He studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov, was expelled for absenteeism, only to be readmitted later. He became friends with Tchaikovsky and knew Mussorgsky and the rest of The Five and shared with them an interest in music based on Russian folksong, legend and history.
Liadov had neither the temperament or inclination to compose any large-scale works. The attempts he made at these were never finished. His talent was with the musical miniature, as many of his compositions were piano miniatures. The few orchestra works he wrote were mostly brief tone poems. He was a master of counterpoint, and a brilliant orchestrator, but his composing method was very slow and methodical.
Eight Russian Folksongs Opus 58 was written in 1906 and are true to form with his nature of composition. The eight songs take about 15 minutes to play and show his brilliance with orchestration and inventiveness. The skill he used in setting these eight pieces does make you wonder what he could have accomplished if he had been more ambitious.
The Eight Songs are:
- Religious Chant. Moderato
- Christmas Carol 'Kolyada'. Allegretto
- Plaintive Song. Andante
- Humorous Song 'I Danced With The Gnat'./Allegretto
- Legend Of The Birds. Allegretto
- Cradle Song. Moderato
- Round Dance. Allegro
- Village Dance Song. Vivo