Anatol Liadov was a slow worker who left more incomplete than finished. This became his undoing when he dithered over committing himself to writing a ballet for Diaghilev and as a result giving the young Igor Stravinsky a very big break with 'The Firebird' – the sort of work that would have suited Liadov's style very well. Liadov studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from the age of fifteen, his most important teacher being Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He later taught theory at the same institution, and eventually counterpoint and composition but was hampered by his own diffidence, shyness and lack of confidence. His most famous pupil was Prokofiev, who thought him other-worldly. Liadov is only known today for some attractive piano pieces (particularly his Schumannesque 'Children's Games' ('Birioulki'), but it is regrettable that so many of his larger-scale orchestral projects were left unfinished and those he completed (like 'Kikimora') are still rarely heard.
Of the 15 parts of the 'Variations on Chopsticks' for piano duet, published in 1878 Liadov contributed some of the short variations in part 1 an a Valse, Galop, Gigue and the final Cortege triomphal.