh folk music material of Eurasian type, blending 'eastern' and 'western' elements; and absolutely new forms of symphonic development - synthetic rather than analytical, as was the convention with the West European symphony. The appearance of such figures as Skryabin, Stravinsky and Prokofiev in the early 20th century put Russian music in the avant-garde of the world music process.
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Russian opera is on a par with Italian, German and French operas in terms of their worldwide significance. This is mainly due to the range of operas created in the second half of the 19th century and certain operas of the 20th century. Among the most popular operas on the world stage of the late 20th - early 21st cc are Boris Godunov by Musorgsky, Pikovaya Dama/Queen of Spades and Eugeny Onegin by Chaikovsky, Knyaz Igor/Prince Igor by Borodin, and Zolotoi Petushok/Golden Cockerel by Rimsky-Korsakov, all dating back to the 19th century. Of the 20th century's operas stand out Ognenny Angel/Fiery Angel by Prokofiev and Lady McBeth of Mzensk district by Shostakovitch.
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Great singers of the 20th century

Sweeping various style definitions aside we would like to introduce you the most prominent singers of the 20th century who belonged to various genres. One thing uniting them is that their charismatic personalities and artistry left an influential trace in the musical history of Russia. Here you can read about life and creative work of Fyodor Shalyapin, Sergey Lemeshev, Claudia Shulzhenko, Isabella Yurieva, Leonid Utesov, Mark Bernes and other legendary singers who deserve live attention of any generation.
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Author's song

Author's song as a genre supposes that a songwriter performs one's songs alone to his/her own guitar accompaniment (or some other instrument, which is rare). Singers to guitar are also called bards. Originated as a free alternative to semi-official mainstream concert music in the Soviet Union, this genre remains non-commercial and in this regard perhaps more independent than any other. Great attention is paid to the meaning of lyrics, aspiring to convey some deep message. Read about the phenomenon of bard song in Russia and about such distinguished authors and performers as Alexander Vertinsky, Boulat Okoudjava, Vladimir Vysotsky and Alexander Bashlachev.

The author's song is a chamber genre aimed at a peculiar audience as compared to rock music attracting wide public (especially the youth) due to its versatile sound and eccentricity.
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Rock music

Rock music came to Russia from the West and for a long time remained underground and rebellious to the stale oppressive atmosphere of the Soviet Establishment. For a long time having no opportunity to use good professional instruments and up-to-date electronic equipment for recording and sound mixing, Russian rock musicians got accustomed to a peculiar minimalism in music. Guitar and unpretentious percussion 'beat' - that was practically all to comprise the acoustic palette of Russian rock, which from the very beginning tended to attach the first importance to the lyrics and the message conveyed. Rock music became a specific Russian phenomenon mainly due to poet and singer Alexander Bashlachev. A perfectly Russian author he influenced many rock musicians and played an important role for Russian rock to advert to the roots of Russian music folklore and imparted the genuine Russian spirit to it.
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