David Brown Mikhail GlinkaDavid Brown
Mikhail Glinka. A Biographical and Critical Study

Oxford University Press, 1974



This is one of the few (or maybe the only) biography on Russian composer Mikahil Glinka published in English and this is the reason why I will spend some words about it. David Brown’s Glinka is far to be perfect or to put the last word on the “father of Russian music”, but remains a remarkable effort to clarify the personality and the music of this famous but still unknown composer.

The author analyses the majority of Glinka’s composition with considerable examples from the scores and dedicates many chapters to his major works, the two operas A life for the Tsar (also known as Ivan Susanin) and Ruslan and Ludmila. He is particularly interested in the relationship between Glinka and the folkloristic background of his music and gives about it many important hints. This is maybe the most valuable aspect of this work. The references to Glinka’s private life, on the other hand, are not very comprehensive and some points remain obscure, but the biographer is not very much to blame, considering the lack of sources about this particular subject, even if Glinka himself started to write his own biography.