The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

(1844 - 1908)


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was born in Tikhvin in Russia. There he first heard the simple folk songs that left an indelible impression. His early ambitions lay not in music, however, but in a burning desire to become a naval officer. He joined the Corps of Naval Cadets in 1856 and while at sea composed a symphony, completed in 1865 with the encouragement of the composer Balakirev. The work showed great promise, especially in its orchestration; subsequently he was offered the professorship of composition at the St Petersburg Conservatoire. He was 27 years old.

Although unqualified for the position, he accepted and immediately became one of the most assiduous pupils, secretly studying harmony and counterpoint. Shortly afterwards he married Nadezhda Purgold, also a composer, and at that time a musician far superior to her husband.

During his self-imposed programme of study he produced compositions that were dry and academic; but in 1882 his opera The snow maiden revealed a new, more personal voice with its clever intertwining of fantasy and comedy. Surprisingly, the next few years yielded no new compositions. Finally 1 887 ushered in an era of fresh creativity, inaugurated with the Gapriccio espagnol. This fantastically virtuosic work was interrupted at its rehearsals by applause from the orchestra itself, and was encored in full at its premiere. There followed the Russian Easter festival overture and then the exotic Sheherazade, derived from the classic tale the Thousand and one nights. All three works demonstrate Rimsky's mastery of orchestration.

In 1888, Rimsky heard the first performances in Russia of Wagner's Ring cycle, and was so overwhelmed that he resolved in future only to write operas. Over the next 20 years he composed 12, including Christmas Eve, Mozart and Salieri — based on Pushkin's play — and one of his finest works, Sadko. A setting of Russian folk legends, this work contains the famous "Hindu" song and marks the high point of Rimsky's love affair with the fantastic.

Rimsky's last completed opera, The Golden Cockerel (1907), based on Pushkin's satire about a bumbling autocracy, was banned by the Russian censor and remained unperformed during the composer's lifetime. His gift for lively and colourful orchestration is as alive in this work as throughout his entire output.


Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov



Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844 - 1908)



Irina Vasileva
"Oriental Song"

"Tsar Saltan"

Alexander Skwortsow, violin; Bert Mooiman, piano



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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