Belyayev Circle

The Belyayev circle (Russian: Беляевский кружок) was a society of Russian musicians who met in Saint Petersburg, Russia between 1885 and 1908, and whose members included Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Glazunov, Vladimir Stasov, Anatoly Lyadov, Alexander Ossovsky, Witold Maliszewski, Nikolai Tcherepnin, Nikolay Sokolov, Alexander Winkler among others. The circle was named after Mitrofan Belyayev, a timber merchant and amateur musician who became a music philanthropist and publisher after hearing the music of the teenage Glazunov.

The Belyayev circle believed in a national style of classical music, based on the achievements of the composer group The Five which preceded it. One important difference between composers in the Belyayev circle and their counterparts in the Five was an acceptance in the necessity of Western-styled academic training; this was an attitude passed down by Rimsky-Korsakov, who taught many of the composers in the circle at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. While these composers were more open to Western compositional practices and influences, especially through the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, they closely followed many of the compositional practices of the Five to the point of mannerism, especially in their depiction of folkloric subject matter.

The Belyayev circle came to dominate musical life in St. Petersburg. Composers who desired patronage, publication or public performance of their works through Belyayev were compelled to write in a musical style accepted by Glazunov, Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov. There was also peer pressure to compose in this style, as well as a distrust of composers who did not do so. Several composers who believed in the philosophy of the Belyayev circle became professors and heads of music conservatories in Russia, which extended the influence of the group past the physical confines of St. Petersburg and timewise well into the 20th century.

Read more about Belyayev Circle:  Belayev, Influence, Philosophy, Comparison To The Five, Folklorism, Orientalism, "fantastic" Style, Intolerance of Non-compliant Composers, Modernism, Legacy

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