August 15th marks the 225th anniversary of the birth of an outstanding musician of the early 19th century, the first Russian ballet composer and author of scenic, instrumental and vocal compositions Alexander Alyabyev.
He was born into an old noble family. Alyabyev's father gave his son good education. During the 1812-1815 campaigns (the wars against Napoleon), the future composer of the romantic Nightingale served as a hussar. In 1823 he retired as a lieutenant-colonel. By that time he had already composed the first romances "In the Evening a Pink Sunset" and "Nightingale" (Delwig's lyrics). He also composed music to vaudeville "A New Prank, or a Theatre Battle". Alyabyev's comic opera "A Moonlit Night, or House-Spirits", vaudeville "A Village Philosopher" and ballet "A Magic Drum" were staged in Moscow.
In mid-1925 Alyabyev was accused of the murder of landowner Vremev, put into prison, deprived of "awards, ranks and nobility" and exiled to Siberia. Some time later Alyabyev was pardoned, but prohibited to enter the capitals. He composed operas "Ammalat-Bek" and "Caucasian Captive" under the impression of his trip to the Caucasus. Alyabyev is the first Russian composer, who collected national tunes in the Caucasus.
In early 1938 the composer was allowed to visit Moscow. However, Alyabyev lived there continuously, and it caused a new exile. From summer 1843 the composer could live in the capital "under the control of the police". He again joined the theatrical circles. Soon Alyabyev's comedy "The Merry Wives of Windsor" (based on William Shakespeare's comedy) and drama "Mermaid" (by Alexander Pushkin) were staged at the Bolshoi Theatre. Alyabyev's romances, especially Nightingale, were highly popular. Ferenz Liszt even composed a transcription of this tune. In addition, Alyabyev composed instrumental music for symphony and brass orchestras.
The composer died in Moscow in 1851. In 1962 a street in Moscow was named after Alexander Alyabyev.