Orthodox Sacred Music Reference Library

Glinka, Mikhail


GLINKA, Mikhail Ivanovich (b. 20 May [1 June] 1804, the village Novospasskoye, in today’s Yelninsky region of the Smolensk district; d. 3 [15] February 1857, Berlin) — founder of Russian national classical music; after the success of his opera A Life for the Tsar in 1837 was appointed personally by Emperor Nicholas I to the post of kapellmeister at the Imperial Court Chapel. Worked primarily at raising the musical education of the Chapel’s singers and recruiting of new singers. Conflicts with Director A. F. Lvov and dissatisfaction with the position of a court functionary led to his departure from this post after two years of service. After this Glinka did not work in the field of church music until the middle of the 1850s when, becoming interested in Western polyphony of the Renaissance, he went to Berlin to study counterpoint with the musical theorist Siegfried Dehn. Glinka hoped to “fuse the Western fugue with the needs of our [i.e. Russian] music” and thereby, to “lay at least a path to our church music,” by creating an original system of Russian counterpoint; however, he was not destined to fulfill this ambition. Glinka composed three sacred musical works — a freely composed Cherubic Hymn in 1837, a Great Litany for male chorus, and an arrangement for trio and chorus of the Greek Chant setting of “Da ispravitsia molitva moya” [“Let my prayer arise”]. The first is written in the style of Pales-trinian counterpoint, but uses 19th-c. harmonic language; the other two works are written in the so-called “strict style” of harmony, which employs only consonant triads.

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Da ispravitsia molitva moia

Let my prayer arise


Russian “Greek” Chant

Prokeimenon at Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts

Ps. 140[141]:2-4


PJu #3260; M. 90 P. 1878

First printed edition

Defective original




Ekteniia pervaia

The First [Great] Litany



PJu #3261 1878

First printed edition



Kheruvimskaia pesn'

Cherubic Hymn

N.O.N. [1837]

Izhe kheruvimy


PJu #3259; M. 47 P. 1878

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