Author Topic: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)  (Read 27399 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« on: September 16, 2008, 12:42:13 PM »
Reading through Lethe's tremendously useful list of composers who have had a thread devoted to their life and work I was struck by the omission of both Roussel and Rimsky-Korsakov. These two composers have at least one thing in common, of course. They both served for a time in their country's respective navies. Rimsky-Korsakov attained a far higher rank than Roussel(a mere junior officer) when he was appointed Inspector of Naval Bands in the Imperial Russian Navy.

Well, Albert Roussel now has his own thread-although not many have contributed to it as yet :( As far as Rimsky-Korsakov is concerned, his music has been mentioned repeatedly on this site but I thought that he definitely merits a thread of his own :)

R-K's contribution to Russian music is absolutely immense! He was, without doubt, one of the towering figures on the Russian musical scene in the last few decades of the 19th century and after the death of the Tchaikovsky had probably overtaken Balakirev as the doyen of Russian music. His influence on a whole generation of Russian composers-Rachmaninov, Glazunov, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and so many others-was profound. He was a great and hugely popular teacher and a man of tremendous integrity, resigning in protest from his post at the St.Petersburg Conservatory at the expulsion of students who had been involved in the 1905 Revolution in Russia.

R-K was a quite superb orchestrator. Obviously 'Scheherazade' is(or at least was?) a staple of the orchestral repertoire and I am still bedazzled by the opulence of that work's orchestration but I also thrill to the magnificence of the Russian Easter Festival Overture and bask in the lyrical grandeur of the symphonic suites from Operas like "The Golden Cockerel", "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh", "The Maid of Pskov" and so many other colourful scores.

I am confident that there must be many others here who share my affection for a man who though encouraged by Balakirev was in many ways self-taught.

Offline Guido

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2008, 12:52:22 PM »
He is also meant to have experimented with the octatonic scale alot but I have never been able to track down which works specifically he did this in. Any tips?
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 12:52:43 PM »
I have "The Tsars Bride" lying in my inpile to play (a new and as yet unplayed aquisition), but have in general only a superficial knowledge of his works, maimly limited to Scheherazade and the usual list of overtures and suites. So further input in this thread will be appreciated.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 12:58:10 PM »
He is also meant to have experimented with the octatonic scale alot but I have never been able to track down which works specifically he did this in. Any tips?

Rimsky used the scale extensively in his 1902 Opera "Kashchey the Immortal"(so I understand!).

scarpia

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 12:59:57 PM »
I had found Rimsky-Korsakov to be less than fascinating, beyond the few well known orchestral pieces like "Scheherazade."  That changed when I became familiar with his opera, which are full of wit and color.  This production is wonderful, though sadly nla in the US.


Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 01:09:30 PM »
I had found Rimsky-Korsakov to be less than fascinating, beyond the few well known orchestral pieces like "Scheherazade."  That changed when I became familiar with his opera, which are full of wit and color.  This production is wonderful, though sadly nla in the US.



"wit and color"...yes indeed :) Rimsky's operas are full of both and sometimes we might forget just how witty he can be!

DFO

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2008, 02:31:00 PM »
Forget for a moment his symphonics, and listen to his magnificent piano trio and the lovely
string sextet and piano and winds quintet.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2008, 08:35:16 PM »
Forget for a moment his symphonics, and listen to his magnificent piano trio and the lovely
string sextet and piano and winds quintet.
That sounds interesting in case you could recommend currently available recordings?

DFO

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 02:34:11 AM »
On the trio, I've the Moscow Trio on a german Chant du Monde,plus Borodin piano trio
Have also an old recording by the Oistrakh's trio, but difficult to find.
String sextet,I´ve on LP by the Ensemble Classique Köln.I think it's on CD
Piano and winds quintet by Eva Knardahl and Gothenburg wind quintet,plus
Berwald and LvB on a BIS CD

Offline The new erato

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 07:26:40 AM »
Thank you! Duly noted.

Bulldog

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2008, 07:33:30 AM »
I have the Sextet and Quintet on a Praga disc - excellent performances.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2008, 12:10:46 PM »
My first ever classical LP was Scheherezade (Reiner) and RK was my first love in classical music. I was about 14. Still like the music, especially Sadko, Russian Easter Festival Overture, Christmas Eve and the Invisible City of Kitezh.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline jwinter

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2008, 09:55:20 AM »
Count me among the R-K fans.  For me, listening to Scheherezade is the sonic equivalent of sneaking and relishing a Hershey bar on a bad day, indulgent and a little decadent without being downright unwholesome, and yummy as hell.  It's one of those pieces where you can get swept away by the sheer beauty of the thing, the gorgeousness of the orchestration.  It's both soothing and cathartic at the same time, if that makes any sense.

I also enjoy the other R-K that I've heard, although alas that's not too much beyond some overtures.  I have the Brilliant Classics set of the symphonies and other orchestral works, but I haven't really touched the chamber works or the operas (other than the overtures).  May need to remedy that soon...
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2008, 06:42:41 AM »
I'd recommend his Christmas Eve Suite; a really lovely, magical work.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2008, 10:50:44 AM »
If you are interested in another aspect of Rimsky's composition you could try this CD which contains four rousing secular cantatas including the splendid vigorous  "The Song of Oleg the Wise" together with "The Song of Alexis, Man of God", "The Girl in the Lake" and "From Homer".

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2008, 04:12:58 PM »
He is also meant to have experimented with the octatonic scale alot but I have never been able to track down which works specifically he did this in. Any tips?
Yeah, anything by Shostakovich.  ;D

Offline flyingdutchman

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2008, 08:24:12 PM »
If you are interested in another aspect of Rimsky's composition you could try this CD which contains four rousing secular cantatas including the splendid vigorous  "The Song of Oleg the Wise" together with "The Song of Alexis, Man of God", "The Girl in the Lake" and "From Homer".

Ya, but where is it readily available?  An Amazon marketplace seller for $40?  Good grief.

Offline drogulus

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2008, 08:02:29 AM »


       I can recommend the symphonic suite Antar, composed in 1868 and revised many times over the years. Give the early date you can hear many ways R-K might have influenced the course of Russian music.

     

     
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Offline Superhorn

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2008, 12:21:28 PM »
   Other Rimsky works I enjoy are the operas Sadko, The Legend of the Invisible City Of Kitezh, The Maid of Pskov, which I have with Gergiev conducting,
May Night, The Snow Maiden, and the 2nd symphony, "Antar", also based on Arabic folklore, and inexplicably neglected at concerts, although Gegiev did with the New York Philharmonic several years ago.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov(1844-1908)
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2008, 01:14:58 AM »
If you like 'Antar', you might also enjoy Miaskovsky's Symphony 21 as there is a thematic link between them.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).