Friday, June 21, 2013


Nikolai Andreievich Rimsky-Korsakoff 

(March 18, 1844 - June 21, 1908)

This Russian Romantic composer worked to bring elements of folksongs and folklore into classical music to create a new Nationalistic form.  Born to aristocratic parents, Nikolai showed natural talent for music; but was more interested in books.  At the age of twelve his father sent him to the the Sea Cadet Corps (Naval College) where his musical skills flourished as he became influenced by different teachers, most notably Mily Balakirev, the leader of a movement to create a new Russian form of music that was distinct from European traditional classical forms.  Rimsky-Korsakoff became a part of a group called The Five, also known as The Mighty Handful, The Balakirev Circle, and The New Russian School; which included Balakirev, CĂ©sar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Alexander Borodin. After his graduation in 1862, Nikolai became a navel officer and travelled the world on a three year cruise.  During that time he completed his First Symphony.  He continued to develop his own sound, incorporating Eastern fairytales and themes.  The popularity of his works led to a position as professor of harmony and orchestration at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  During this time he began studying Western methods and incorporated them into his own art.  His support of the students during revolts during the Revolution of 1905-1907 led to the end of his professorship and his works being banned by the police.  The outcry from students and professors was so great that he was reinstated months later.  Due to his influence on his many students, he is considered to be the primary architect of the Russian school of composition.  He died from complications of his angina pectoris that had worsened during the Revolution.  

"Flight of the Bumblebee" is his most famous piece.  It is an orchestral interlude from his opera 'The Tale of Tsar Saltan' during which the magic Swan-Bird changes the Tsar's son Prince Gvidon Saltanovich into an insect so that he can fly away to visit his father. 

Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34, was based on Spanish folk melodies. 

Sheherazade, Op. 35, is based on The Arabian Nights. 

Russian Easter Festival Overture: Overture on Liturgical Themes, Op. 36 was dedicated to the memories of Modest Mussorgsky and Alexander Borodin. 

No comments:

Post a Comment