Alexander Egorovich Varlamov

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Alexander Egorovich Varlamov (or Aleksandr Yegorovich Varlamov; Russian: Александр Егорович Варламов; 27 November 1801 – 27 October 1848)[1] was one of the founding fathers of the Russian art song. He was the author of probably the first method of singing by a Russian author, Polnaya Shkola Penia - The Complete School of Singing (Moscow, 1840)[2]


Varlamov was born in Moscow in 1801. He was a choirboy at the court in St. Petersburg from 1811, and studied under its director, Dmitry Bortniansky. He left the court in 1818 and served as director of the Russian Ambassador's chapel choir in The Hague from 1819 to 1823. Returning to St. Petersburg later that year, he taught singing intermittently for the remainder of his life, and also was the kapellmeister for the Moscow Imperial Theater from 1832 to 1844.

Varlamov’s creativity coincided with the formation of the Russian lyrical songs. In those years the Moscow Imperial troupe became the center of development of Russian lyrical songs (Petersburg Imperial troupe has approached the Emperor and his officials, there was a lot of semi-official music). In theaters in Moscow (the Bolshoi Theatre and the Malyi Theatre) were not only performances, and concerts of songs took place. Alexander Varlamov often took part in concerts and performed his songs himself.

He died in St. Petersburg in 1848.

He is the father of Russian actor Konstantin Varlamov (ru: Константин Александрович Варламов).

He is the great-grandfather of composer Alexander Vladimirovich Varlamov.

Among Varlamov's compositions are two ballets, incidental music, piano pieces, and songs. Between 1861 and 1864 a Complete Works edition of his music was published in St. Petersburg under the title Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy. Perhaps his best known work - although it is not as well known that he wrote it - is the song The Red Sarafan. This is often assumed to be a genuine folk song. The melody was quoted by Henryk Wieniawski in his fantasy for violin and piano, Souvenir of Moscow, Op. 6.[3]


Selected songs

  • Angel
  • Do Not Wake Her At Dawn
  • Grass
  • I Will Saddle My Stallion
  • Mary
  • Melodie
  • Napominaniye (Reminder)
  • Not Long Ago, To Magic Sounds
  • O Do Not Kiss Me
  • O Do Not Leave Me
  • O molchi, milyi drug moi, molchi (O never speak of it, my love)
  • Snowstorm (song)
  • The Red Sarafan
  • The Sail


Songs of A. Varlamov are performed by modern singers:


  1. "MusicSack:Aleksandr Egorovich Varlamov". Retrieved June 22, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Baker, Theodore; Remy, Alfred (1919). A Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (3rd Edition). New York: Schirmer. P.974.
  3. Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed.


  • Don Michael Randel, The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Harvard, 1996, p. 940.

Further reading

  • Listova, Na. (1968) Aleksandr Varlamov. Ego zizn i pesennoe tvorcestvo. Moscow: Muzyka.

External links