Art Essays on The ballet Sheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Art Essays The ballet Sheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov


The ballet ‘Sheherazade’ by is a very great musical piece. It was done by a Russian composer called Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The quote “Dance interprets the inner life of feeling with exceptional power. No other art surpasses dance in this respect”significantly fits in the ballet ‘Sheherazade’. This essay discusses the piece based on three questions.

Question One

The story of the ballet based on my viewing of the ballet reveals various aspects of orchestral work. First; it depicts a combination of two key features that are typical of the Russian pieces of music and particularly of Rimsky-Korsakov. This is seen from the colorful, dazzling orchestration. It gives a great depiction of Rimsky-Korsakov’s popularity in his works. The base motif which gives an opening to the primary movements gives a representation of the browbeat Sultan. The story work line is a score for a piccolo and two flutes with the second flute doubling the second piccolo for some bars, two oboes, two of the clarinets in  B♭ and A  four horns. It also gives representation in F, two bassoons, two trumpets in  B♭ and A, tuba, three trombones, tuba, snare and bass drums, cymbals,  tambourine, triangle, tam-tam, strings, and harp. The music suite structure is in four movements. There is a deep and formidable voice at the start of the first movement, representing the voice in the strings and the winds, sultan’s voice calling for his most new wife for entertainment. The wife, Scheherazade, represented through a light, melody from a lyrical solo violin, starts to develop her tale. The following movement opens up with a violin line from Scheherazade which is familiar and which get dissolved into the animated passages which are marches like. The third whimsical movement is a recount of a waltz time’s love story.

Question Two

The melody on the YouTube video of the ‘pas de deux’ between ‘Sheherazade’ and the ‘Golden Slave’ is such significance to their dance. This is because all the moves they make are in harmony with the melody. Because of the melody, someone can feel their dances even if they were deaf. The melody has blended perfectly with their dancing style and makes them be not just beautiful but one of the best. The sounds of the melody are also not too much as to make someone lose concentration on the dance on the floor. Due to the melody employed, they look more dazzling in their dancing regalia. The video leaves people in awe as to how orchestral work can be so beautiful.

Question Three

Rimsky-Korsakov finds the theme of ‘Sheherazade’ interesting because of its uniqueness. The orchestral presentation on this theme is found to be a hybrid of both Rimsky-Korsakov music and the Russian one. It is characterized by a deep interest in the eastern music with beautifully colorful orchestral work. The titles are deliberately made such that it is hard to claim the origin of the work unless if you listen to it. What the aim of this works is to make the listener feel as though they are listening to exquisitely presented pieces of fairy tales that no other person has ever presented. In a nutshell, the theme helps bring to the focus of anyone the Arabian or the Middle East fairy tale wonders which are rarely told. The themes though four only, put a lot of emphasis on the intended message of the orchestral work.