Serov, Aleksandr Nikolayevich
- Edward Garden
- and Stuart Campbell
(b St Petersburg, 11/Jan 23, 1820; d St Petersburg, 20 Jan/Feb 1, 1871). Russian composer and critic. Although he never occupied any official position, never taught, and belonged to no organized group or faction, Serov was one of the most significant and, except for Anton Rubinstein, the most influential Russian musician of the 1860s. His critical writings are unrivalled in his country’s literature for breadth and weight. Many of his essays have been reprinted numerous times and have continued to exert a strong authority. His operas were the outstanding contributions to the Russian musical stage between Dargomïzhsky’s Rusalka and the early works of Tchaikovsky and The Five. They have not survived in the repertory.
Serov’s mother was of German-Jewish origin, his father a distinguished civil servant. He was educated at the School of Jurisprudence, where music was encouraged. There he became friendly with fellow student Vladimir Stasov, four years his junior, with whom he later quarrelled irrevocably. He left the school in ...