Anton Stepanovich Arensky (Russian: Анто́н Степа́нович Аре́нский; (12 July [O.S. 30 June] 1861 – 25 February [O.S. 12 February] 1906), was a Russian composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music.
Arensky was born in Novgorod, Russia. He was musically precocious and had composed a number of songs and piano pieces by the age of nine. With his mother and father, he moved to Saint Petersburg in 1879, where he studied composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
After graduating from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1882, Arensky became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Among his students there were Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Gretchaninov.
In 1895 Arensky returned to Saint Petersburg as the director of the Imperial Choir, a post for which he had been recommended by Mily Balakirev. Arensky retired from this position in 1901, spending his remaining time as a pianist, conductor, and composer.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the greatest influence on Arensky's musical compositions. Indeed, Rimsky-Korsakov said, "In his youth Arensky did not escape some influence from me; later the influence came from Tchaikovsky. He will quickly be forgotten." The perception that he lacked a distinctive personal style contributed to long-term neglect of his music, though in recent years a large number of his compositions have been recorded. Especially popular are the Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky for string orchestra, Op. 35a - arranged from the slow movement of Arensky's 2nd string quartet, and based on one of Tchaikovsky's Songs for Children, Op. 54.
- Сон на Волге (Son na Volge / Dream on the Volga), Op. 16 (1888), libretto by Anton Arensky after Alexander Ostrovsky's play Voyevoda, premiere: January 2, 1891 [OS December 21, 1890], Moscow, Bolshoy Theatre
- Рафаэль (Rafael / Raphael), Op. 37 (1894), libretto by A. Kryukov, premiere: May 6 [OS April 24], 1894, Moscow, Conservatory
- Наль и Дамаянти (Nal' i Damayanti / Nal and Damayanti), Op. 47 (1903), after Indian epos "Mahabharata", libretto by Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky after the novel by Vasily Zhukovsky, premiere: January 22, [OS January 9], 1904, Moscow, Bolshoy Theatre)
- Nuits égyptiennes (Russian: «Египетские ночи») or Une Nuit d'Egypte (1900). Divertissement-Ballet in one act. Originally composed for the Imperial Ballet, St. Petersburg. Choreography by Lev Ivanov. Production was never given due to the death of the choreographer before completion.
- revival by Mikhail Fokine for the Imperial Ballet. Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, 8 March [O.S. 24 February] 1908.
- revival by Mikhail Fokine as Cléopâtre for the Ballets Russes. Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, 2 June 1909. Additional music by Alexander Glazunov, Mikhail Glinka, Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Taneyev, and Nikolai Tcherepnin.
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Yablonsky, Dmitry (Conductor)
Courtesy of NAXOS
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- Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in F minor, Op. 2 (1881)
- Symphony No. 1 in B minor, Op. 4 (1883)
- Intermezzo in G minor, Op. 13 (1882)
- Symphony No. 2 in A major, Op. 22 (1889)
- Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a, for string orchestra (1894)
- Fantasia on Themes of Ryabinin, Op. 48, for piano and orchestra (1899), also known as Fantasia on Russian Folksongs
- Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 54 (1891)
- Pamyati Suvorova (To the Memory of Suvorov, 1900)
- String Quartet No. 1 in G major, Op. 11
- Serenade, Op. 30, No. 2, for violin and piano
- Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 32 (1894)
- String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 35 (1894), for violin, viola and two cellos
- Piano Quintet in D major, Op. 51
- Two Pieces, Op. 12, for cello and piano
- Four Pieces, Op. 56, for cello and piano
- Piano Trio No. 2 in F minor, Op. 73 (1905)
(for solo piano unless otherwise specified)
- Suite for Two Pianos No. 1 in F major, Op. 15 (1888)
- Suite for Two Pianos No. 2, Op. 23, "Silhouettes" (1892), also orchestral version
- Impromptu No. 1, Op. 25
- Suite for Two Pianos No. 3 in C major, Op. 33, "Variations" (pub. 1894), also orchestral version
- 24 Morceaux caractéristiques, Op. 36 (covering all 24 major and minor keys)
- Four Etudes, Op. 41
- Suite for Two Pianos No. 4, Op. 62 (1903)
- Twelve Preludes, Op. 63
- Twelve Pieces for Two Pianos, Op. 66
- Twelve Etudes, Op. 74
- Cantata for the Tenth Anniversary of the Sacred Coronation of Their Imperial Highnesses, Op. 25 (1893)
- The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Op. 46, cantata
- The Diver, Op. 61, cantata
- Three Vocal Quartets, Op. 57, with cello accompaniment
Arrangements of Arensky's music
- Tempo di Valse from the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in A minor, Op.54, arranged for violin and piano by Jascha Heifetz performed in this video by violinist Nate Robinson on YouTube
|Wikisource has the text of a 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Anton Arensky.|
- Biography on Dr. Estrella's Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers
- Anton Arensky's works on The Lied and Art Song Texts Page
- Anton Arensky Chamber Music discussion of works and soundbites
- Find-A-Grave profile for Anton Arensky
- Brief overview of his life and information about Opus 35
- Free scores by Anton Arensky at the International Music Score Library Project
- Free scores by Anton Arensky in the Choral Public Domain Library (ChoralWiki)