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Royalty Free Music - Rimsky-Korsakov

Rimsky-Korsakov - Biography

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer who combined his love of Russian culture with great skill in orchestration to produce dazzling sounds and memorable melodies.

He was born in Tikhvin, Russia on March 6th, 1844. Although he demonstrated considerable musical ability as a child, his parents felt that music would not provide a suitable career for their son, so at the age of 12 Korsakov was enrolled into studies towards his eventual employment in the Imperial Russian Navy. There were opportunities however for him to learn piano and composition as a hobby, and he was taught by Canille, and then Balakirev. When not at sea, Korsakov composed and submitted his work to Balakirev and three other composers he had met, and these five - Korsakov, Borodin, Mussorgksy, Cui and Balakirev - became known as "The Five", or "The Mighty Handful". They sought to represent the culture of their homeland in their music, which became known as "orientalism".

Korsakov completed his first symphony and sent it to Balakirov in 1862, during a three year sea voyage. In 1865 it received its premiere and Korsakov took his applause dressed in full naval uniform. In 1871 he became room-mates with Mussorgsky, (they shared a piano between them) and Korsakov finished his opera "Maid of Pskov", managing to get it performed despite difficulties with censors. He was also offered a Professorship at the St Petersburg conservatory in that year, and married Nadezhda Purgold - an accomplished musician. The following years brought promotion at the conservatory, financial stability and increasing recognition as a composer. His three famous works "Scheherazade", "Russian Easter Overture" and "Capriccio Espagnol" were written for performance by the Russian Symphony Orchestra. "Flight of the Bumble Bee", another well-known piece, comes from his opera "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" where the Tsar's son changes into a bee to fly away and visit his Father.

Despite periods of barrenness Korsakov composed a considerable body of work, and always sought to increase his knowledge of musical theory and practise. Korsakov became severely ill with angina in 1907, and he died on 21st June, 1908 in Lyubensk, and was buried in St Petersburg. Korsakov's music is widely performed today. His 15 operas are extremely popular in Russia, "Scheherazade" with its evocative eastern scales and exotic orchestration is a favourite in Western concert halls, but perhaps his most widely performed work is ironically one which he never selected for solo concert performance - "Flight of the Bumble Bee". It has been performed as a demonstration of technical expertise on many different instruments;- violin (Yehudi Menuhin), electric guitar (Al Hirt, and used on "Kill Bill"), flute (Sir James Galway), tuba (Chuck Daellenbach), kazoo (Barry Manilow), cello (Yo-Yo Ma) and a plethora of others, including live bees ( Jean-Jacques Perrey, using samples).

Korsakovs use of bright orchestral colours make his compositions excellent for use in television and film production, and is easy to license as royalty free music.

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