ALEKSANDR SERGEYEVICH DARGOMIZHSKY (1813 - 1869)
Aleksandr Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky began studying composition in 1833 when he met Mikhail Glinka, who is considered to be the first Russian composer accepted outside of Russia. Glinka had been abroad studying composition and, upon his return to St. Petersburg, met Dargomyzhsky and lent him a set of exercise books. Dargomyzhsky composed his first opera, Esmeralda, in 1839. It was not until 1856, however, when he composed Rusalka, that he began employing specifically Russian themes. He went on to create what is now considered his most important work, a word-by-word setting of Pushkins play The Stone Guest. First performed in 1872, this opera, scored by Rimsky-Korsakov, is an example of Dargomyzhskys characteristic skill at using the rhythms, stresses and pitches of Russian speech.
Dargomyzhsky composed several orchestral works that were noted for their experimental harmonies, including Baba Yaga and Cossack Dance. He also wrote over 100 songs, through which he has come to be known as a pioneer and developer of Russian National music.