Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Rimsky-Korsakov

Dr. Bob Prescribes: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade

We begin where we left off in yesterday’s Music History Monday post, with what was the closing statement: “It’s a fact: the very history of twentieth century Russian, Russian expatriate, and Soviet composers starts with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), whose own roots trace back through The Five to Glinka and the awakening of Russian musical nationalism in the 1830s, all of which was an outgrowth of Napoleon’s defeat in Russia in 1812!” During his lifetime, Rimsky-Korsakov was best known for his thirteen operas.  However, he is best known today for three spectacularly popular orchestral works, all of which were composed within a span of 18 months, between the winter of 1887 and August 1888: the Capriccio espagnole, The Russian Easter Overture, and Scheherazade. Scheherazade – the Story The literary story behind Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade comes from a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folk tales initially compiled during the 9th century, a compilation entitled One Thousand and One Nights.  Among the best-known of the folk tales in this compilation are “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp,” “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor.” Many different versions of One Thousand and One Nights have come down to us, […]

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Music History Monday: Fake It ‘til You Make It

We mark the birth of the Russian composer Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov on March 18, 1844: 180 years ago today.  Born in the Russian town of Tikhvin – roughly 120 miles east of St. Petersburg – Rimsky-Korsakov died at the age of 64, on June 21, 1908, on his estate near the Russian town of Luga, about 85 miles south of St. Petersburg Fake It ‘til You Make It Like most kids growing up, I had various assumptions about grownups (i.e. “adults”).  As someone who has now – presumably – been an adult for very nearly a half of a century, I have learned that my assumptions – a few of which I’ve listed below – were all crazy wrong. Assumption one: at around 21, we cross the line into adulthood.   Wrong.  There are no such “lines”; we’re all changing, all the time. Assumption two: adults are emotionally mature. Wrong.  Physically, yes, I’m pushing seventy.  Emotionally? I’m roughly fifteen. On a good day. Assumption three: adults know what they’re doing. Really?  Adults only “know” what they’re doing (if they ever learn what their “doing” at all) after they’ve been doing it for decades.  Until then, they are apprentices, “learning on […]

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