Brusov and Music

Brusov museum provides a unique opportunity for literature and music lovers to appreciate Silver Age epoch renowned composers’ songs and romances - original lyrics, or translations, by Valery Brusov, with dedicatory inscriptions. 

The portrait of Valery Brusov by Mikhail Vrubel, a renowned Russian painter (1856-1910) (1906) by Mikhail VrubelBrusov Museum

Brusov museum shares Brusov Science Center Golden Fund online. Our unique collection was presented to Brusov University by Nadezhda Brusova and Eugenia Brusova, Brusov’s sisters and renowned musicians, in 1962.
Our archival collection, dedicatory inscriptions and other music-related materials are rare and quite valuable, they are the adornment of Brusov Science Center Library. The compositions were published by XX century major and reputable publishers of classical sheet music in Russia and Europe – P.Jurgenson, A.Gutheil, A.Zeyvang, Russian Music Publishing House, Music Sector State Publisher, Triton-Leningrad, Kyev Music Publishing House, Julius Heinrich Zimmermann, etc.

The Snowflakes (1907) by Alexander Gretchaninov and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Alexander Gretchaninov
Ten Children Songs

Alexander Gretchaninov (1864-1956) – a Russian composer, the Mighty Handful follower, who composed operas, as well as children operas, chamber music, symphonies, a vocal cycle Les Fleurs du Mal.

The Snowflakes (1907) by Alexander Gretchaninov and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

The composer wrote well-known romances and songs, inspired by Russian symbolists.
Ten children songs, for voice and piano, are eponymous to Brusov's verse Снежинки (The Snowflakes), written by Johanna Brusova, Valery Brusov's spouse. Valery Brusov added fifth and sixth lines and included the verse in his poetry collection В стенах (Behind the Walls) published in the collection of verses Tertia Vigilia (1898-1901). To note, Brusov showed the verse to his wife only after the collection's publication.

The Vocal Scenes (1900) by Vladimir Rebikov and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Vladimir Rebikov
The Vocal Scenes

Vladimir Rebikov (1866-1920) – a Russian composer and pianist. Rebikov was innovative in the rhythm recital genre. He composed operas, piano miniatures, as well as children songs and choruses, which are considered the most remarkable of all his works.
Rebikov's The Vocal Scenes, for voice and piano, were inspired by Brusov's three verses, in particular, Ни красок, ни лучей (Neither Colors or Rays), А если она возвратится (What if She's Back), Тень (A Shadow).

Useless Love Poetry Collection. Two verses (1900) by Mikhail Ivanov-Boretsky and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Mikhail Ivanov-Boretsky
Valery Brusov`s Two Verses

Mikhail Ivanov-Boretsky (1874-1936) – a Russian music historian and composer, who was music instructor at the Moscow Conservatory and Gnessin Musical College. In 1929 he published Music History Textbook. He composed two operas, romances and biography essays. In 1908 he composed two romances, for voice and piano, on Brusov’s verses, included in his poetic cycle Ненужная любовь (Unnecessary Love), collection of verses Me eume Esse: И снова дрожат они, грезы бессильные… (July 5, 1896) and В лабиринте аллей… (August 26, 1896).

Romances (1910) by Sergey Vasilenko, Valery Brusov, and Alexander BlokBrusov Museum

Sergey Vasilenko

Sergei Vasilenko (1872-1956) – a Russian composer, conductor and music instructor, the author of six operas, seven ballets, orchestral and choral works, concertos, etc. In 1910s he composed romances on lyrics by Blok, Balmont, Lokhvitskaya and Brusov. In this collection are included, among other romances, Brusov’s В склепе, (In a Tomb), for voice and piano. The verse was published in Brusov’s poetry collection Из ада изведенные (Those Rescued from Hell), collection of verses Stephanos, in 1905.

The Six Verses (1916) by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Six Verses

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) – a prominent Russian composer, pianist and conductor. He is considered to be one of the most remarkable composers of XX century. Rachmaninoff is the author of five works for piano and orchestra, three symphonies and other orchestral works, works for piano solo, a cappella choral works, three one-act operas, chamber music, songs, etc. In 1916 he composed a vocal cycle The Six Verses on Russian symbolists' lyrics, for piano and orchestra, where Brusov’s Крысолов (Pied Piper) is included. It was published on December 18, 1904, in his poetic cycle Повседневность (Everyday Life), collection of verses Stephanos.

Where are You? (1919) by Alexander Krein, Hayim Nahman Bialik, and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Alexander Krein
Where are You?

Alexander Krein (1883-1951) – a Russian composer of Jewish origin. He composed, in part, Salome symphonic poem, symphonic fragments for Blok's The Rose and the Cross drama. Laurencia ballet and music for Lope de Vega’s The Dancing Master play is increasingly popular. In 1919 he composed a romance Ou es Tu? (Where are You? - fr.), for voice and piano, on a verse by Hayim Nahman Bialik, a Jewish poet, translated into Russian by Brusov.

The Armenian Serenade (1933) by Sergey Vasilenko, Naghash Hovnatan, and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Sergey Vasilenko
The Armenian Serenade

A Love Song was written by Naghash Hovnatan (1661—1722) – a renowned Armenian poet of XVII century. The peculiarity of his poetry is domination of love, and not religious motives. He praises spring, strive for life, woman beauty, in particular, in his verse Ты мне сказала: настала весна... (You Said It’s Springtime). Brusov’s translation of the verse is entitled Армянская серенада (The Armenian Serenade) and included in the anthology The Poetry of Armenia. The Armenian Serenade inspired Sergey Vasilenko to create a lyric romance.

The Five Songs (1924) by Alexander Olenin and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Alexanser Olenin
The Five Songs

Alexander Olenin (1861-1944) – a Russian composer, the author of two operas, symphonic poems, instrumental and piano works, romances and songs. A romance Небо над городом плачет... is on Paul Verlain's verses (translated by Brusov), for voice and piano.

At the Seaside. The Six Landscapes (1924/1929) by Anatoly Butskoy, Valery Brusov, and Z. JohansonBrusov Museum

Anatoly Butskoy
At the Seaside. The Six Landscapes
(for voice and piano)

Anatoly Butskoy (1892-1965) – a Ukrainian music historian and composer, who was one of the establishers of Kiev Musical and Drama Institute, in 1918, and its Director, in 1920-1924. He was Professor at Leningrad Conservatory, and dean at the Instructor Pedagogical Department. Butskoy created a vocal cycle entitled У моря. Шесть пейзажей (At the seaside. The Six Landscapes), verses by Brusov. To note, only two romances were published, with translation into German by Johansson: Волны взбегают и пенятся... and Звезда затеплилась стыдливо....

The Seven Lyric Verses («Being Alone») (1924) by Dmitry Melkikh and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Dmitry Melkikh
The Seven Lyric Verses

Dmitry Melkikh (1885-1943) – a Russian composer, who also authored articles on music’s theory under an alias Yu. Iglintsev. He composed an opera, symphonic works, string quartets, etc. Melkikh is also the author of Семь лирических стихотворений (The Seven Lyric Verses) for voice and piano, where Brusov's Быть без людей (Being Alone) is included. The verse was published in May-July 1907.

The Fiery Angel (1919/1927) by Sergey Prokofiev and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Sergey Prokofiev
The Fiery Angel

Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953) - a prominent Russian composer, pianist and conductor, who created his own innovative style. He is considered to be one of the most renowned composers of XX century. Prokofiev’s cultural heritage includes eleven operas, seven ballets, seven sympohines, seven concerts for solo instrument and orchestra, nine piano sonatas, oratories and cantatas, chamber vocal and instrumental works, and music for cinema and theater, etc. Over 130 Prokofiev's opuses are included in the treasury of world music culture. He is Stalin six Prizes winner, Lenin Prize winner, and People's Artist of RSFSR.
The Fiery Angel was inspired by Brusov's correspondent novel, regarded as a work in which the writer displayed his knowledge of the occult and the esoteric. The Fiery Angel is Brusov’s first novel, published in Весы (the Scale) magazine in 1907.
Prokofyev started his work in 1920 and finished orchestration in 1927. He also wrote a libretto, which was translated into German, French and English. Maestro, who died on March 5, 1953, never got to hear his creation.

A Lullaby (1930) by Lev Steinberg and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Lev Steinberg

Lev Steinberg (1870-1945) – a Russian conductor, composer, music instructor, who participated in Ballets Russes in Paris, on Sergey Diaghilev's invitation. Steinberg was the conductor of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, the head of the Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra. He composed the opera Nine Days that Shook the World, the ballet Piece, and symphonic works and cantatas. Steinberg composed Колискова (A Lullaby - ukr.) on Brusov’s verse included in the poetic cycle Маленькие дети (The Small Children), collection of verses Последние мечты (The Last Dreams), 1919.

Romances (1911) by Alexander Yurasovsky, Paul Verlaine, and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Alexander Yurasovsky

Alexander Yurasovsky (1890-1922) – a Russian composer and conductor, the author of an opera, four ballets, four symphonies, piano concerto, a heroic poem in Lenin’s memory, etc. He composed romances on Russian poets’ lyrics, in particular, Nekrasov, as well as European poets - Paul Verlain’s Сон (A Dream) translated by Brusov.

Romances and Songs by Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Christian Sinding
(Lyrics by Norwegian poets
Translated into Russian by Valery Brusov)

Christian Sinding (1856-1941) – a Norwegian composer, best known for his symphonic, instrumental and vocal works popular in Russia in late XIX-early XX centuries, due to growing interest in Scandinavian art, in particular, in Ibsen’s dramas and Grieg’s music. Romances on lyrics by Norwegian poets Ewald, Brandes, Mortenson and Hetsch translated into Russian by Brusov are included in this collection.

Romances (1912) by Reinhold Glière, Paul Verlaine, and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Reinhold Glière

Paul Verlain
La Lune Blanche Luit dans les Bois
(Translated into Russian by Valery Brusov)

Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) – a Russian composer of German and Polish descent, conductor, music instructor, and public activist. Glière was People's Artist of the USSR, Stalin three Prizes winner, and the author of St. Petersburg’s hymn. He composed operas, ballets, three symphonies and symphonic poems, concertos, music for movies, etc.
Glière also composed romances, in particular, on Paul Verlain’s La Lune Blanche Luit dans les Bois (The White Moonlight in the Woods). The verse was translated by Brusov, who expressed the salience of original melodic and rhythmic pattern.

A Girl (1899) by Yelizaveta Kashperova and Valery BrusovBrusov Museum

Yelizaveta Kashperova
A Girl

Romance A Girl was composed by a Russian composer, pianist and music instructor Yelizaveta Kashperova (1871-1936) on Brusov’s verse. The verse was written on November 6, 1899 and included in the poetic cycle Книжка для детей (A Book for Children), collection of verses Tertia Vigilia (1898-1901).

Credits: Story

Cultural fusion is typical for late XIX-early XX century - the epoch of «new culture», based on synthesis and syncretism. Music, poetry, art went hand in hand, to brighten up the world of fiction with vivid colors.

Being a stickler for the new, Brusov experimented the idea of arts` interpenetration. According to a renowned musician Nadezhda Brusova, Brusov''s sister, Valery Brusov sometimes tried to compose music for his poems, he devoted short stories to musicians, and wrote a libretto for «A Red Lighthouse» opera (music by Anatoly Kankarovitch). He was friendly with а prominent composer Alexander Skryabin, devoted verses to а renowned composer Alexander Glazunov. In 1915-1916 Brusov created two poetical symphonies.
The euphony of his poetry inspired famous composers to create music for his verses, translations, and even a novel.
In XXI century music composed by Silver Age epoch musicians inspired by Valery Brusov is still urgent and sought after. Their romances can be found on youtube, performed at the concerts.
Today, The Fiery Angel opera adorns the repertoire of the best opera houses - in Munich, Zurich, Glasgow, Milan, London, St. Petersburg, etc.
This comes to confirm that the arts influence each other, challenge each other to dig a bit deeper, to penetrate the crux. Music adds some spice to literature, while literature «voices» vague sensation that music arouses.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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