Reinhold Glière was a survivor from the late Romantic era who kept official approval in Soviet Russia throughout his life. He was born in Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, where his father made wind instruments. Glière studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Taneyev and Arensky, and later taught there. His pupils included Khachaturian and Prokofiev, the latter when he was a precocious boy.
Glière inherited the Russian narrative tradition pioneered by Borodin, though his First Symphony (1900) sounds more like Tchaikovsky. His masterpiece is his Third Symphony (1911), retelling the story of Ilya Muromets, legendary hero of the dark ages in pre-Christian Russia. Lasting some 75 minutes, it is the ultimate late Romantic symphony, as picturesque and lurid as Russian lacquer painting, but with a sense of line and pace that never falters. It makes Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony seem comparatively modest. Glière never wrote another symphony.
On a much smaller scale, though equally sumptuous, is the orgiastic tone-poem The Sirens (1908), whose iridescent orchestral colours leave nothing to the imagination. After the Revolution, inevitably, Glière modified the extravagance of his musical imagination. He adapted very successfully and, with The Red Poppy (1927), he created the first Soviet ballet with a suitably revolutionary theme. His other celebrated ballet is The Bronze Horseman (1949), with a scenario taken from Pushkin. He also wrote several operas based on the indigenous music of the eastern republics and, in the last two decades of his life, a series of concertos which have proved useful – for harp (1938), for coloratura soprano (1943), cello (1946) and horn (1950). He had begun a violin concerto when he died, and it was completed by Boris Lyatoshinsky.
Profile by Adrian Jack © BBC
Reinhold Moritzevich Glière (born Reinhold Ernest Glier, which was later converted for standardization purposes; Russian: Рейнгольд Морицевич Глиэр; 11 January 1875 [O.S. 30 December 1874] – 23 June 1956), was a Soviet Russian composer of German and Polish descent.
- Music from the Russian Ballethttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ztgk0.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01ztgk0.jpg2014-05-26T21:29:00.000ZDavid Nixon and BBC NOW join Charles Hazlewood to explore Russian Ballet.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01ztgkm
Music from the Russian Ballet