Reinhold Glière

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Glière, Reinhold Moritzovich

 

Born Dec. 30, 1874 (Jan. 11, 1875), in Kiev; died June 23, 1956, in Moscow. Soviet composer, conductor, teacher, and public figure. People’s Artist of the USSR (1938). Doctor of the arts (1941).

Glière graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1900, after studying composition under M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov, harmony under A. S. Arenskii and G. E. Konius, and polyphony under S. I. Taneev. He taught theory at the Gnesin School of Music in Moscow, where his pupils included N. Ia. Miaskovskii and S. S. Prokofiev. From 1913 he was professor of composition (from 1914, director) at the Kiev Conservatory, where his pupils included B. N. Liatoshinskii and L. N. Revutskii. From 1920 to 1941 he was professor of composition at the Moscow Conservatory, where his pupils included An. N. Aleksandrov, A. A. Davidenko, and L. K. Knipper.

Glière continued the realistic tradition of composers of Russian music classics—primarily, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and the Russian Five. A broad and expressive melodious quality, balanced form, elegant harmony, and diverse genres are characteristic of his music, which is distinguished by its balanced emotion and the predominance of bright and lyrical or epic narrative images. Glière often used authentic folk songs and dances. He was the composer of the first ballet based on a theme from contemporary life that became part of Soviet repertoire (The Red Poppy, produced in 1927 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow; 2nd version, 1949, at the S. M. Kirov Theater of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad; known as The Red Flower since 1957). Among his other ballets The Bronze Horseman (produced in 1949 at the S. M. Kirov Theater of Opera and Ballet), which was based on Pushkin’s poem, enjoys popularity.

Glière composed five operas, some of which contributed to the establishment of national music cultures in Azerbaijan (Shah-Senem, produced in 1927 in Baku). Other operas by him promoted the establishment of Uzbek national music (Leili and Mejnun, written with T. Sadykov and produced in 1940 at the Uzbek Theater of Opera and Ballet in Tashkent, and Giul’sara, also written with T. Sadykov and produced at the Uzbek Theater of Opera and Ballet in 1949). Glière wrote a number of orchestral works, including three symphonies—1900, 1907, and 1911—and several program symphonies, including The Zaporozhian Cossacks (1921), which was based on I. E. Repin’s painting. He also composed concerti for harp (1938), voice (1943), cello (1947), and French horn (1951), as well as many chamber instrumental and vocal cycles and separate pieces. From 1938 to 1948, Glière was chairman of the Organizational Committee of the Union of Soviet Composers of the USSR. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1946, 1948, and 1950), three Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.

REFERENCES

Belza, I. F. R. M. Glier. Moscow, 1962.
Petrova, N. E. R. M. Glier, 1875-1956: Kratkii ocherk zhizni i tvorchestva. Leningrad, 1962.
R. M. Glier. Stat’i, Vospominaniia, Materialy, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.

G. M. TSYPIN