Page 556. " the chorus from the Water-Carrier "

Cherubini
Public DomainCherubini
 Les deux journées, ou Le porteur d'eau (The Two Days, or The Water-Carrier) is an opera by Cherubini (see bookmark to Page 484. "her favourite opera by Cherubini"). It is considered to be one of his best, although it fell out of favour over the last century. Beethoven kept a copy of this opera on his desk while he was composing Fidelio.

Listen to the Water-Carrier on Spotify.

Page 558. " my favourite nocturne by Monsieur Field "
John Field
Public DomainJohn Field
 John Field (1782-1837) was an Irish composer famous for having invented the nocturne for the piano. He lived and worked in Russia for much of his life, attracted by the artistic atmosphere of St Petersburg. Field is at the height of his fame and his creative life when Countess Rostova talks about him.

Listen to John Field's Nocturne No. 1 in E flat Major on Spotify.

Page 559. " That is metempsychosis "
Scene from an Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Weighing of Hunefer's Heart
Public DomainScene from an Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Weighing of Hunefer's Heart

  Metempsychosis is the belief that the soul can migrate from the body after death to inhabit another body: reincarnation, in other words. As Sonya goes on to say, the Ancient Egyptians believed in the transmigration of the soul after death. Evidence for this can be found in their many Books of the Dead. They later came to believe that souls could be reborn in new generations as a way of explaining family likenesses.

The idea of reincarnation also occurred in Ancient Greek thought, possibly as a result of contact with Egypt. Today, the most widespread belief in reincarnation occurs in Hinduism, where it is believed that the soul will be reincarnated as a higher or more lowly species depending upon its behaviour during its current life.

Page 560. " some mummers had arrived "

Mummers were troupes of folk actors who performed allegorical plays at certain times in the year, such as Christmas and Easter, and various Saint's Days. The tradition started in England, but swiftly moved to other countries. Mummers, drawn from the local community, would perform in houses or inns; they would be heavily costumed and disguised.

Page 563. " Faster still the two troikas flew "
A Russian Troika
Public DomainA Russian Troika

 This can be read as a reference to Nikolai Gogol's novel Dead Souls, published in 1842. In a famous passage in this novel Gogol compares Russia to a troika: "And you, Russia of mine--are not you also speeding like a troika which nought can overtake? Is not the road smoking beneath your wheels, and the bridges thundering as you cross them, and everything being left in the rear, and the spectators, struck with the portent, halting to wonder whether you be not a thunderbolt launched from heaven?"

A troika is a Russian harnessing system used to pull a carriage or sleigh with three horses side by side.