Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov


Born: Mar 18, 1844; Russia   Died: Jun 21, 1908; Russia   Period: Romantic
Mainly known for his symphonic works, especially the popular symphonic suite Sheherazade, as well as the Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival Overture, Rimsky-Korsakov left an oeuvre that also included operas, chamber works, and songs. Rimsky-Korsakov's music is accessible and engaging owing to his talent for tone-coloring and brilliant orchestration. Furthermore, his operas are masterful musical evocations of myths and Read more legends.
Born in 1844, Rimsky-Korsakov studied the piano as a child but chose a naval career, entering the College of Naval Cadets in St. Petersburg in 1856. However, he continued with piano lessons; in fact, in 1859, Rimsky-Korsakov started working with the French pianist Theodore Canille, through whom he met Balakirev, an important mentor and friend.
In 1862, after graduating form the naval school, Rimsky-Korsakov was at sea for two and a half years, devoting his free time to composition. Upon Rimsky-Korsakov's return to St. Petersburg, in 1865, Balakirev conducted his friend's First Symphony, which was hailed as the first important symphonic work by a Russian composer.
Rimsky-Korsakov was appointed professor of composition and orchestration at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1871. The following year, he married Nadezhda Purgold, a pianist. In 1873, Rimsky-Korsakov left active duty, becoming inspector of navy orchestras, a job which he held until 1884.
During the 1870s, Rimsky-Korsakov composed, conducted, and collected Russian folk songs. In 1878, he started composing the opera May Night, after a story by Nikolai Gogol, his first stage work based on a story containing fantastic motifs. Following the production of May Night, in 1880, Rimsky-Korsakov began work on Snow Maiden, based on Nikolai Ostrovsky's poetic retelling of a Slavic myth, which was performed in 1882.
Saddened by Mussorgsky's death, in 1881, Rimsky-Korsakov devoted himself to editing his friend's unpublished manuscripts. A master orchestrator, Rimsky-Korsakov felt obliged to help colleagues whose manuscripts needed revision. Thus, in 1887, when Borodin died, Rimsky-Korsakov agreed to orchestrate and complete Borodin's opera Prince Igor.
Rimsky-Korsakov wrote the Spanish Capriccio in 1887, completing the Russian Easter Overture and Sheherazade the following year. Having composed these resplendent works, however, Rimsky-Korsakov went through a period of despondency; there were deaths in his family, and, in 1893, Tchaikovsky died.
In 1895, Rimsky-Korsakov's Christmas Eve, another opera after a Gogol story, was produced. The composer's subsequent works recreated the rich world of Russian myths and legends. Sadko, completed in 1896, conjured up a medieval Russian legend. In 1901, Rimsky-Korsakov blended the legend of Kitezh and the story of St. Fevroniya to create a complex Christian-pantheistic narrative. Completed in 1905, the year when the politically progressive composer was temporarily dismissed from this teaching post, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden, was produced in 1907.
Rimsky-Korsakov's last opera, The Golden Cockerel, completed in 1907, was inspired by a politically subversive story by Alexander Pushkin. The production of this work was a struggle, because the subject matter aroused suspicions among government censors. The opera was finally produced, in 1909, the year following the composer's death, by a private opera company in Moscow. Read less

Work: Tsar's Bride: Overture

Browse 1-9 of 9 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Nicolai Malko Conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1957-1960)
    Label: Lyrita   Catalog: 2120 Release Date: 03/11/2016   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Norma Proctor,  Elizabeth Simon,  Kathleen Joyce,  Duncan Robertson  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicolai Malko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 2.
    Rimsky-Korsakov Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94369 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter,  Nicholas Busch,  Gwydion Brooke,  John McCaw  ... 
    Conductor:  Loris Tjeknavorian,  Yondani Butt,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $98.99
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  • 3.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol, Overtures / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8572788 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $12.99
    CD: $9.99
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  • 4.
    Evgeny Svetlanov Conducts Nikolai Rimsky-korsakov
    Label: Svetlanov Foundation   Catalog: 2 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $111.98
    CD: $93.99
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  • 5.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Orchestral Works / Ogawa, Bakels, Malaysian PO
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1667 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Noriko Ogawa
    Conductor:  Kees Bakels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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  • 6.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Overtures / Sinaisky, BBC PO
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10424 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Vassili Sinaisky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 7.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Overtures, Suites / Bakels
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1577 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Kees Bakels
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $21.49
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  • 8.
    Rimsky-korsakov: Christmas Eve, Etc / Golovschin, Moscow So
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553789 Release Date: 06/02/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Igor Golovchin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 9.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol, etc / Lazarev, Bolshoi
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 94808 Release Date: 05/03/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Sergei Vlasov,  Valery Suschenko,  Dmitry Miller,  Alexander Golyshev  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Lazarev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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