A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Dargomyski, Alexander
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DARGOMYSKI, Alexander Sergovitch, Russian noble and composer, born 1813 [App. p.608 "Feb. 2"] near Toula, Smolensk. He early manifested a taste for music, and at seven composed little sonatas etc. for the pianoforte. He afterwards learnt the violin, and studied harmony and counterpoint under Schoberlechner. In 1830 he appeared with great success in Petersburg as a pianist, and in 31 received an appointment in the Emperor's household, but in 35 gave it up, and devoted himself for eight years to severe study. His intimate friendship with Glinka and with the dramatic poet Kukolnik were of great service to him. In 1845 he visited Germany, Brussels, and Paris. In 1847 he produced in Moscow, with brilliant success, an opera 'Esmeralda,' libretto from Victor Hugo's 'Notre Dame de Paris,' which he had composed in 1838, and which was repeated in Petersburg. Besides 'Esmeralda,' 'Rusalka' (Petersburg 1856), and 'Kozacek,' which have kept their place on the stage, his published works consist of 60 songs with pianoforte accompaniment; variations, fantasies, etc. for pianoforte, and orchestral dance music. He died Jan. 17, 1868, while at work on an opera by Pushkin, called 'Kamenyi gost' (Don Juan), and, besides the operas named, left an immense number of orchestral works. His melodies are noble and poetical, but his composition is more distinguished for grace than force. As a pianist he was remarkable for the facility with which he accompanied at sight.
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