Scheherazade, Op. 35 - Rimsky-Korsakov


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Scheherezade (Op. 35) is a symphonic suite written by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. Based on One Thousand and One Nights, this work combinates two features typical of both Russian music and Rimksy-Korsakov: a colorful, powerful orchestration and an interest in eastern themes. It is considered to be his most popular work, and it was later used as the basis of a ballet by Michel Fokine. Though the composer intended to name the movements as Prelude, Ballade, Adagio and Finale he ended setting for programatic titles, albeit vague ones, so that no connection could be made to specific tales. In later aditions he did away with the titles, though they remain in common use. The work is scored for 2 flutes, picollo, two oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns in F, 2 trumpets in A and B-flat, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, tam-tam, harp and strings. The reasons for its popularity are clear: it is a score replete with beguiling orchestral colors, fresh and piquant melodies, with a mild oriental flavor, a rhythmic vitality largely absent from many major orchestral works of the later 19th century, and a directness of expression unhampered by quasi-symphonic complexities of texture and structure.less

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