The music of Mikhail Glinka earned him credit for launching Russian nationalism. His most famous opera, A Life for the Tsar, celebrates the triumph and suffering of a patriotic peasant who protects the Russian tsar from a band of Poles.
But nationalism is full of paradoxes, musicologist Richard Taruskin says. The dances of A Life for the Tsar are kracoviaks and mazurkas — the music of Poland, not Russia. Taruskin, author of the new Oxford History of Western Music, talks with NPR's Fred Child.