Donald Macleod surveys the life and work of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Rimsky-Korsakov’s music is filled with lush orchestration and hints of orientalism and folk music. These elements and his role as a leading member of “The Mighty Handful” of composers who sought to forge a truly nationalistic music have led him to be regarded as the main architect of the Russian style of composition we know today. We hear about Rimsky Korsakov’s lifelong relationship with the sea, his fascination with myths and folklore, the acts of rebellion which pepper his life, his changing religious beliefs and his carefully constructed legacy.

Music featured:
By the Sea, Op 46: The Wave Breaks into a Spray
Scheherazade (I. The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship)
From Homer Op.60
Symphony No 1 (II. Andante tranquillo)
Sadko, Op. 6
Trombone Concerto (I. Allegro Vivace)
Captivated by the Rose, the Nightingale (4 Songs, Op 2 No 2)
Antar: IV. Allegretto - Adagio
Skazka, Op 29
Capriccio Espagnol, Op 34
Hymn to the Sun from The Golden Cockerel
Allegro in B flat major (Les Vendredis, Book II)
Overture on Russian Themes, Op 28
Symphony No 3: II. Scherzo
Kashchey the Immortal: Tableau 3
Suite from “The Golden Cockerel”: IV. Wedding Feast – Death of King Dodon - Finale
Octave (5 Songs “To the Poet”, Op 45)
May Night: Overture
Snow Maiden: Act IV Finale
Russian Easter Festival Overture
Chants for Holy Week
The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya Suite: I. Hymn to Nature
Flight of the Bumblebee (Tsar Saltan)
Maid of Pskov – Overture
Night on the Bare Mountain
Polonaise (Christmas Eve Suite)
Mlada: Act III, Scenes 2 and 3
Mozart & Salieri: Scene 2 (extract)
Upon the hills of Georgia, Op 3
Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov:

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: