Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) showed an interest in art from an early age. By the time he was 21 he had already founded a school for farmers' children, which he would do two more times until his own family was big enough to fill a classroom. He wrote his first book during his time in the Russian army.
Aside from his passion for writing, Tolstoy was an aspiring musician and music lover when young and composed a Waltz in F. His Biographer, Gusev, tells us about the strong effect music had on Tolstoy: The famous Russian writer would turned pale and would not hold back the tears when listening to his favorite music.*
A range of composers and performers regularly paid visits to Tolystoy's estate: Alexander Goldenveizer, Anton Rubinstein, Sergei Taneyev and others came to Yasnaya Polyana to perform. According to Goldenveizer, music ‘spurred him on to artistic creation’, but also provided him with a lot of question Tolstoy touches upon in The Kreutzer Sonata: What is music? What does it do? Why was it made?*
text by E. de Loor / photo copyrighted by F.W. Taylor
* P. Hellyer on 'Lev Tolstoi i muzyka: vospominaniia (Leo Tolstoy and music: reminiscences)', http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelplang/russian/tolstoycentenary/tolstoyandmusic/tolstoyandmusic.html (2011)