Glinka can justifiably be described as the fertile acorn from which grew the mighty oak of 19th century Russian national music. The graceful Variations on a Theme by Mozart, based on material from The Magic Flute, is remodelled so skilfully that it has effectively become an original theme. Fashionable salon pieces include the Variations on Benadetta sia la madre, an Italian romance, and Variations on a Theme from Cherubini’s Faniska, an opera greatly admired by Glinka. In Milan he became famous for his ability to reproduce on the piano the nuances of the voices of the great singers of the day, giving rise to two entertaining sets of operatic variations on themes by Donizetti and Bellini. The Variations on The Nightingale represent his return to the Russian style.
The music in this video is an extract from Variations on the Russian folk-song Sredi dolinï rovnïya (‘In the Shallow Valley’).