Anatoly Lyadov (Composer)|
Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov or Liadov (Russian: Àíàòîëèé Êîíñòàíòèíîâè÷ Ëÿäîâ), (May 11 (old style April 29) 1855 St Petersburg - August 28 (old style August 15) 1914, Polynovka, Borovichevsky uezd, Novgorod district) was a Russian composer, teacher and conductor.
Lyadov was born in St. Petersburg into a family of eminent Russian musicians. He was taught informally by his conductor father from 1860 to 1868, and then in 1870 entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study piano and violin. He soon gave up instrumental study to concentrate on counterpoint and fugue, although he remained a fine pianist. His natural musical talent was highly thought of by, among others, Modest Mussorgsky, and during the 1870s he became associated with the group of composers known as The Mighty Handful. He entered the composition classes of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, but was expelled for absenteeism in 1876. In 1878 he was readmitted to these classes to help him complete his graduation composition.
He taught at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1878, his pupils including Sergei Prokofiev, Nikolai Myaskovsky, Mikhail Gnesin, Lazare Saminsky and Boris Asafiev. Consistent with his character, he was a variable, but at times brilliant instructor. Conductor Nikolai Malko, who studied harmony with him at the conservatory, wrote, "Lyadov's critical comments were always precise, clear, understandable, constructive, and brief.... And it was done indolently, without haste, sometimes seemingly disdainfully. He could suddenly stop in midword, take out a small scissors from his pocket and start doing something with his fingernail, while we all waited."
Stravinsky remarked that Lyadov was as strict with himself as he was with his pupils, writing with great precision and demanding fine attention to details. Prokofiev recalled that even the most innocent musical innovations drove the conservative Lyadov crazy. "Shoving his hands in his pockets and rocking in his soft woolen shoes without heels, he would say, 'I don't understand why you are studying with me. Go to Richard Strauss. go to Debussy.' This was said in a tone that meant 'Go to the devil!'" Still, Lyadov told his acquaintances about Prokofiev. "I am obliged to teach him. He must form his technique, his style—first in piano music." In 1905 he resigned briefly over the dismissal of Rimsky-Korsakov only to return when Rimsky-Korsakov was reinstated.