In his biography of Glinka, David Brown wrote: “The problem is to find any substance at all to the figure that cast such a gigantic shadow across the musical future of Russia. What is the personality behind the musical style? Indeed, is there such a thing as a Glinka style?” He concludes that there is not.
Robbie Ellis finds himself agreeing with Brown.
Although Glinka melded idioms from Russia with Western classical music for the first time and therefore became an enormous influence on the generations of Russian composers who followed, his music is a grab-bag of styles from all over with very little unifying characteristic. But that is not to disparage his skill at writing charming and affecting music.
Glinka: Overture, Russlan and Ludmilla – BBC PO/Sinaisky (Chandos CHAN9861)
Crusell: Clarinet Quartet No 1 in Eb, II Romanze – Osmo Vänskä (cl) et al (Bis CD741)
Glinka: Variations on a theme of Mozart – Susan Drake (harp) (Hyperion CDA 66038)
Glinka: Septet in Eb, I – Russian National Orchestra Soloists Ensemble (Regis RRC 1288)
Glinka: Variations on ‘Benedetta sia la madre’ – Victor Ryabchikov (pno) (BIS CD980)
Glinka: Viola Sonata in D minor, I – Maxim Ryasanov (vla), Evelyn Chang (pno) (Avie AV 2111)
Donizetti: Sinfonia, Anna Bolena – Welsh National Opera Orch/Bonynge (Decca 421 096)
Donizetti: Nel veder, from Anna Bolena – Jerry Hadley (ten), Welsh National Opera Orch/Bonynge (Decca 421 096)
Glinka: Variazioni brillanti on a theme from the opera Anna Bolena – Victor Ryabchikov (pno) (BIS CD980)
Glinka: Variations on two themes from the ballet Chao-Kang – Victor Ryabchikov (pno) (BIS CD980)
Glinka: Symphony on Two Russian Themes – BBC Phil/Sinaisky (Chandos CHAN9861)
Glinka: A Life for the Tsar (4 excerpts) – Sofia National Opera Chorus, Sofia Festival Orch/Tchakarov (Sony S3K 46487)
Glinka: Cherubic Song – Moscow Choral Academy/Popov (Saison Russe RUS 288 095)
Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla (3 excerpts) – Bolshoi Theatre Orch/Vedernikov (Pentatone PTC 5186 034)
Glinka: Spanish Overture No 2 – BBC Phil / Sinaisky (Chandos CHAN9861)
Glinka: Kamarinskaya – Musica Viva/Rudin (Fuga Libera FUG 571)
Glinka: Farewell to St Petersburg – Sergei Leiferkus (bbar), Semion Skigin (pno) (Conifer 75605-5)
Glinka: I Still Remember – Lina Mkrtchyan (contralto), Evgeny Talisman (pno) (Opus 111 OPS 30-227)