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Alexander Alyabiev (1787–1851)

Alexander Alyabiev (1787-1851) was born in Tobolsk, Russia, and died in Moscow. Between these dates he lead an action-packed life which included being convicted of homicide. He is best known as a composer of song, (where his chief contribution lies in his psychological enrichment of the subject matter, his subtle treatment of the words and his gradual assimilation of the characteristic features of folk idiom into Russian art music).

He was also leading composer for the Russian stage in the first half of the 19th. century. Most of his output consists of "opera-vaudeville" - situation comedy in verse that an actor could either sing, or failing that simply recite to the music. Between 1822 and 1836 he wrote the music for some 23 of these works. Aliabiev also wrote five true operas, although none of them made it to the stage in their entirety. However, they were a great influence on Aliabiev's contemporaries, particularly Alexander Dargomyzhsky.

In contrast to his lifestyle, Alyabiev's music is gently lyrical, graceful, and built on classical lines, rather like early Schubert.

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