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Mikhail Vielgorsky

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Count Mikhail Vielgorsky (Polish: Michał Wielhorski, Russian: Михаил Юрьевич Виельгорский) (1788-1856) was a Russian official and composer of Polish descent. He composed romances, a symphony, and an opera and was an amateur singer, violinist, and patron of the arts.
Vielgorsky was a friend of Ludwig van Beethoven and an admirer of his music; the Russian premiere of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony took place at Vielgorsky's home in Saint Petersburg in 1836. The same year, Mikhail Glinka rehearsed parts of his new opera A Life for the Tsar at Vielgorsky's home, accompanied by the enserfed orchestra of Prince Yusupov. In the 1830s and 1840s, as Richard Stites notes in Serfdom, Society, and the Arts in Imperial Russia: The Pleasure and the Power, Vielgorsky's salon "played host to the most celebrated musical visitors to mid-century Russia: Liszt, Berlioz, the Schumanns, and Pauline Viardot among others ... Because of the attendance of Gogol, Zhukovsky, Vyazemsky, Lermontov, Odoevsky, Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, and Bryullov, a contemporary dubbed Vielgorsky's home "a lively and original multifaceted academy of the arts.' Berlioz called it 'a little ministry of fine arts.'" Vielgorsky presided over his salon with remarkable informality: in Stites' words, he "moved easily among all his guests. Returning from a formal court function, the count would doff his dazzling uniform embellished with sash and stars, don a simple coat, mingle with everyone, and charm them all. Though very close to the royal presence, he was known to comport himself equally to people of all classes."
Vielgorsky was the son of Polish szlachcic Jerzy Wielhorski and the brother of Maciej Wielhorski (Matvey Vielgorsky, 1794-1866), an amateur cellist who founded the Society of Lovers of Music with Prince Nikolai Borisovich Galitzin (also a friend of Beethoven) in 1828.
Mikhail Vielgorsky knew Maria Sergeyevna Durnovo (Griboyedova), skilled piano performer and sister of famous Russian writer Alexander Griboyedov. According to the memoirs of Maria Durnovo: "Very often, the writer came to the sister's room. In the spring of 1823, whereas famed comedy remained a secret to public and majority of friends, Mikhail Vielgorsky, stumbled on several sheets of poem, written by the hand of Alexander Griboyedov, while assembling pages of sheet music on the piano of Maria Sergeyevna. Maria wanted to hide the accidentally discovered pages, but it was too late. The news of the new comedy rapidly spread around Moscow from the mouth of the well-known at the time musician". That poem was Woe from Wit, still considered to be "golden classic" in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries.