Sadko (musical tableau)


Sadko (musical tableau)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote his "musical tableau" "Sadko", Op. 5, in 1867 but revised the work in 1869 and 1892. It has sometimes been called the first symphonic poem written in Russia.Rimsky-Korsakov, "My Musical Life", 79 ft. 21.] It was first performed in 1867 at a concert of the Russian Musical Society (RMS), conducted by Mili Balakirev.Rimsky-Korsakov, 82.]

Overview

cenario

Sadko ( _ru. Садко) was a legendary hero of a Russian "bylina" (epic tale) with the same name. A merchant and "gusli" musician from Novgorod, he is transported to the realm of the Sea King. There, he is to provide music to accompany the dance at the marriage of the King's daughter. The dancing grows so frenzied that the surface of the sea billows and surges, threatening to founder the ships on it. To calm the sea, Sadko smashes his "gusli". The storm dissipates and he reappears on the shore.

Composition

Mili Balakirev, leader of the Russian nationalist music group "The Five," was long fascinated with Anton Rubinstein's Europeanising "Ocean" Symphony and wanted to create a more specifically Russian alternative.Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.] Music critic Vladimir Stasov suggested the legend of Sadko and wrote a program for this work,Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.] giving it to Balakirev in 1861. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 74 ft. 10.] At first Balakirev relayed the program to Modest Mussorgsky, who did nothing with it.Rimsky-Korsakov, 74.] (Mussorgsky's comment to Balakirev on hearing Rubinstein's "Ocean" Symphony was "Oh "Ocean", oh puddle"; he had much preferred Rubinstein's conducting of the work over the work itself. [Brown, David, "Mussorgsky: His Life and Works" (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 22] ) Mussorgsky eventually offered the program to Rimsky-Korsakov, after he had long given up on it.Rimsky-Korsakov, 74.] Balakirev agreed, counting on the naval officer's love of the sea to help him produce results.Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.]

Instead of direct experience of the sea, Rimsky-Korsakov fell back on Franz Liszt's symphonic poem "Ce Qu'on entend sur la montagne" for inspiration.Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.] Acting as bookends to the middle of the work are two sketches of the calm, gently rippling sea.Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.] While Rimsky-Korsakov took the harmonic and modulatory basis of these sections from the opening of Liszt's "Montagne", [Rimsky-Korsakov, 78.] he admitted the chord passage closing these sections were purely his own. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 79.] The central section comprises music portraying Sadko's underwater journey, the feast of the Sea King and the Russian dance that leads the work to its climax.Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002), 71.] Typical of Rimsky's modesty and self-criticism, he offers several influences for this section: Mikhail Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila", Balakirev's "Song of the Goldfish," Alexander Dargomyzhsky's "Russalka" and Liszt's "Mephisto Waltz No. 1". [Rimsky-Korsakov, 78-79.] Rimsky-Korsakov chose the principal tonalities of the piece—D-flat major, D major and D flat major—specifically to please Balakirev, "who had an exclusive prediliction for them in those days."Rimsky-Korsakov, 79.]

Rimsky-Korsakov began the work in June 1867 during a three-week holiday at his brother's summer villa in Tervaïoki, near Vyborg.Calvocoressi, M.D. and Gerand Abraham, "Masters of Russian Music" (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1944), 350.] A month's naval cruise in the Gulf of Finland proved only a temporary interruption; by October 12, he was finished.Calvocoressi, M.D. and Gerand Abraham, "Masters of Russian Music" (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1944), 350.] He wrote Mussorgsky that he was satisfied with it and that it was the best thing he had composed to date, but that he was weak from the intense strain of composition and needed to rest. [Calvocoressi and Abraham, 350-351.]

Rimsky-Korsakov felt that several factors combined to make the piece a success—the originality of his task; the form that resulted; the freshness of the dance tune and the singing theme with its Russian characteristics; and the orchestration, "caught as by a miracle, despite my imposing ignorance in the realm of orchestration."Rimsky-Korsakov, 79.] While he remained pleased with "Sadko's" form, Rimsky-Korsakov remained discontented with its brevity and sparseness, adding that writing the work in a broader format would have been more appropriate for Stasov's program.Rimsky-Korsakov, 79.] He attrributed this extreme conciseness to his lack of compositional experience.Rimsky-Korsakov, 79.] Nevertheless, Balakirev was pleased with the work, paying "Sadko" a combination of patronization and encouraging admiration. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 79-80.] He conducted its premiere that December.Rimsky-Korsakov, 82]

Reaction

After an encore performance of "Sadko" at the RMS under Balakirev in 1868, one critic accused Rimsky-Korsakov of imitating Glinka's "Kamarinskaya".Rimsky-Korsakov, 103.] This reaction led Mussorgsky to create his magazine "Classicist", in which he ridiculed the critic of the "rueful countenance."Rimsky-Korsakov, 103.] At Balakirev's behest Rimsky-Korsakov revised the score for a November 1869 concert. Alexander Borodin wrote on the day of that concert, "In this new version, where many slips of orchestration have been righted and the former effects have been perfected, "Sadko" is a delight. The public greeted the piece enthusiastically and called Korsinka out three times." [Rimsky-Korsakov, 109 ft. 26.]

ubsequent history

In 1871, RMS program director Mikhaíl Azanchevsky had "Sadko" programmed as part of an effort to recruit its composer onto the faculty of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 115-116.] (This was also the only time conductor Eduard Nápravník performed an orchestral work by Rimsky-Korsakov for the RMS. Four years later, Azanchevsky asked Nápravník several times to conduct the symphonic suite "Antar". Nápravník finally refused, telling Azanchevsky with apparent disdain that Rimsky-Korsakov "might as well conduct it himself." [Rimsky-Korsakov, 156.] )

In 1892, Rimsky-Korsakov reorchestrated "Sadko".Rimsky-Korsakov, 312.] This was the last of his early works that he revised.Rimsky-Korsakov, 312.] "With this revision I settled accounts with the past," he wrote in his autobiography. "In this way, not a single larger work of mine "of the period antedating May Night" remained unrevised" (italics Rimsky-Korsakov).Rimsky-Korsakov, 312.]

Rimsky-Korsakov conducted "Sadko" several times in Russia during his career, as well as in Brussels in March 1900. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 389-390.] Arthur Nikisch conducted it in the composer's presence in a Paris concert given in May 1907. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 434.]

Harmonic explorations

"The Five" had already been using chromatic harmony and the whole-tone scale before Rimsky-Korsakov composed "Sadko".Maes, 83.] Glinka had used the whole-tone scale in "Ruslan and Lyudmila" as the leitmotif of the evil dwarf Chernomor.Maes, 83.] "The Five" continued using this "artificial" harmony as a musical code for the fantastic, for the demonic, and for black magic.Maes, 83.] To this code Rimsky added the octatonic scale in "Sadko".Maes, 84.] This was a device he adapted from Liszt. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 78.] In it, half-notes alternate with whole notes, and the harmonic functions are comparable to those of the whole-tone scale.Maes, 84.] Once Rimsky-Korsakov discovered this functional parallel, he used the octatonic scale as an alternative to the whole-tone scale in the musical portrayal of fantastic subjects.Maes, 84.] This held true not only for "Sadko" but later for his symphonic poem "Skazka" ("The Tale") and the many scenes depicting magical happenings in his fairy-tale operas.Maes, 84.]

Arrangements

In 1868, Rimsky-Korsakov's future wife Nadezhda Nikolayevna Purgold arranged the original version of "Sadko" for piano four-hands.Rimsky-Korsakov, 87.] . Jurgenson published this arrangement the following year, in conjunction with the orchestral score. [Rimsky-Korsakov, 109.]

ources

*Brown, David, "Mussorgsky: His Life and Works" (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). ISBN 0-19-816587-0.
*Calvocoressi, M.D. and Gerand Abraham, "Masters of Russian Music" (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1944). ISBN n/a.
*Maes, Francis, tr. Pomerans, Arnold J. and Erica Pomerans, "A History of Russian Music: From "Kamarinskaya "to" Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002). ISBN 0-520-21815-9.
*Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai, "Letoppis Moyey Muzykalnoy Zhizni" (St. Petersburg, 1909), published in English as "My Musical Life" (New York: Knopf, 1925, 3rd ed. 1942). ISBN n/a.

References


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