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This might be also because while our writers (I am not really sure about poets (Pushkin just does not seem to travel as well as Dostoyevsky, or Shakespear) from the 19th century on actually are "world class" so to speak, Russian painters, composers and architects up until early 1900s were really quite derivative and second rate. With all the complexes Russians tend to have aboutr being compared to Europe, or being considered (or not considered) a part of Europe, idolization of writers is quite understandable.

> With all the complexes Russians tend to have

Adding nationalistic flamebait to ideological flamebait is not the way to make HN threads better. Please don't.


Well, there was certainly much more great writers at the same time, but composers like Rimsky-Korsakov or Borodin were first class by any measure... and those are two I could recall from the top of my head, with my very limited knowledge of 19th century Russian culture, I'm sure there's more...

Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky

totally, now I feel like an idiot for forgetting Tchaikovsky :)

They are good composers, no doubt, but probably not quite in the same league in, if anything, importance (not going to argue personal preferences in music) as, say, Beethoven earlier or Stravinsky later.

Very few countries had composers comparably famous as Beethoven or say Mozart or Bach are nowadays to the general public - and none had them throughout the different periods all the time. However, considering the social situation in Russia of the 19th century, proportion of urban vs. rural living people, proportionally smaller and less educated middle class than in West, IMHO there was actually quite a lot of top-notch artists and fine craftsmen.

Germany or Italy did pretty well, though. And Russia never considered itself just some one other country. Comparisons have always been with "Europe".

Not to say that say Mussorgsky (as mentioned somewhere above) isn't a top-notch composer, but if you have, as your comparatives, Dostoyevsky vs. Dickens (for example) or Mussorgsky vs. Wagner, you'd probably pick Dostoyevsky...

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