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Sources returnpage


Category: Musician or composer

Mikhail Mikhailovich Ippolitov-Ivanov (Russian: Михаи́л Миха́йлович Ипполи́тов-Ива́нов) (November 1859 – January 1935) was a Russian composer, conductor and teacher. Ippolitov-Ivanov's works include operas, orchestral music, chamber music and a large number of songs. He is hardly known at all in the West and even in Russia, his music is not heard much today. But it is beautiful, evocative and musical with a style similar to that of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov. Perhaps his best known piece is his orchestral suite Caucasian Sketches (Kavkazskiye Eskizi, 1894), which includes the much-excerpted "Procession of the Sardar".
As well as his entirely original works, Ippolitov-Ivanov completed Modest Mussorgsky's opera The Marriage.

Ippolitov-Ivanov was born in 1859 at Gatchina, near St. Petersburg, where his father was a mechanic employed at the palace. His birth name was Mikhail Mikhailovich Ivanov; later he added Ippolitov, his mother's maiden name, to distinguish himself from a music critic with a similar surname. He studied music at home and was a choirboy at the cathedral of St. Isaac, where he also had musical instruction, before entering the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875. In 1882 he completed his studies as a composition pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov.

Ippolitov-Ivanov's first appointment was to the position of director of the music academy and conductor of the orchestra in Tbilisi (Tiflis), the principal city of Georgia, where he was to spend the next seven years. This period allowed him to develop an interest in the music of the region.

In 1893 Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, of which he was director from 1905 until 1924. He served as conductor for the Russian Choral Society, the Mamontov and Zimin Opera companies and, after 1925, the Bolshoi Theatre, and was known as a contributor to broadcasting and to musical journalism.

Politically Ippolitov-Ivanov retained a measure of independence. He was president of the Society of Writers and Composers in 1922, but took no part in the quarrels between musicians concerned either to encourage new developments in music or to foster a form of proletarian art. His own style had been formed in the 1880s under Rimsky-Korsakov, and to this he added a similar interest in folk-music, particularly the music of Georgia, where he returned in 1924 to spend a year reorganizing the Conservatory in Tbilisi. He died in Moscow in 1935.

 I have no idea where he gained his inspiration other than the fact he believed in the spiritual world and loved and listened to music. But then that is enough.


The main compositions by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov are

  • Caucasian Sketches

    • Suite No. 1, Op. 10 (1894)

    • Suite No. 2, Op. 42 (Iveria) (1896)

  • Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 46 (1908)

  • Yar-khmel (Spring Overture), Op. 1 (1882)

  • Violin Sonata, Op. 8 (published by D. Rahter of Leipzig, 1887, Score from Sibley Music Library Digital Scores Collection)

  • Quartet for piano and strings, Op. 9

  • String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 13 (published 1890 or so)

  • Ballade Romantique for violin and piano, Op. 20 (published by Universal Edition in 1928)

  • Symphonic Scherzo, Op. 2

  • Three Musical Tableaux from Ossian, Op. 56

    • Lake Lyano

    • Kolyma's Lament

    • Ossian's Monologue on Contemporary Heroes

  • Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 37

  • Vespers, Op. 43

  • Jubilee March, Op. 67

  • Armenian Rhapsody on National Themes, Op. 48

  • Turkish Fragments, Op. 62 (1930)

  • Turkish March, Op. 55 (1932)

  • An Episode from the Life of Schubert, Op. 61 (1920)



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