Composer. He and Mikhail Glinka were the founders of Nationalism in Russian music. In his operas "Rusalka" (1856) and "The Stone Guest" (1872), Dargomyzhsky replaced traditional arias and ensembles with what he called "melodic recitative", a pioneering attempt at setting Russian speech in a dramatic yet natural manner. This had a great influence on the "Mighty Five" composers, especially Mussorgsky. Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky was born in St. Petersburg. He studied music on his own with the help of Glinka, who loaned him exercise books from Europe, and his first opera, "Esmeralda" (1839), could have been written for the Paris stage. It was through his art songs, of which he wrote over 100, that his style began to take on nationalistic traits. They include "Being Sixteen", "Don't Call Her an Angel", and "Sincere Confession". He also composed the orchestral pieces "Baba-Yaga" (1862), "Cossack Dance" (1864), and "Fantasia on Finnish Themes" (c. 1865). For most of his life Dargomyzhsky was considered a dilettante and his reputation was confined to the salons of St. Petersburg. He worked on "The Stone Guest" (an adaptation of Pushkin's play) for over a decade and left it unfinished when he died. It was completed by Cesar Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov. Today it is regarded as his masterpiece.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards