The last three symphonies by Pjotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky are classic examples of the Russian symphonic tradition. However, although these works definitely contain Russian elements, the critics who claim that Tchaikovsky was first influenced and moulded by the German and French styles are certainly correct. The truly Russian style was not so much developed by Tchaikovsky as by the composers of the so-called “Mighty Handful” (or the “Mighty Five”). Michael Glinka staged the first Russian folk drama with his opera Ivan Susanin and astonished the audience in St. Petersburg at the première. The work was labelled “coachman’s” music, yet although the term was intended as an insult, Glinka felt highly flattered: “This was excellently phrased, and even very true; for, in my opinion, coachmen are smarter than the aristocracy”. And that provided the upbeat to a new musical movement, in which folk music would form the basis for the music written for the opera and the concert hall. To quote Glinka again: “The people create the music, and we composers simply arrange it”.