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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Biography

Along with Mussorgsky, Borodin, Balakirev and Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov belonged to a group of Russian composers known as the Mighty Five. Like his contemporaries, his work was strongly colored by national idioms, incorporating the polyphony and scales of Russian folksongs. Also typical of the Russian Five, Rimsky-Korsakov's musical training was considered by the standards of the day to be grossly inadequate. To the contrary, his limited training made him more willing to experiment with form and orchestration. Pieces such as "The Russian Easter Overture" and "The Golden Cockerel" utilize bright, fanciful orchestral color and modal scales of regional character that plunge the listener into dramatic, fairy-tale worlds. Though his compositions alone are enough to ensure him a lasting legacy, his teaching also had a profound impact on twentieth century music. One of Rimsky-Korsakov's leading students, Igor Stravinsky, was profoundly influenced by his teacher's orchestral style, incorporating it into many of his early works.
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