Alexander Serov (1821-71) is a name unfamiliar to all but the most dedicated Russian classical music officianados. Apart from the ‘Mighty Handful’ – Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov from St Petersburg, and Tchaikovsky in Moscow, several composers can lay claim to inheriting Russian romantic tradition as established by Glinka. Composers such as Dargomisky, L’vov and Serov in particular.
Serov, like Rimsky (Navy), and Borodin (Chemist) did not start out to be a composer . He was a civil servant, and studied music via lessons he received from Josef Hunke via the post! His opera Judith was an instant success, counting the young Tchaikovsky among its fans. His second opera Rogneda gained the composer a royal pension. Sadly his creative powers degenerated after these two works, and a string of tantalising but unfinished projects followed. He died aged 51 of heart failure.
His two complete operas exerted their influence over Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Anton Rubinstein and the young Glazunov.
His music shows his appreciation of Wagner’s leitmotifs (though he lacked the experience to use such a technique effectively), and the form of operas by Verdi and Meyerbeer.
- Recorded in 1991: this remains the only recording available of this unusual repertoire.
- An important work in the development of Russian opera written in the 1860-ties in a true romantic dramatic style foreboding the operas of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.
- All Russian cast supported by the great Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra.
- A veritable find for opera lovers and connoiseurs.