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Odoyevsky was elected a member of the committee set up to examine works

submitted to the Russian Music Society by aspiring composers. As a music


critic, Odoyevsky had been very supportive of Glinka and Dargomzhsky, and
in 1853 he suggested to Dargomzhsky that he give a charity concert consisting
of arias from his recently performed opera Esmeralda, based on Victor Hugos
Notre Dame de Paris, and some romances and piano pieces. Little is known
about the relations between Rubinstein and Dargomzhsky in the years before
the founding of the Conservatory, but it is evident that Rubinstein had been
asked to lend his support in this concert and had been given a four-handed version of Dargomzhskys recently completed Fantaziya na motiv iz oper Ivan
Susanin [Fantasy on themes from Glinkas opera Ivan Susanin], which he was
to perform. The concert was arranged for 9/21 April, and the artists who took
part included the pianists Mikhail Santis and Mariya Kalergis; Dargomzhskys
younger sister, Erminiya (a harpist); and the singers M. V.Shilovskaya, A. A.
Latsheva, Pauline Viardot, Osip Petrov, and Pavel Bulakhov.
For reasons still unclear, Rubinstein wrote to Dargomzhsky, refusing to take
part in the concert:
I have only just discovered that Mme Kalergis will be playing in your concert next
Sunday. I assume, therefore, that you no longer have any need of me and I advise
you that in the contrary case you must not rely on me, since not for anything in the
world will I play in a concert in which Mme Kalergis plays or intends to play. I am
returning to you with a thousand thanks your beautiful Fantasy with which I was
delighted to acquaint myself and I beg you to regard me always your completely
devoted Ant. Rubinstein.63

Mariya Kalergis was the niece of Count Nesselrode, foreign minister to Nicholas
I. In 1839 she had married the Greek diplomat Johann Kalergis, but she soon
separated from him. Some years later she married Count Sergey Mukhanov,
who was appointed intendant of the imperial theaters in Warsaw in 1868 and
chairman of the Directorate of Warsaw Theaters two years later. Neil Cornwell
writes of Countess Kalergis-Mukhanova: Sometimes referred to as a gifted
pianist, sometimes as a courtesana kind of aristocratic nineteenth-century
groupieor even a spy, she is reputed to have been a pupil of Chopin, the sometime mistress of Liszt, Alfred de Musset, Gautier (who wrote Symphonie en
blanc majeur to her), and Heine.64 Whatever Rubinsteins misunderstanding
was at that time regarding Mariya Kalergis, two years later he dedicated his Piano Sonata No. 3 in F, Op. 41, to her.
Rubinstein planned to leave St. Petersburg for Western Europe in the spring
of 1854, but rst he needed to nd a new Russian publisher. He had quarreled
with Bernhard and had a mass of unpublished romances on his hands (these
must have included the six Russian songs eventually published as Op. 8 and at
least some of the Koltsov settings from Op. 27). He also needed to arrive in Berlin with a newly completed opera believing that the ones he had written so far
would not be to the taste of German audiences. He was considering Pushkins
narrative poem, Poltava, as the subject for an opera, but, disillusioned with the
Return to Russia and First Opera 43