Russian pianist and composer, who remains best known as the founder of the group of nationalist composers called "the five" or "the mighty handful", comprising himself, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Cesar Cui.
Together they wanted to counter the Germanic influences on Russian music. They were also proud of their amateur backgrounds: Balakirev worked as a railway administrator and claimed to have had only ten piano lessons in his life. His music is not particularly well known today, except for the virtuoso piano piece Islamey, which remains a popular challenge for pianists.
Piano Sheet music by Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev
Balakirev's Piano Sonata is one of the greatest and most original ever written, in my opinion. Certainly the greatest Russian sonata before Scriabin/Prokofiev. Islamey is justly famous. The second Scherzo is filled with beautiful themes and is very exciting.
I love his transcription of The Lark of Glinka. I also love his Nocturne No.3.
Some History about the man:
"Balakirev is perhaps most important as the leader of The Mighty Five. (Balakirev, along with Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Cui, formed an alliance of amateur composers that came to be known as The Mighty Five.)"
He didn't wrote al lot of pieces, because he took I believe 20 years to write his symphonies. He was the first Russian Composer who was making a symphony, but when it was complete other Russian composers already made symphonies. If he was a little faster, maybe he was known today as very famous...