The story goes that it was Diaghilev and his spectacular "Les Saisons Russes" of the early twentieth century that first carved out a place for Russian music on the world’s stage. And that it was these seasons, what’s more, that left foreign audiences with an enduring image of Russian music as exotic, vibrant and as barbaric as it was innovative. But of course, this was by no means the first time that Russian music had been heard in the West.
What will be revealed in this talk is not only that Russian music had a long pre-Diaghilevian history outside of Russia, but that much of what Diaghilev achieved would not have been possible without that history. Marking the UK-Russia Year of Music, the lecturer’s focus is on Rubinstein in Britain and his mixed fortunes there in the nineteenth century, a time in which Russophobia, rising musical nationalism and the craze for foreign celebrities bred complex and often strained cultural bonds between the two countries.
About Tamsin Alexander
Dr Tamsin Alexander is a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her PhD research, under the supervision of Prof Marina Frolova-Walker at the University of Cambridge, was on the transnational spread of Russian opera in the nineteenth century. Her findings from that project have been published most recently in Musiktheorie and Cambridge Opera Journal, and presented at numerous conferences in the UK and internationally. She is now embarking on new research on how changing lighting technologies shaped musical culture in the nineteenth century.