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The Mighty Handful

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The Might Handful, also known as The Five, was a loose collection of Russian classical composers brought together under the leadership of Mily Balakirev with the aim of producing a specifically Russian music rather than imitating older European music.

The name of the group is the English translation of the Russian moguchaya kuchka, a label first applied to the group in 1867 by the critic Vladimir Stasov.

Other than Balakirev, the members of The Five were CÚsar Cui, Alexander Borodin, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Before them, Mikhail Glinka had gone some way towards producing a distinctly Russian kind of music, writing operas on Russian subjects, but The Mighty Handful represented the first concentrated attempt to develop such a music.

They influenced and taught many of the great Russian composers who were to follow, including Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich.

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