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I shall send you the rst part and the vocal score when I nish it.

Please be so
kind as to return it with your comments because I feel that this work can only
be completed in consultation with those people who are closest of all to these
rareed spheres.70

Composers in Russia
Another of the tasks occupying Rubinstein during the summer months
was an article about composers in Russia. At the beginning of April Liszt had
written to him: for the few artists who have sense, intelligence, and a serious honest will, it is really their duty to take up the pen in defense of our Art
and our conviction.71 Rubinstein took up this challenge with a highly contentious article called Russische Komponisten, declaring to his mother somewhat navely (or condescendingly, depending on ones viewpoint): I have to do
something for my countrymen!72 The article appeared in the Viennese journal
Bltter fr Musik, Theater und Kunst and was greeted with howls of derision by
many Russian composers and musicians. In one of the key points of the article
Rubinstein questioned whether national art could have any signicance within
the broader context of European culture. His perception of the Russian folk
song, in particular, was bound to bring him into bitter conict with Glinka,
Dargomzhsky, Stasov, and Serov. While acknowledging the great beauty of
the Russian folk song, he continues: they are characterized by a melancholy
and plaintive coloring, and a certain monotony, and since this gloomy character is maintained for the most part even in cheerful or dance melodies, it is
understandable that an entire opera (in this spirit) would hardly be understood
abroad, where there is no nationalist interest in it.73 Although Rubinstein had
praised Glinka, describing him as the Russian composer of the greatest genius,
he reproached him for the bold and unhappy (unglcklichen) idea of writing
a national opera. A Life for the Tsar and Glinkas later opera Ruslan and Lyudmila, in his opinion, both suffered from the same deciency: monotony. He argued that national music could only exist as folk songs and dances, and therefore
national opera, strictly speaking, does not exist. For Rubinstein, the range of
human feelingslove, jealousy, vengeance, happiness, and sorrowwere common to all peoples, and therefore their expression in an opera should not have
a national coloring but a universal character:
In Vienna I happened to write about the position of music in Russia for a German newspaper. I praised Glinka to the heavens, since I had always respected him:
I compared him to Beethoven. Toward other Russian composers I was very disparaging. They were so embittered that they wanted to have the matter taken up
through the courts or the police. I believe Yelena Pavlovna helped me out. Writing
this article was an act of rank stupidity on my part, although I do not regret it,
since it is not my habit, in general, to regret the foolish things I may have happened
to do.74

64 Anton Rubinstein