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Balalayka

(Alfred Cottin)

A Balalaika is a Russian folk song. It was not composed by a Russian but by the Spanish musician Alfred Cottin in the nineteenth century.

Alfred Cottin started his career as a surgeon, but exchanged his scalpel for a guitar. He became a celebrated performer on guitar. His activities as a composer were limited to a few Etudes and some small performance pieces.

It was not surprising that a Spanish composer tried to compose in the Russian style. In those days, musical forms from abroad, like the Polish Mazurka, were popular amongst the Romantic composers.

We arranged this duo from the solo version for guitar. By separating solo and accompanyment, we could enhance the effect of both.