Say this new rhyme in the box, as last week, and clap the hearts (the pulse), at the same time.
Now try again and this time, clap the words as you say them. You are now clapping the rhythm. Well done!
The final composer from the Victorian (Romantic) era that we will look at is another Russian called Rimsky-Korsakov. (1844-1908). He spent his early years in the Russian Navy, as well as being a composer. One of his most famous orchestral works is Scheherazade, programme music that is:
The story of a storyteller.
Before printed books and newspapers, storytelling was the way people shared information, traditions, and entertainment. Storytellers travelled from village to village, bringing news and tales. Fairy tales were first told by storytellers and later put into the book forms we know now. The 1001 Arabian Nights were such stories, meant to entertain but also to teach a lesson about good ways to live life and become a good person. One popular story from the Arabian Nights was the tale of Scheherazade. This tale was set to music by the Russian composer, Rimsky-Korsakov.
The story goes that the Persian King Shahryar would marry a new wife every day, and after the first night, he would have her beheaded. Against her father’s wishes, Scheherazade volunteers to marry the king and spend one night with him. She begins to tell him a story that is so amazing that the king is desperate to hear the end, but Scheherazade tells him that she will tell him the end of the story the next night. The king allows her to live for another day so that he can hear the end of the story. The next night she tells the end of the tale and begins another, not revealing the end, and so this goes on for A Thousand and One Nights, by which time the King falls in love with Scheherazade, spares her life and makes her his queen.
Ask your grown ups if you can find this music on You Tube.
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade. Gergiev/Vienna Philharmonic. Salzburg Festival 2005. This is a brilliant recording. You could always listen to this in sections if that works for you.
This music comprises of 4 contrasting, though unrelated, movements, influenced by pictures of Persian Miniatures of the time. At the beginning, the two main characters are introduced.
We hear the mesmerising violin taking on the role of Scheherazade (often accompanied by the harp). The heavy brass instruments declaring the arrival of the Sultan, and the stories begin…
The sea is depicted as ‘deep blue E major rolling chords’. Close your eyes ae you listen to it, and imagine…..
The second movement is the Tale of the Kalendar Prince, with a real sense of the Orient, and the third movement is definitely the most romantic of the four.
The last movement depicts a storm at sea and the destruction of a ship, breaking up on the cliffs, and Scheherazade’s theme returns for a final time, showing triumph over the Sultan as he lets her live.
The Art of Scheherazade: Persian Miniatures. The Persian Miniature is a small, brightly coloured illustration that also tells a story. In the l4th Century poetry and literature became very popular in Persia (Scheherazade’s country) and there were many important painting schools. Each group of artists had their own style in creating their paintings. The beautiful drawings would illustrate poems or stories, making books more enjoyable and easier to understand.
Download (PDF, 368KB)