A definitive book of Russian music has been donated to the University of Mary Washington. The work “The Beauty of Belaieff,” which includes over 100 full color plates of first editions of Russian music and individual biographies, is now available in Simpson Library.
“It will be a wonderful resource for our students and faculty to use when researching Russian music history and its composers,” said Special Collections Librarian Carolyn Parsons. “The volume is not only an excellent work on the history of Belaieff’s Russian music publishing house, but it is also a beautiful book with 144 color reproductions showcasing the works of many Russian composers of the late 19th and early 20th century.”
The book donation is the product of a friendship between UMW Piano Instructor Andrew Kraus and Gillian Davis, the widow of the book’s author Richard Beattie Davis, who was an avid collector of first and early editions of Western and Russian music, including the works of Adolph Von Henselt.
The friendship developed after Davis discovered that Kraus is one of a few pianists in the world who play Adolph Von Henselt’s music. Henselt, a German who worked in Russia in the 1800s, is known as a founder of the Russian school of pianism.
“I’m thrilled to get [this book] for UMW and to have it in the library,” said Kraus. “Not every library will have it, and it could be used as a spring board for other artistic events.”
Kraus plans to play a concert in the spring, “Henselt in Context” to commemorate the donation.