Stasov, Vladimir (Vasilievich)

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Stasov, Vladimir (Vasilievich)

Stasov, Vladimir (Vasilievich) , famous Russian writer on music; b. St. Petersburg, Jan. 14, 1824; d. there, Oct. 23, 1906. He studied foreign languages and art, and also received instruction in music from Antoni Gerke; then continued his training with Adolf Henselt at the so-called Law School for civil servants (1836–43). From 1847 he was active as a book and music reviewer. After an Italian sojourn as secretary to Prince A.N. Demidov (1851–54), he became active at the St. Petersburg Public Library;was made personal assistant to the director in 1856 and then head of the art dept. in 1872. Stasov played a very important role in the emergence of the Russian national school, and was to the end of his days an ardent promoter of Russian music. It was Stasov who first launched the expression “Moguchaya Kuchka” (“mighty little company” in an article publ. on May 24, 1867, in a St. Petersburg newspaper); although he did not specifically name the so-called “Five” (Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov), these composers became identified with the cause championed by Stasov. When young Glazunov appeared on the scene, Stasov declared him a natural heir to the Five. His numerous writings, including biographies of Glinka, Mussorgsky, and others, have the value of authenticity. Those publ. between 1847and 1886 were reissued in book form in honor of his 70th birthday (3 vols., St. Petersburg, 1894); a fourth vol. was brought out in 1905, containing essays written between 1886 and 1904; among them, “Russian Music during the Last 25 Years” and “Art in the 19th Century” are particularly important. His collected works, including articles on art and other subjects, were publ. in Moscow in 1952. Some of his Selected Essays on Music were publ. in English (London, 1968).


V. Komarova (his niece), V.V.S. (2 vols., Leningrad, 1927); A. Lebedev and A. Solodovnikov, V. S. (Moscow, 1966); Y. Olkhovsky, V. S. and Russian National Culture (Ann Arbor, 1983).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire