Verstovsky, Alexei (Nikolaievich)

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Verstovsky, Alexei (Nikolaievich)

Verstovsky, Alexei (Nikolaievich), important Russian composer; b. Seliverstovo, March 1, 1799; d. Moscow, Nov. 17, 1862. He was taken as a child to Ufa, and at the age of 17 he was sent to St. Petersburg, where he entered the Inst. of Transport Engineers. He took piano lessons with Johann Heinrich Miller, Daniel Steibelt, and John Field, studied violin with Ludwig Maurer, and studied voice with Tarquini. Verstovsky became a member of the flourishing literary and artistic milieu in St. Petersburg; among his friends was Pushkin. In 1823 he went to Moscow; in 1825 he was named inspector of its theater, then was director of all of its theaters (1842-60). Almost all of his compositions for the stage followed the French model, with long scenes of speech accompanied on the keyboard. His first effort was couplets for the vaudeville, Les perroquets de la mère Philippe (1819); he also composed popular songs and couplets for various other vaudevilles and stage pieces. He contributed a great deal to the progress of operatic art in Russia, but his music lacked distinction and inventive power. With the advent of Glinka and Dargo-myzhsky on the Russian operatic scene, Verstovsky’s productions receded into insignificance.


dramatic: Opera (all 1stperf. in Moscow) Pan Twardowski (June 5, 1828); Vadim, Hi Probuzhdeniye dvendtsati spyashchikh dev (Vadim, or The Awakening of the Twelve Sleeping Maidens; Dec. 7, 1832); Askoldova nogila (AskolcTs Grave; Sept. 27,1835); Tosko pò rodine (Longing for the Homeland; Sept. 2,1839); Churova Dolina, ili Son nayavu (Chur Valley, or The Waking Dream; Aug. 28,1841); Gromoboy (Feb. 5, 1858). OTHER: Incidental music; songs for dramas; couplets, and romances for vaudevilles; choruses; solo songs; orch. music; piano pieces.


B. Dobrohotov, A.N. V.(Moscow, 1949).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire