Nationalism in Music

Listen: Hear Part Three of the Series

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.

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume III i i

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume III Oxford University Press hide caption

itoggle caption Oxford University Press
Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume III

Detail from The Oxford History of Western Music, Volume III

Oxford University Press

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.

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