String Quartet No.2 (On Kabardinian Themes), by Sergei Prokofiev

The String Quartet No. 2 was composed in about five weeks in the autumn of 1942 in the little town of Nalchik, in the Kabardino-Balkaria Autonomous Republic, located in the foothills of the northern Caucasus mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. During the summer of 1942, following the demise of the non-aggression pact between Hitler and Stalin, as the German Army was overrunning Russia, the Soviet government evacuated a group of its then favored musicians, actors, artists and professors from Moscow to the safety of this little known region.

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Islamey: an Oriental Fantasy by Mily A. Balakirev

Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev - Милий Алексеевич Балакирев (January 2, 1837 – May 29, 1910)

Islamey: an Oriental Fantasy is a fantasy for piano by Russian composer Mily Balakirev, written in September 1869.

Balakirev, a committed nationalist whose music was influenced by Russian traditions, was inspired to write the piece after a trip to the Caucasus, as he relates in a letter:

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A Circassian Chief, Painting of Sir William Allan

A Circassian Chief
Oil on canvas 76.8 x 64.1 cm
Signed and dated at lower right: Willm. Allan Pinx. 1843

Sir William Allan began his career as an apprentice to a carriage painter though he was soon accepted to the Royal Academy of Edinburgh. There he befriended David Wilkie and the engraver John Burnet; all would become important artistic figures.

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