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The contemporaries of Stephan Degtyarev (1766-1813) considered him as one of the three finest Russian composers at the turn of the 18th century (along with Bortnyansky and Davydov) The oratorio “Minin and Pozharsky” was the first Russian patriotic oratorio and became Degtyarev’s most famous work. The work was written just before the Patriotic War of 1812 on the eve of Napoleon’s invasion and celebrates the two great 17th century liberators of Russia. It was greatly enjoyed by Russian audiences who appreciated its nationalistic sentiments.
Степан Дегтярёв: Минин и Пожарский, или Освобождение Москвы, действие I