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Russian Strings
May 01, 2011

Russian Strings

By Ilya Ovchinnikov

As a festival in Moscow brings together virtuoso guitarists from across Europe, the traditional Russian seven-stringed form of the instrument is enjoying a renaissance… in America.

The Song

The Song

By Isaac Babel Babel’s “The Song” comes from his Red Cavalry cycle, a volume of short stories about the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921). As in many of these pieces, Babel contrasts the narrator’s intellectual, poetic outlook with the brutalities and horrors of war.
Rothschild's Fiddle

Rothschild's Fiddle

By Anton Chekhov In this, one of Chekhov's last stories, a man nears the end of his life and finds that music is one of the few things that has ever given him comfort. And he uses it to make amends.
Music

Music

By Vladimir Nabokov In this short story, Nabokov’s protagonist, Victor, encounters his ex-wife at a concert. Despite his proclamation that he has “no ear for music,” the experience awakens profound memories and feelings in him, as the music acts a shield from the chaos of the everyday world.
The Sixth Night

The Sixth Night

By Alexander Odoyevsky This selection is taken from Russian Nights (1844), a novel by Odoyevsky that probes a great number of topics, genres, and philosophical questions. Odoyevsky was a talented music critic in his own right and a huge proponent of the works of Mikhail Glinka.
Writing About Music

Writing About Music

By José Vergara Any author who chooses to write about music faces an immense task. The most abstract of all arts, music forces the writer to put into words and descriptions – much more concrete things by comparison – its ephemeral nature. Writing about music is indeed a form of translation: it comes with its sacrifices, but it also opens up new perspectives that would otherwise remain undiscovered.

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