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1820 - 1881

link to biography of Henri Vieuxtemps


1787 - 1851

link to biography of Alexander Alyabyev

Fantaisie sur 'le Rossignol' d'Alabeyev
arranged by Mark Starr for violin solo and string orchestra
from Vieuxtemps' original for violin and piano

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


Alexander Alabieff (today usually transliterated in English as Alyabyev) is not a name that often comes to mind when we in the West discuss Russian composers. But one romance by Alabieff is known to virtually every Russian -- at least, by ear.  No song has ever captured the spirit of the Russian soul so memorably as Alabieff's "The Nightingale."

Soon after it was published in the 1840s, Mikhail Glinka arranged it for voice and orchestra -- and in this form, it quickly swept Russia. Soon everyone sang "The Nightingale." Slowly, it made its way to the West. Franz Liszt published a virtuoso paraphrase for piano on the song. Later, he made a simpler version for everyday pianists to play (and sing) at home. Brahms also arranged it for piano in a suite entitled "Souvenirs of Russia," published under a pseudonym, G. W. Marx. 

Of all the many versions of Le Rossignol, perhaps the most poignant and successful is the magical version by the Belgian violinist/composer Henri Vieuxtemps.  Vieuxtemps first heard the song while on tour in Russia in the 1850s. He wrote his Fantaisie for violin and piano in Russia, and brought it back to Belgium -- where it enjoyed great success on Vieuxtemps recitals.

Mark Starr has arranged Vieuxtemps piano accompaniment for string orchestra -- enabling the piece to be performed by violinists who appear as soloist with string orchestras or chamber orchestras.

The full score of this arrangement is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website www.sibeliusmusic.com at the following link:


In addition, a reduction of this arrangement for violin and piano is also available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website www.sibeliusmusic.com at the following link:


The piano/violin reduction is somewhat different than Vieuxtemps' original for violin and piano -- in that the harmonies in the accompaniment are somewhat fuller.  Moreover, the reduction contains rehersal letters used in the orchestral arrangement.  Incidentally, Vieuxtemps original for violin and piano is no longer in print.

duration: 7 minutes

A nightingale