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Vladimir Ivanovich Rebikov (1866 – 1920) was a late romantic 20th-century Russian composer and pianist. His best-known work is Yolka (Ёлка - The Christmas Tree), a 'fairy-tale' produced in Moscow in 1903, from which this appealing and melodious waltz is taken.


Born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia, into a family of distant Tatar ancestry, Rebikov began studying the piano with his mother. He graduated from the Moscow University faculty of philology (the structure, historical development, and relationships of languages). He studied at the Moscow Conservatory with N. Klenovsky, a pupil of Peter Tchaikovsky, and then for three years in Berlin and Vienna. Rebikov taught and played in concerts across the Russian Empire and Europe; he died in Yalta in 1920.


Early works suggest the influence of Peter Tchaikovsky. He wrote lyrical piano miniatures (suites, cycles, and albums), children's choruses and songs. His children's music is the most notable of all his works. He used new advanced harmony such as seventh and ninth chords, unresolved cadences, polytonality, and harmony based upon open fourths and fifths. He also was experimenting with novel forms, for instance, in his piano pieces, Mélomimiques Op. 10 (1898), and Rhytmodéclamations in which music and mime are combined.. His orchestral and stage works include two ballets and more than ten operas.


Rebikov declared that music is a language of emotion and therefore could not be confined to set forms, or to arbitrarily defined consonances. 


‘Rebikov was already a forgotten figure by the time of his death at age 54. He was bitter and disillusioned, convinced wrongly that composers such as Debussy, Scriabin, and Stravinsky had made their way into public prominence through stealing his ideas. Rebikov is best known by way of his insubstantial music in salon genres. Rebikov's role as an important early instigator of 20th-century techniques deserves to be more widely recognised.’ (Source: All Music/Uncle Dave Lewis)


Biography source:


A live perfomance by Boris Berezovsky demonstrates how sweet a tune this is (if a little liberal interpretation, as he misses out the last 3 bars…)


A more accurate, sensitive version is played here by Jeffrey Biegel, from his CD A Steinway Christmas Album, featuring seasonal piano music:

(The whole album may be heard here on Spotify.)




Rebikov ~ Waltz (The Christmas Tree)

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  • 4 pages (6 inc. covers).

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