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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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