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some other writer. It should be borne in mind that this subject has been my property for some time.


Some time later he evidently asked Mikhail Mikhaylov, who had furnished him
with the libretto of Fomka the Fool, to prepare a text for Stepan Razin. During
the 1850s Mikhaylov had acquired a reputation as a genre writer. He had graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1848 and then accepted a government post in Nizhny Novgorod, where he translated Goethes Faust into Russian.
One of his own best-known works, the tale Adam Adamch, was published in
1851, and the following year he retired from government service and returned
to St. Petersburg, where he evidently became acquainted with Rubinstein. Rubinstein was probably well aware of Mikhaylovs radical sympathies and most
likely thought him a good candidate for a subject like Stepan Razin. Mikhaylov
prevaricated, however, and on 18/30 June an irate Rubinstein wrote to him, demanding to know whether he intended to honor his word and write the libretto.
Perhaps Mikhaylovs growing involvement in the radical movement, as well as
the politically sensitive subject of Stepan Razin, prevented any further collaboration with the writer, and even if the libretto was completed, it was never used.
By the early 1850s the circle of Rubinsteins acquaintances in St. Petersburg
had become extensive, and he was a frequent visitor at various high-society salons. Despite the extreme censorship affecting Russian society as a whole, the
salons provided a venue for intellectuals and prominent public gures to exchange views on a wide range of political, philosophical, and artistic matters.
One of the most important of these salons was organized by Grand Duchess
Yelena Pavlovna at the Mikhaylovsky Palace, and it came to play a crucial role
in attracting young energetic men who would later implement the great reforms
of Alexander IIs reign. Not surprisingly, the role played by the aristocratic salons and their patrons in shaping the cultural and political development of Russia received scant attention in Soviet scholarship, but Prince Odoyevsky was
perhaps a rare exception. His salon has been described as the visible center of
the literary-musical life of St. Petersburg in the 1830s, and the prince himself was dubbed the founder of scholarly musical studies in Russia and the
rst outstanding Russian musicologist.61 In his youth Odoyevsky and the poet
Dmitry Venevitinov had founded the Obshchestvo lyubomudriya [Society for
the Lovers of Wisdom] in Moscow. After moving to St. Petersburg, and after his
marriage to Princess Olga Lanskaya in 1826, Odoyevsky established a salon that
was frequented by the greatest literary and musical luminaries of the age: Pushkin, Zhukovsky, and Glinka, and in later years Turgenev, Tolstoy, and the young
Dostoevsky.62 Odoyevsky was a unique phenomenon in Russian culture and his
interests were vast: philosophy, literature, music, astrology, magic, alchemy, animal magnetism, and hypnotism. In the 1840s he published the unique series of
stories known as Russkiye nochi [Russian nights], and he was also active as a
serious music critic. Liszt was invited to play at his home during the formers
concert tour of Russia in 1842, Glinka had turned to him for advice during the
composition of A Life for the Tsar, and after the formation of the Conservatory,
42 Anton Rubinstein