Rimsky-Korsakov, Queen Scheherazade and the 1001 Arabian Nights

February 15, 2016

The Temple Hill Symphony Orchestra will perform Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade symphony Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, 2016, 7pm at the Temple HIll Auditorium on the grounds of the Oakland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4780 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602.  Admission is free and all are cordially invited to attend.

 

Drawing inspiration from The Arabian Nights, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade is one of classical music's "most evocative works," according to the Seattle Symphony.  Soon-to-be Queen Scheherazade kept the ferocious Persian king at bay by telling him 1000 tales over 1001 Arabian nights.  Commencing aboard Sinbad's ship, Rimsky-Korsakov's lively score takes the listener through adventures at sea, palace intrigue and festive Baghdad.  From Stephen Griffiths: "The reasons for [Scheherazade's] popularity are clear enough; 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." 

 

Scheherazade has inspired a number of ballets and plays, and is a popular music choice for competitive figure skating. Various cuts mainly from Movement I were widely used by skaters like Michelle Kwan, Kim Yuna, Mao Asada, Carolina Kostner and Midori Ito. Notably, American figure skater Evan Lysacek used Scheherazade in his free skate and won the gold medal at 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.  It was also used by American ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis in their free dance, where they won the gold medal at 2014 Winter Olympics.  Source: Wikipedia.

 

 

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