TOEFL >> Reading >> In the reading part of the TOEFL exam, Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas.

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TOEFL Reading - Worksheet 16

Read the passage and choose the best answer to each question.

1. What is NOT the meaning of "pioneering" in the first paragraph?

  1. original
  2. unconventional
  3. revolutionary

2. Who were the most influential persons in the Russian Music Society?

  1. Miliy Balakirev
  2. Aleksandr Borodin
  3. Anton and Nikolay Rubenstein

3. What was Anton Rubenstein?

  1. a composer and pianist
  2. a member of the Mighty Five
  3. a pianist.

4. Was Glinka one of the Mighty Five group members?

  1. yes
  2. no

5. Who founded the Might Five group?

  1. Anton Rubenstein
  2. Borodin
  3. Balakirev

6. In the third paragraph, what is the meaning of the word "foster"?

  1. support
  2. block
  3. hinder

7. On what did the Mighty Five group members base their musical themes?

  1. German classical music
  2. Russian folk and religious music
  3. Western European classical music

8. In the last sentence, what is the meaning of the word "composers"?

  1. people who write music
  2. people who play the piano
  3. people who perform music

Music In Russia

In the nineteenth century, Russia began making an original contribution to world music nearly as significant as its contribution in literature. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mikhail Glinka (1804-57) initiated the application of purely Russian folk and religious music to classical compositions. His best operas, Ruslan and Lyudmila and A Life for the Tsar, are considered pioneering works in the establishment of Russian national music, although they are based on Italian models.

In 1859 the Russian Music Society was founded to foster the performance and appreciation of classical music, especially German, from Western Europe; the most influential figures in the society were the composer Anton Rubinstein and his brother Nikolay, who founded influential conservatories in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Anton Rubinstein also was one of the best pianists of the nineteenth century.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, a group of composers that came to be known as the "Mighty Five"--Miliy Balakirev, Aleksandr Borodin, César Cui, Modest Musorgskiy, and Nikolay Rimskiy-Korsakov--continued Glinka's movement away from imitation of European classical music. The Mighty Five challenged the Russian Music Society's conservatism with a large body of work thematically based on Russia's history and legends and musically based on its folk and religious music. Among the group's most notable works are Rimskiy-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherezade and the operas The Snow Maiden and Sadko, Musorgskiy's operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, and Borodin's opera Prince Igor. Balakirev, a protégé of Glinka, was the founder and guiding spirit of the group.

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