Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rimsky-Korsakov's Antar Symphony : a biographical and analytical study Krusek, Nicolas 2014

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


24-ubc_2014_september_krusek_nicolas.pdf [ 1.32MB ]
JSON: 24-1.0166957.json
JSON-LD: 24-1.0166957-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 24-1.0166957-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 24-1.0166957-rdf.json
Turtle: 24-1.0166957-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 24-1.0166957-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 24-1.0166957-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

    RIMSKY-KORSAKOV’S ANTAR SYMPHONY: A BIOGRAPHICAL AND ANALYTICAL STUDY   by   Nicolas Krusek    A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   MASTER OF ARTS   in   The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies   (Music)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA   (Vancouver)   August 2014   © Nicolas Krusek, 2014       ii  Abstract   Rimsky-Korsakov composed his Symphony No. 2, Antar, in 1868, during his apprenticeship to Balakirev and involvement with The Five. Based on an oriental tale by Osip Senkovsky, it was the first multi-movement, programmatic orchestral work in Russian music. Rimsky-Korsakov revised Antar twice, in 1875 – by which time he was a professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory – and 1897. This thesis will examine the original 1868 version of Antar by placing it in the context of his career and the influences that shaped his style. The first chapter presents a biographical sketch of Rimsky-Korsakov, with emphasis on his education and training, including his studies with Balakirev in the 1860s and his rigorous course of self-education in harmony, counterpoint, form, and orchestration in the 1870s. The second chapter begins with a summary of the tale by Senkovsky upon which the music is based, followed by an analysis of the themes, harmony, and orchestration of each movement of Antar. I will show how the form and character of the work are indebted to ideas espoused by Balakirev and The Five, including their fondness for program music, orientalism, unconventional scales and modes, and harmonic progressions based on common tones. I will also draw attention to aspects of the tonal organization and scoring that are elaborated in the composer’s textbook, the Practical Manual of Harmony. My objective is to show that Antar is both a summary of the fruits of Rimsky-Korsakov’s apprenticeship within Balakirev’s circle, as well as a foretaste of his mature compositional and theoretical interests.         iii  Preface  This thesis is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, N. Krusek.                                            iv  Table of Contents  Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Preface............................................................................................................................................ iii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .................................................................................................................................. v List of Examples ............................................................................................................................ vi Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................................... viii Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Chapter One: Biography ................................................................................................................. 4 Chapter Two: Analysis ................................................................................................................. 21 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................... 66 Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 70 Appendix: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Program of Antar ....................................................................... 73             v  List of Tables  Table 1 Summary of key relationships, in C major and A minor   ............................................ 18Table 2 Formal outline of first movement   ............................................................................... 25Table 3 Phrase structure of scherzo   ......................................................................................... 36Table 4 Formal outline of second movement   .......................................................................... 44Table 5 Formal outline of third movement   .............................................................................. 50Table 6 Harmonization of octatonic scale   ............................................................................... 51Table 7 Formal outline of fourth movement   ............................................................................ 57                              vi  List of Examples  Example 1 String Quartet in F major, first movement   .............................................................. 11Example 2 Keys in first degree of relationship, in C major and A minor  ................................. 17Example 3 Minor chord motive   ................................................................................................ 26Example 4 Augmented chord motive followed by minor arpeggio motive   .............................. 27Example 5 Antar’s theme   .......................................................................................................... 29Example 6 Three Antar motives   ............................................................................................... 30Example 7 Gul-Nazar’s theme   .................................................................................................. 30Example 8 Motive S1   ................................................................................................................ 34Example 9 Motive S2   ................................................................................................................ 34Example 10 Motive S3   ............................................................................................................ 34Example 11 Introductory phrase   ............................................................................................. 40Example 12 Syncopated version of introductory phrase   ......................................................... 42Example 13 Staccato triplet motive   ......................................................................................... 42Example 14 Rhythmic variation on introductory phrase   ......................................................... 43Example 15 Triumphal march   ................................................................................................. 47Example 16 Oriental cantabile melody   ................................................................................... 48Example 17 Viola accompaniment to third variation   .............................................................. 49Example 18 Horn fifths fanfare   ............................................................................................... 49Example 19 Harmonized octatonic scale   ................................................................................ 51Example 20 Mélodie arabe   ..................................................................................................... 53Example 21 Mélodie arabe with Gul-Nazar quintuplets   ......................................................... 54Example 22 Mélodie arabe conclusion with Gul-Nazar motive   ............................................. 55  vii  Example 23 Repetition of thirty-second-note flourishes   ......................................................... 56Example 24 Gazelle rhythm   .................................................................................................... 62                       viii  Acknowledgements   I wish to thank the members of my advisory committee – my thesis supervisor, Dr. Vera Micznik, and Dr. Hedy Law – for their helpful suggestions during the writing of this thesis.   1  Introduction   Rimsky-Korsakov composed his Symphony No. 2, Antar, in 1868, while he was a pupil of Balakirev and a member of the modernist, nationalist group of composers known as The Five. Based on an oriental tale by the Russian linguist Osip Senkovsky,1 This thesis will explore Antar from the perspective of Rimsky-Korsakov’s education, training, and the influences that contributed to the development of his style. The first chapter provides an overview of the composer’s professional development, focusing on his studies with Balakirev, his professorial duties at the conservatory, his burgeoning interest in the construction  it was the first multi-movement, programmatic orchestral work (following the example of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Harold en Italie) by a Russian composer. Rimsky-Korsakov revised Antar twice later in his career, by which time his personal and professional circumstances had changed considerably. When he undertook the first revision in 1875, he was a professor at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and was pursuing a comprehensive course of study in harmony, counterpoint, form, and orchestration. The second revision of the work dates from 1897, by which time he was regarded not only as Russia’s foremost composer, but as a respected teacher with a number of prominent students (including Alexander Glazunov and Anatoly Lyadov) and an influential textbook on harmony to his credit. Unlike the radical overhaul to which Rimsky-Korsakov subjected his first and third symphonies, however, the revisions to Antar are primarily concerned with details of phrase structure, modulation, chord voicing and instrumental balance; the substance and form of the work remain fairly consistent. He remained proud of the work and frequently included it in his concert programs to the end of his career.                                                   1 Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, ed. Carl Van Vechten, trans. Judah A. Joffe (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942), 88.     2  and technical capabilities of orchestral instruments, and his activities as Inspector of Naval Bands and assistant superintendant of the Court Chapel Choir. This chapter also introduces some concepts pertaining to Rimsky-Korsakov’s theories of modulation and tonal relationships – ideas that will prove to be relevant to the analytical observations in the following chapter. Much of the information presented here is based on first-hand accounts drawn from Rimsky-Korsakov’s autobiography, the recollections of his disciple, Vasily Yastrebtsev,2 and the observations of members of his circle, including César Cui3 and Vladimir Stasov.4 The writings of Gerald Abraham,5 David Brown,6 and Richard Taruskin7 The second chapter begins with a synopsis of the tale by Senkovsky from which Rimsky-Korsakov derived the program, have provided valuable insights on the composer and his contemporaries. 8 including its historical and literary antecedents, before proceeding with a movement-by-movement analysis of the form, tonal organization, thematic material, scoring, and programmatic meaning of Antar. To gain a deeper understanding of Rimsky-Korsakov’s approach to harmony and orchestration, I have found it useful to consult treatises on these subjects that he is known to have studied and used in his teaching, such as Berlioz’s Treatise on Instrumentation9                                                 2 Vasily Yastrebtsev, Reminiscences of Rimsky-Korsakov, ed. and trans. Florence Jonas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).  and Tchaikovsky’s Practical Guide to the Study of 3 Stuart Campbell, ed. and trans., Russians on Russian Music 1830-1880: An Anthology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). 4 Vladimir Stasov, Selected Essays on Music, trans. Florence Jonas (London: Cresset Press, 1968). 5 Gerald Abraham, Rimsky-Korsakov: A Short Biography (London: Duckworth, 1945). 6 David Brown, Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study, 4 vols. (London: V. Gollancz, 1978-91). 7 Richard Taruskin, Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); idem, On Russian Music (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009). 8 For an English translation of the tale, see Valentin Ivanovich Korovin, ed., Russian 19th-Century Gothic Tales (Moscow: Raguda Publishers, 1984), 225-50. 9 Hector Berlioz, Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary, ed. and trans. Hugh MacDonald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss, Treatise on Instrumentation, trans. Theodore Front (New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, 1948).   3  Harmony,10 as well as his own textbooks, the Practical Manual of Harmony and Principles of Orchestration.11 For a broader perspective on his harmonic thinking and its relation to the Russian and European theoretical traditions, the writings of Ellon Carpenter12 and Larisa Jackson13 have provided a helpful frame of reference. Finally, my analysis of Antar draws freely on the descriptions of the work found in Alexander Borodin’s review of the premiere14 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s autobiography.15 On the one hand, some of the basic characteristics of Antar – the programmatic inspiration, the fascination with orientalism, the use of unconventional scales and modes, and harmonic progressions based on common tones – may be traced to the influence of Rimsky-Korsakov’s mentor and colleagues (Balakirev and The Five) throughout the 1860s. On the other hand, certain features of the tonal organization and scoring of the work anticipate principles that were articulated more systematically later, in his textbook on harmony. A study of the original 1868 version of the work, undertaken in conjunction with a reading of the above-mentioned texts, reveals intriguing correlations between his mature, academic theory and youthful, instinctual practice. My objective is to show that Antar is both a retrospective work – a summary of the fruits of his apprenticeship within Balakirev’s circle – as well as a foretaste of his mature compositional and theoretical interests.                                                       10 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Practical Guide to the Study of Harmony, trans. Emil Krall and James Liebling (Brighton, MA: Carousel Publishing, 1983). 11 Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Practical Manual of Harmony, trans. Joseph Achron (New York: Carl Fisher, 1930); idem, Principles of Orchestration, ed. Maximilian Steinberg, trans. Edward Agate (New York: Dover Publications, 1964). 12 Ellon D. Carpenter, “Russian Music Theory: A Conspectus,” in Russian Theoretical Thought in Music, ed. Gordon D. McQueer (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1983), 1-82; idem, “The Theory of Music in Russia and the Soviet Union, ca. 1650-1950” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1988).  13 Larisa Petrushkevich Jackson, “Modulation and Tonal Space in the ‘Practical Manual of Harmony:’ Rimsky-Korsakov’s Harmonic Theory and its Historical Antecedents” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1996). 14 Campbell, Russians on Russian Music, 193-95. 15 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 92-96.   4  Chapter One: Biography   In his later years, Rimsky-Korsakov was fond of drawing attention to the poverty of his early musical training. Writing in the late 1880s, he describes himself in his mid-teens as follows: “As a musician I was then a young dilettante – in the full sense of the word. I studied somewhat lazily under Ulikh, improving but little as a pianist. . . . I had no idea of the theory of music, had not heard the name of a single chord, was unfamiliar with the names of the intervals. I had no thorough knowledge of scales and their structure.”16 A few pages later, he dismisses his own competence as a pianist with the words, “I did not play badly, but my playing was far from serious or impressive.”17 He then sums up his earliest efforts at composition by saying, “I did not even know the names of the principal chords, and yet I strained to compose nocturnes, variations, and what not. . . . Though my love for music was growing, I was but a dilettante pupil, playing the piano after a fashion and scribbling things on music paper.”18 Throughout his adolescent years, his family assumed that he would follow in the footsteps of his elder brother, Voin, and pursue a naval career rather than a musical one. And yet, within a decade, this dilettante would gain celebrity as the composer of the Symphony No. 1 in E-flat minor (1865),19 The decisive event of Rimsky-Korsakov’s early life was his encounter with Mily Balakirev in 1861, a meeting that left an overwhelming impression on the 17-year-old naval  the symphonic poem Sadko (1867), and the Symphony No. 2, Antar (1868). Given that Rimsky-Korsakov did not begin formally studying music theory until the early 1870s, how does one explain his emergence as a composer of considerable stature – and striking originality – in the late 1860s?                                                  16 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 14-15. Ulikh was a cellist who gave Rimsky-Korsakov occasional piano lessons in the late 1850s. 17 Ibid., 26. 18 Ibid., 26-27. 19 César Cui described this work as “the first Russian symphony.” See Campbell, Russians on Russian Music, 181.   5  officer and aspiring musician. By this time, Balakirev was already a well-established figure on the Saint Petersburg musical scene, having composed his Grand Fantasy on Russian Folksongs for piano and orchestra (1852), Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor (1855-56), Overture on a Spanish March Theme (1857), Overture on the Themes of Three Russian Songs (1858), incidental music to King Lear (1858-61), and various chamber and piano works. A virtuoso pianist with brilliant improvisational skills, a phenomenal memory, an encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary European music, and an energetic personality, Balakirev had already begun to attract a small band of disciples, including César Cui, Modest Musorgsky, and Alexander Borodin. Despite Rimsky-Korsakov’s lack of professional musical training, and despite his meager musical output to date, comprising a handful of piano pieces and songs (now lost), his new mentor encouraged him to embark on the composition of a symphony. Though the task was delayed by the young naval officer’s three-year-long tour of duty aboard the clipper Almaz (1862-65), the resulting Symphony No. 1 in E-flat minor was successfully premiered in December 1865 at a concert of the Free School of Music, conducted by Balakirev, and garnered a favorable review in the Saint Petersburg Gazette from César Cui.20 Given Rimsky-Korsakov’s rapid progress under Balakirev’s tutelage, it will be useful to consider the latter’s method of instruction. By all accounts, his pedagogical approach combined elements of inspiration and despotism. On the positive side, Balakirev’s remarkable musical knowledge and skills were recognized by everyone within his circle:    The spell of his personality was tremendous. Young, with marvelously alert eyes, with a  handsome beard; unhesitating, authoritative, and straightforward in speech; ready at any  moment for beautiful piano improvisations, remembering every bar of music familiar to  him, instantly learning by heart the compositions played for him, he was bound to  exercise that spell as no one else could.21                                                   20 Ibid., 183. 21 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 27-28.   6   His method consisted in playing and critiquing four-hand piano arrangements of musical compositions by the classical masters and by contemporary European and Russian composers. Orchestral, chamber, and piano works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Berlioz, Chopin, Liszt, Glinka, and Dargomyzhsky were mercilessly dissected and critiqued.22 According to Cui, “we [the members of Balakirev’s circle] played four-hands everything that was written before us. Everything was subject to severe criticism, and Balakirev analyzed the technical and creative aspects of compositions.”23 Among the works that found favor within the circle were Beethoven’s late quartets, Mendelssohn’s overtures to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Hebrides, Chopin’s Funeral March in B-flat minor and some of his mazurkas, Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, and the recitative portions of Dargomyzhsky’s Rusalka; in general, the works of Berlioz were “highly esteemed.”24 Compositions by members of the circle were also performed and critiqued. As in matters of taste and judgment, Balakirev had no scruples about imposing his will on his pupils, even to the point of direct interference in their works. As Cui would later recall, “he fussed over us like a hen over its chickens. All our first compositions underwent his strict censorship.” The force of Balakirev’s intelligence and personality ensured that his musical tastes, judgments, and prejudices were accepted by his disciples without question.  25 He instantly felt every technical imperfection or error, he grasped a defect in form at  once. Whenever I or other young men . . . played him our essays at composition, he  instantly caught all the defects in form, modulation, and so on, and forthwith seating  himself at the piano, he would improvise and show how the composition should be  changed exactly as he indicated. This impression is confirmed by Rimsky-Korsakov himself: 26                                                 22 Ibid., 20-21.  23 Jackson, “Modulation and Tonal Space,” 26-27. 24 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 20-21. 25 Jackson, “Modulation and Tonal Space,” 27. 26 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 27.   7   To what extent were the compositional habits of the members of the circle influenced by the tastes and preferences of their charismatic leader? Vladimir Stasov, the influential critic and unofficial spokesman of The Five, attempted to downplay this influence: “Even though the ‘Balakirev party’ . . . was closely knit and in complete accord as to its manner of thinking and artistic direction, its works did not bear the stamp of sameness and uniformity. They were as totally unlike as the natures of the composers themselves.”27 Rimsky-Korsakov, on the other hand, was more ambivalent on the subject of Balakirev’s compositional influence. In his autobiography he admits that Balakirev’s guidance of his fellow composers “placed a certain general stamp on them, the stamp of Balakirev’s taste and methods.”28 Moreover, he argued that this influence was audible in the music of these composers in the form of “certain melodic turns [that] were used, certain methods of modulation, certain instrumental colorings, etc., which had originated in the tendencies of Balakirev’s taste, in his own technique.”29 In a conversation with his disciple, Vasily Yastrebtsev, he is even more blunt in affirming the pervasive nature of Balakirev’s legacy: “Study Liszt and Balakirev more closely, and you’ll see that a great deal in me is not mine.”30 Although the extent of Balakirev’s influence on the compositions of his pupils is debatable, Rimsky-Korsakov evidently felt that certain features of his mentor’s style were audible in his own works; for example, his autobiography candidly acknowledges that the orchestration of Antar is indebted to Balakirev’s Overture on Czech Themes and Tamara.31 In his later years, Rimsky-Korsakov would often express doubts about the value of Balakirev’s teaching. This had less to do with his mentor’s dictatorial approach and more to do with his disdain for a systematic, academic approach to the rudiments of music. As Rimsky-                                                   27 Stasov, Selected Essays on Music, 94. 28 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 33. 29 Ibid. 30 Yastrebtsev, Reminiscences of Rimsky-Korsakov, 37. 31 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 95-96.   8  Korsakov began to spread his compositional wings, he felt increasingly restricted by his lack of technical knowledge and training, while Balakirev, who insisted on teaching his pupils according to the fashion by which he had taught himself, placed greater emphasis on inspiration and originality than on technique. While acknowledging his teacher’s “astonishing many-sided talent and experience,” acquired “quite without labor and without system,”32 Rimsky-Korsakov was frustrated by his inability to instruct others according to any kind of system. “Having himself gone through no preparatory school, Balakirev thought it unnecessary for others as well. There was no need of training; one must begin to compose outright, to create and learn through one’s own work of creation."33 Rimsky-Korsakov, however, began to feel the need for a more solid foundation of musical knowledge, including “a piano technique, the technique of harmony and counterpoint, and an idea of musical forms. He should have given me a few lessons in harmony and counterpoint, should have made me write a few fugues and explained the grammar of musical forms to me.”34 Eventually, Rimsky-Korsakov’s precise, intellectual nature began to chafe against the haphazard, unsystematic instruction he received from Balakirev. He felt an instinctive need to bring greater order to his compositional tools, to clarify his artistic aims, and to break away from his teacher’s oppressive influence. As Gerald Abraham has observed, “Many pages of his [Rimsky-Korsakov’s] memoirs are unpleasantly flavored with resentment against the man he had once idolized, 35 a resentment only partly justified by his belief that Balakirev had caused him to waste years of his life in following wrong paths.”36                                                 32 Ibid., 32.  While it is possible that Balakirev may have held Rimsky-Korsakov back from acquiring a professional compositional technique, he did 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid., 34. 35 For examples of Rimsky-Korsakov’s criticisms of Balakirev, see ibid., 33-35. 36 Gerald Abraham, Studies in Russian Music (London: William Reeves, 1935), 313.   9  enable his most gifted disciples to find an original, distinctive voice. His method of instruction exposed them to a broad and varied repertoire, all of which was studied in minute detail. He encouraged, exhorted and browbeat them into undertaking musical projects seemingly beyond their reach, including symphonies and operas. Though his despotic tendencies hardly endeared him to his pupils, he succeeded in motivating a group of men whose diverse professional backgrounds – military engineering (Cui), civil service (Musorgsky), navy (Rimsky-Korsakov), and chemistry (Borodin) – scarcely predisposed them to a successful musical career. Abraham is probably correct when he sums up Balakirev’s pedagogical achievement as follows: “He had bullied Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky and Borodin and Musorgsky, interfered in the composition of their works, helped them, exasperated them and outlived them all. Without Balakirev the Kuchkisti [the Five] would all have been different and lesser men; they might even have failed to become composers at all.”37 Rimsky-Korsakov would have to wait until the 1870s for an opportunity to study the rudiments of music and craft of composition systematically. In the summer of 1871, Mikhail Azanchevsky succeeded the conservative and pedantic theorist Nikolay Zaremba as director of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. 38                                                 37 Abraham, Studies in Russian Music, 312.  In a bid to inject new blood into the institution, Azanchevsky decided to invite the celebrated young composer of Sadko, Antar, and The Maid of Pskov to join the staff as professor of practical composition and instrumentation and director of the orchestra. Despite his woeful lack of preparation for the appointment, the financial and professional benefits of the position were too tempting to ignore; Rimsky-Korsakov gave the conservatory his consent and entered on his professional duties in the fall of that year. By his own admission, he was at first barely able to keep one step ahead of his pupils: “I was a 38 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 115-16.   10  dilettante and knew nothing . . . at the time I could not decently harmonize a chorale; not only had I not written a single counterpoint in my life, but I had hardly any notion of the structure of a fugue.”39 During the next few years he immersed himself in the study of harmony, counterpoint, form, and instrumentation. The treatises on counterpoint by Cherubini and Bellermann and the textbook on harmony by Tchaikovsky became his constant companions, and he wrote countless chorale harmonizations, figured bass exercises, and fugues, many of which he sent to Tchaikovsky for comments. He also gained valuable experience as a conductor by directing the conservatory orchestra. “Thus having been undeservedly accepted at the Conservatory as a professor, I soon became one of its best and possibly its very best pupil, judging by the quantity and value of the information it gave me!”40 At this time, Rimsky-Korsakov’s creative work gradually became saturated with the spirit of harmonic and contrapuntal technique. In the first version of his Symphony No. 3, composed in 1873, he “strove to crowd in as much counterpoint as possible.” 41 Consequently, most of his friends found the symphony dry and pedantic. Borodin, for example, characterized it as the work of “a professor who had put on spectacles and composed Eine grosse Symphonie in C, as befitted his rank.”42                                                 39 Ibid., 117.  The String Quartet in F major, composed later in the same year, fared even less well, its textures being continually overburdened with fugatos, double canons, strettos, and other contrapuntal devices. “My friends who had shown little enthusiasm for my Third Symphony were still less satisfied with my quartet,” the composer later recalled. Even Rimsky-Korsakov came to feel ashamed of the work: “I could not help feeling that in that quartet I really was not myself . . . the technique had not yet entered my flesh and blood, and it was still too early for me 40 Ibid., 119. 41 Ibid., 133. 42 Ibid., 141.   11  to write counterpoint and retain my own individuality.”43  The imitative passage from the first movement shown in example 1 typifies the monotonously repetitive, rhythmically rigid quality of the contrapuntal sections of the work. Example 1 String Quartet in F major, first movement                                                     43 Ibid., 151.   12   In a letter to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky described Rimsky-Korsakov’s dilemma as follows:  Korsakov is the only one of [The Five] to whom, some five years ago, the thought  occurred that the ideas preached by the circle had, in fact, no foundation, that their  contempt for training, for classical music, their hatred of precedents and of authorities  were nothing but ignorance. . . . He then asked what he ought to do. Of course he had to  study. And he began to study, but with such zeal that soon academic technique became an atmosphere indispensible to him. . . . From aversion to training he had, at one go, turned to the cult of musical technique. . . . Apparently he is now passing through this crisis, and how it will end is difficult to predict. Either a great master will come out of him, or he will finally become bogged down in contrapuntal tricks.44    In the spring of 1873, Rimsky-Korsakov was offered the newly-established post of Inspector of Music Bands of the Navy Department.45 Since this was a civilian post, the composer – to his relief – was finally allowed to part with his military rank and officer’s uniform. His duties included “the inspecting of all Navy Department Music Bands throughout Russia; thus [he] was to supervise the bandmasters and their appointments, the repertory, the quality of the instruments, etc.”46 The appointment awoke in him a long-standing desire to learn about the construction and technique of musical instruments. Having acquired various specimens of the woodwind and brass families and aided by fingering charts, he set about trying to learn to play as many instruments as possible. He received encouragement and assistance from Borodin, a skilled flautist who seemed to have a natural talent for learning the fingerings and method of tone production of other woodwind and brass instruments. During the next few years, Rimsky-Korsakov was able to apply his newly-acquired knowledge of wind instruments to the task of orchestrating music for military bands, including excerpts from operas by Glinka, Meyerbeer, and Wagner and marches by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, and Schubert.47                                                 44 David Brown, Tchaikovsky, 2:228-29.   45 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 135. 46 Ibid., 135-36. 47 Ibid., 141-42.   13   Rimsky-Korsakov’s growing experience as an orchestral conductor also proved to be of value to his musical development. Besides directing the student orchestra at the conservatory, he made his public debut as a conductor with the premiere of his Symphony No. 3 in a varied program that included works by Cui, Glinka, Musorgsky, Rubinstein, Serov, and others.48 Then, in the autumn of 1874, he was invited to replace Balakirev as director of the Free Music School, a position that involved conducting regular orchestral and choral concerts throughout the season. The program of his first concert with the orchestra and chorus of the Free School, which took place in the spring of 1875, included excerpts from Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Allegri’s Miserere, a Haydn symphony in D major, a Kyrie by Palestrina, and excerpts from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.49 His subsequent concerts with the school alternated between programs devoted to early music and works by contemporary European and Russian composers.50 There is no doubt that these diverse stimuli had a far-reaching effect on Rimsky-Korsakov’s compositions, difficult though it must have been for him to absorb so many new influences. The works composed during the period of his intensive contrapuntal and harmonic studies, such as the first version of the Symphony No. 3 and the String Quartet, were so overloaded with imitative textures and surface complexities that his colleagues were moved to remark on their “dryly pedantic” character. Rimsky-Korsakov’s activities as a conductor served to broaden his musical horizons beyond the repertoire he had encountered under Balakirev’s tutelage; in particular, he came to appreciate the works of classical and pre-classical composers for whom his former colleagues in The Five had shown little interest. 51                                                 48 Ibid., 139-40.  Even the composer recognized that his newly-49 Ibid., 153-54. 50 Abraham, Rimsky-Korsakov, 57. 51 Brown, Tchaikovsky, 2:229.   14  acquired technical proficiency had not yet become a natural part of his musical self-expression. Gradually, though, he grew more confident at reconciling the demands of technique and individual creativity, and his subsequent works, beginning in the late 1870s and early 1880s with the operas The Snow Maiden and May Night, would benefit from greater motivic coherence, smoother modulations and more polished orchestration. In addition to creating new compositions, over the next two decades Rimsky-Korsakov would undertake thorough revisions of the major works composed in the first ten years of his career, including Symphony No. 1, the Overture on Three Russian Themes, Sadko, Antar, The Maid of Pskov, and Symphony No. 3. His increasing technical fluency inspired an attitude of self-criticism toward his earlier works, accompanied by a desire to purge them of what he now saw as their imperfections and reshape them into a form more congruous with his mature standards of craftsmanship.  The nature of the revisions to these works ranges from minor improvements to the harmony, voice-leading, and phrase structure, to the wholesale reworking and transposition of sections and movements; at one extreme, the entire First Symphony was transposed up a semitone, from E-flat minor to E minor, to make the work more playable for amateur ensembles. The orchestration was often substantially changed, either to make the parts for specific instruments more idiomatic or to achieve better balance. Here, Rimsky-Korsakov’s practical knowledge of the capabilities of musical instruments, acquired through his experience as a conductor and his hands-on exposure to the intricacies of their fingerings and embouchures, kept him in good stead. Having gained a deeper understanding of the technical characteristics of each family in the orchestra and a more acute sensitivity to the challenges of blend and balance within the orchestra, he was able to present his imaginatively scored early works in a more successful   15  form by clarifying thick textures, softening accompanimental parts, and strengthening melodic lines through instrumental doubling.  In the summer of 1882, Rimsky-Korsakov made the acquaintance of a wealthy timber merchant, amateur musician, and patron of the arts named Mitrofan Belyayev. During the next few years, Belyayev – motivated by a desire to support art music in Russia – founded a music publishing house, two concert series, and a number of annual prizes for promising composers.52 Together with his former pupils and fellow conservatory professors, Alexander Glazunov and Anatoly Lyadov, Rimsky-Korsakov served as Belyayev’s chief advisor in the doling out of monetary awards and other favors to talented Russian musicians.53 Thus, the influence of these three composers extended beyond the walls of the classroom to embrace many aspects of Russian musical life, including composition, performance and publishing. The school that formed around Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, and Lyadov came to be known as the Belyayev circle, after its patron. Though no less committed to the principles of nationalism, folklorism, and orientalism than The Five had been, this new faction had a different approach to musical aesthetics and technique. While the Balakirev circle had favored opera and program music, the Belyayev circle preferred chamber music and absolute symphonic works. While the Balakirev circle was anti-academic, iconoclastic, and individualistic, the Belyayev circle was dedicated to craftsmanship and correctness of harmony, counterpoint, and form.54 Balakirev’s circle corresponded to the period of storm and stress in the evolution of  Rimsky-Korsakov described the difference between the two groups as follows:  Russian music; Belyayev’s circle represented the period of calm, onward march.  Balakirev’s circle was revolutionary, Belyayev’s, on the other hand, was progressive. . . .  Balakirev’s circle consisted of musicians of feeble technique, amateurs almost, who were  pioneering by sheer force of their creative talents. . . . Belyayev’s circle, on the contrary,                                                  52 Abraham, Rimsky-Korsakov, 75. 53 Taruskin, Defining Russia Musically, 82-83. 54 Ibid.   16   consisted of composers and musicians technically trained and educated. . . . Balakirev’s  circle did not want to study, but broke new paths forward, relying upon its powers,  succeeding therein and learning; Belyayev’s circle studied, attaching as it did great  importance to technical perfection, but it also broke new paths, though more securely,  even if less speedily.55   By the early 1880s, Rimsky-Korsakov’s career had settled into a routine of teaching at the conservatory and regular appearances as a conductor at concerts of the Russian Musical Society in both Saint Petersburg and Moscow. At the end of 1881, he resigned directorship of the Free Music School, mostly due to lack of time, as he was occupied with editing and revising Musorgsky’s works in the years following his colleague’s death (after 1887, he and Glazunov would perform the same service for Borodin). His post as inspector of naval bands was abolished in the spring of 1884 – with few regrets on his side, since by this time he was busy with his duties as assistant superintendent of the Court Chapel Choir, a position to which he had been appointed at the beginning of 1883. His duties at the chapel included providing elementary instruction in piano and theory for the youngest singers and, beginning in 1884, teaching the more advanced classes in harmony.56 The harmony classes at the chapel inspired Rimsky-Korsakov to write his influential textbook, the Practical Manual of Harmony. Until then, he had used Tchaikovsky’s Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony  in his conservatory classes and his private lessons, but he eventually found his colleague’s system unsatisfactory. Rimsky-Korsakov’s approach to harmonic pedagogy differs from that of his predecessors in four respects: firstly, his introduction of the so-called harmonic major scale – a major scale with a lowered sixth – which allows for a greater number of chords in the major mode, due to the possibilities offered by modal mixture (such as the minor triad on IV and the half-diminished-seventh chord on II); his restriction to the                                                    55 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 286-87. 56 Ibid., 267, 271.   17  use of the three primary triads in the first section of his manual;57 thirdly, his avoidance of figured-bass exercises, in favor of an increased emphasis on melodic harmonization; and fourthly, his unconventional approach to key relatedness and modulation.58 Unlike many earlier theorists, who determined the relatedness of tonalities on the basis of common tones and similarity of key signatures, Rimsky-Korsakov believed that the first degree of relationship is defined by the six keys whose tonic triads are included within the source key. In C major, for example, the six most closely related keys are D minor, E minor, F minor, F major, G major, and A minor; the inclusion of F minor alongside F major is a consequence of the equal status of the natural and harmonic major scales and, therefore, of the major and minor subdominant triads. In A minor, the six most closely related keys are C major, D minor, E minor, E major, F major, and G major; the inclusion of E major alongside E minor is a result of the equality of the natural and harmonic minor scales and, thus, of the minor and major dominant triads.59  The keys in the first degree of relationship are shown in example 2. Example 2 Keys in first degree of relationship, in C major and A minor60                                                   57 Tchaikovsky’s guide allows the pupil free use of all triads in the major mode from the very first exercise; see Carpenter, “Russian Music Theory,” 19. 58 Ibid., 22. 59 Rimsky-Korsakov, Practical Manual of Harmony, 51. 60 Ibid.   18   Rimsky-Korsakov described the second degree of relationship as comprising “all keys whose tonic triads are not included in the given key, but which have at least one triad in common.”61 Larisa Jackson observes that this definition “always entails a compounding of the 1st-degree relationship (because every triad is shared as the tonic of a 1st-degree key).”62 In other words, the keys in the second degree of relationship to C major may be determined by adding up all the 1st-degree keys of D minor, E minor, F minor, F major, G major and A minor. Once duplicates are eliminated, this leaves a total of twelve different keys. Rimsky-Korsakov referred to the five remaining keys – those that are not in the first or second degree of relationship – as “remote or distant tonalities.”63  The relationships described in the preceding paragraphs are summarized in Table 1. Table 1 Summary of key relationships, in C major and A minor Source key C a First degree d ,  e ,  f ,  F ,  G ,  a C ,  d ,  e ,  E ,  F ,  G Second degree C# / Db,  D ,  Eb,  E ,  g , Ab,  A ,  a# / bb,  Bb,  b , B / Cb,  c a# / bb,  Bb,  b ,  B / Cb, c ,  c#,  D ,  f ,  f#,  g , g# / ab,  A Remote or distant c#,  d# / eb,  f#, F# / Gb,   g# / ab C# / Db,  d# / eb,  Eb, F# / Gb,  Ab    Rimsky-Korsakov’s textbook on harmony projects an orderly, systematic view of tonal space. It is characteristic of his rationalistic approach to compositional issues that he should wish                                                  61 Ibid., 61. 62 Jackson, “Modulation and Tonal Space,” 57. 63 Rimsky-Korsakov, Practical Manual of Harmony, 65   19  to integrate every possible tonal relationship – no matter how close or remote – into a carefully thought-out system; indeed, the more remote the relationship, the greater the need for a coherent modulatory plan. This desire for a logical approach to harmony and tonality was an expression of Rimsky-Korsakov’s struggle to bring order into the increasingly volatile, chromatic language of late-nineteenth-century music. The analysis of Antar in the next chapter will show that many of the boldest harmonic strokes in his compositions – involving hexatonic, whole-tone, and octatonic collections – are undergirded by a meticulous organization of pitch material and voice-leading.   In addition to his exploration of the possibilities of harmony and modulation, Rimsky-Korsakov had a life-long fascination with the expressive potential of modern orchestration – sparked at an early age by his exposure to the operatic scores of Glinka and to Berlioz’s Treatise on Instrumentation. This fascination with the orchestra was reignited in the middle of the 1888-89 season when a touring German opera company conducted by Karl Muck presented four complete cycles of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov attended all the rehearsals with great interest, following the music with score in hand. “Wagner’s method of orchestration struck Glazunov and me,” Rimsky-Korsakov would later write, “and thenceforth Wagner’s devices gradually began to form a part of our orchestral tricks of the trade.”64For Rimsky-Korsakov, Wagner’s “method ” implied, among other things, an increase in the size of the orchestra, especially the wind family. He first put this device to use in his orchestration of the Polonaise from Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov, a minor opus he would later describe as “my first essay in the new field of orchestration that I entered therewith.”  65                                                 64 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 297-98.  His next 65 Ibid., 298.   20  attempt at Wagnerian orchestration – the opera-ballet Mlada – was on a more ambitious scale, with respect to both duration and instrumental forces. Composed between 1889 and 1890, this score features the largest orchestra of any of his works, including four flutes, three oboes, four clarinets, three bassoons, six horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, and a large and varied percussion section. In this work he employs a number of instruments that seldom appear in his other scores, such as alto flute, small clarinet, and alto trumpet in F. In general, Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration from the late 1880s onward was weightier and more sensuous than before, though he never again attempted anything on the scale of Mlada. Instead, the sumptuousness of orchestral sound in his post-Mlada operas66Throughout his career, Rimsky-Korsakov was exposed to a wide variety of influences, from the iconoclasm and modernism of the Balakirev circle to the academic respectability of the conservatory. The analysis of the original version of Antar in the following chapter will demonstrate the importance of his apprenticeship within The Five, while also providing hints of the burgeoning need for structure and systematization that would become an integral component of his mature musical thought.   is achieved through the richer use of instrumental doublings and mixed timbres. It is important to note, however, that the clarity of texture that Rimsky-Korsakov had learned from his studies of Glinka’s operas and Berlioz’s treatise – typified by such early works as Sadko and Antar – was never abandoned. On the contrary, the characteristic orchestral sound of his mature works is a synthesis of the precision and transparency of his youthful style with the fullness and richness that had impressed him so greatly in Wagner’s music.                                                    66 These include Christmas Eve (1895), Sadko (1898), The Tsar’s Bride (1899), Tsar Saltan (1900), The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (1907), and The Golden Cockerel (1909).   21  Chapter Two: Analysis   The subject of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Antar Symphony is the pre-Islamic Arab warrior and poet ‘Antara ibn Shaddād, who lived in the second half of the sixth century A.D. The life of the historical ‘Antara is shrouded in mystery, though most sources seem to agree that he was a dark-skinned slave – the son of an Arab father and black mother – who won his freedom through acts of bravery in battle and whose poetry was published in a famous collection of mu‘allaqāt poems.67 After his death, his legendary feats of courage and strength were exaggerated and circulated in various oral traditions, eventually forming the basis for the popular epic Sīrat ‘Antar ibn Shaddād.68 This epic, one of the longest works of Arabic fiction, was probably compiled between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries and exists in several slightly different versions.69 The tale by Osip Senkovsky (published in 1833) from which Rimsky-Korsakov derived his program is based neither on the oral anecdotes concerning the legendary ‘Antar, nor on the epic Sīrat ‘Antar; rather, it is an original story set in an eastern milieu that aims to recapture the atmosphere and style of Arabic popular fiction.70    The events of the tale may be summarized as follows:  Antar has developed a loathing for his fellow men because they have rewarded his valor and generosity with wickedness. He has fought for them, given away his possessions to aid them, and in return he has received nothing but hatred and betrayal. He has retreated to the ruins of Palmyra in the desert of Sham, vowing never again to set eyes on the race of men.                                                  67 Literally, “hanging” or “suspended” poems. See Peter Heath, The Thirsty Sword: Sīrat ‘Antar and the Arabic Popular Epic (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1996), 24.  68 For more information on ‘Antara and the Sīrat ‘Antar ibn Shaddād, see Heath, The Thirsty Sword, 22-30, and Remke Kruk, “Sīrat ‘Antar ibn Shaddād,” in Arabic Literature in the Post-Classical Period, ed. Roger Allen and D. S. Richards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 292-306. 69 Heath, The Thirsty Sword, 27-29. 70 Korovin, Russian 19th-Century Gothic Tales, 226-27.   22   There he sees a gentle, graceful gazelle trotting across the desert. Tormented by hunger, he mounts his horse and sets off in pursuit of the animal. As he is about to overtake his prey and strike it with his spear, a horrible sound rends the air, and the light of the sun is eclipsed by the shadow of a gigantic bird that is also chasing the gazelle. Antar now feels sorry for the gazelle and attacks the monster instead, hurling his spear into its breast. With a loud cry of anguish, the bird retreats into the distance; the gazelle also disappears, leaving Antar alone in the desert. Exhausted from the struggle, he returns to the ruins and falls asleep on a large slab of hewn rock.  In a dream-like vision, Antar sees himself in the midst of a splendid palace where an army of servants entertains him with charming songs and plies him with food and wine. He is in the home of the mysterious queen of Palmyra, the Peri Gul-Nazar, whose life he had saved when she took the form of a gazelle to escape from the clutches of an evil spirit. The grateful Peri wishes to reward Antar with the three pleasures of life, warning him, however, that each one leaves a bitter aftertaste that can only be cured by a new pleasure. The vision disappears and Antar awakes to find himself alone once more amidst the ruins.  The first gift bestowed upon Antar is the pleasure of revenge. With Gul-Nazar’s protection he is able to destroy all his enemies, scattering their bloody remains across the desert as carrion for ravens and wolves. He gives full vent to his bloodlust and thirst for vengeance until, at last, no further object of his hatred remains. Having killed every one of his foes, Antar is left with a feeling of emptiness, an appalling weariness of the soul for which there is no relief. He returns to the Peri, who offers him a temporary balm for his wounded spirit in the form of another pleasure.  The second gift of the Peri is the pleasure of power. Upon leaving her palace, Antar becomes the ruler of countless tribes who unite around him as a single powerful nation. He finds   23  the joy of ruling over men like himself exhilarating, surpassing even the sweetness of vengeance. At first, he tries to use his power to promote the general welfare and share his happiness with others. He soon discovers, however, that the common throng whose well-being he wishes to serve care nothing for his benevolent plans. He begins to suspect that those closest in confidence to him are merely using him to advance their own petty motives and personal gain. His benevolence gradually deteriorates into willfulness and spite; feelings of suspicion and fear of betrayal gnaw at his soul without respite. Disgusted at being burdened with such useless power, Antar flees to the ruins of Palmyra for the last time.  Finally, Antar is to experience the pleasure of love; this he finds in the arms of the Peri herself, who transforms into a beautiful Bedouin maiden. But the Peri reminds him that this is the last of the three pleasures, and that the bitter aftertaste it leaves cannot be cured by anything else. Antar therefore begs her to extinguish his life at the first sign of this bitterness, and she swears to do exactly that. After many years of bliss, the Peri notices one day that Antar is growing bored and distracted. With tears in her eyes, she embraces him and kisses him passionately. His heart is inflamed with ever greater ardor until, in the throes of ecstasy, he perishes in the arms of his beloved, his soul forever united with hers.   Rimsky-Korsakov’s Antar is a four-movement program symphony in which the principal protagonists – Antar and Gul-Nazar – are represented by musical themes that recur throughout the work. Both of the contemporary primary sources pertaining to the symphony – Alexander Borodin’s review of the premiere and Rimsky-Korsakov’s description in his autobiography71                                                 71 See Campbell, Russians on Russian Music, 193-95, and Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 92-96.  – are in complete agreement regarding the identification of the themes with the characters and the overall correlation between the music and the program. Rimsky-Korsakov’s program for the   24  work, given in the appendix, was included (in Russian and French) as a preface to the full scores published by the firm of V. Bessel and Co. in 1880 (second version), 1903 (revised second version), and 1913 (third version). The same program was reprinted (in Russian and English) in the Complete Collected Works edition of the scores (first, second, and third versions) published by Muzyka in 1949.72 The essence of the program is as follows: the first movement follows the early stages of the narrative fairly closely (Antar in the desert, the episode with the gazelle and the bird, and Antar’s vision in the palace of the Peri), while the three subsequent movements depict, in a general manner, the three pleasures bestowed upon the hero (vengeance, power, and love). Before proceeding to a more detailed examination of Rimsky-Korsakov’s treatment of the program, I will provide an overview of the motivic and thematic ideas, harmonic language, tonal structure, and overall form of each movement of the work.73 The four movements of the symphony are tonally anchored in the keys of F-sharp minor, C-sharp minor, B minor/D major, and D-flat major, respectively. The first movement, broadly speaking, is a tripartite structure with the outer parts in a slow 4/4 flanking a dancelike scherzo in 6/8. The first slow part encloses a fast section in 3/4, while the scherzo includes a brief digression in a slow 4/4. Table 2 provides an overview of the movement’s large-scale organization.                                                            72 Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Antar (Saint Petersburg: V. Bessel, 1903), n.p.; Antar, ed. Maximilian Steinberg, Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy 17A-17B (Moscow: Muzgiz, 1949), n.p. The English version given in the appendix is taken from the latter source. 73 The following analysis is based on the original 1868 version of the score.   25  Table 2 Formal outline of first movement Rehearsal number Number of measures Tempo and meter Motive Key  41 Slow 4/4 minor chords augmented chord minor arpeggio Antar f# – d – a#   f# –  a# – b 4 76 (30 + 46) Fast 3/4 Gul-Nazar hexatonic tremolo whole-tone tremolo d  d –  f# 9 5 Slow 4/4 Gul-Nazar Antar f# 10 124 (30 + 54 + 40) Fast 6/8 wind chords S1 – S2 – S3 Antar F# F# –  D –  Eb g# –  f# –  c# 18 12 Slow 4/4 Gul-Nazar Antar b 19 23 Fast 6/8 S3 – S1 – S2 F# 21 18 Slow 4/4 minor chords augmented chord minor arpeggio Antar a# –  f#   f#    26   The first section of the movement introduces three motives, all of which share a commonality of pitch material derived from the hexatonic collection.74 The first motive is a sequence of three pairs of minor chords played by three bassoons in close harmony (the pairings are indicated by slurs and ties; see example 3). The chords in each pair are related by an interval of a major third between their respective roots: F-sharp – D,  D – B-flat,  A-sharp – F-sharp, outlining an augmented chord. Because the cycle involves a tripartite division of the octave, it always returns to its starting point after three moves.75  These progressions and their scoring produce an eerie effect, introducing the listener to the exotic world of Senkovsky’s tale. Example 3 Minor chord motive    The voice-leading within each pair of chords is always the same: the second bassoon sustains the same pitch over the bar line, while the first and third bassoons move by semitone in contrary motion (the former moving upward, the latter moving downward). The motive exhibits voice-leading parsimony – or what Arnold Schoenberg called the “law of the shortest way”76                                                 74 Richard Cohn, Audacious Euphony: Chromaticism and the Triad’s Second Nature (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 51-54.  – in the sense that it employs common tones and motion by semitone between chords. 75 Richard Taruskin, liner notes to Rimsky-Korsakov: The Complete Symphonies, Göteborgs Symfoniker, conducted by Neeme Järvi, Deutsche Grammophon 459 512-2, CD, 1988. 76 Arnold Schoenberg, Theory of Harmony, trans. Roy E. Carter (London: Faber and Faber, 1978), 39.   27   The second motive (example 4) is played by strings over a quiet triplet rhythm in the timpani, and features a sustained augmented-triad sonority (F-natural, A, C-sharp) with triplet figures that briefly sound the upper neighbor tones (D, B-flat) to the underlying harmony.77  The third motive (example 4) is a rising D-minor arpeggio, beginning in the strings and continued by the upper woodwinds, with an added B-flat and C-sharp. Example 4 Augmented chord motive followed by minor arpeggio motive         augmented chord motive          minor arpeggio motive   There are at least two possible ways of hearing the third motive. Given that C-sharp is enharmonically equivalent to D-flat, one may regard the overall sonority as an amalgamation of                                                  77 Cohn, Audacious Euphony, 52.   28  D minor and B-flat minor harmonies. This seems to be Richard Cohn’s interpretation, since he describes the passage as alternating “between two minor triads, in 6/3 and 6/4 inversion, respectively, neither of which projects convincingly as an object of prolongation.”78 All three motives are repeated in the same sequence at  1 , with the first motive transposed down a minor sixth and the second and third motives transposed up a major third. The sequence of minor chords in the bassoons is A-sharp – F-sharp,  F-sharp – D, D – B-flat; the same augmented harmony underlies the second motive, though now spelled A, C-sharp, E-sharp; and finally, the third phrase (the minor arpeggio motive) concludes in F-sharp minor. As Cohn has observed, the entire stretch of music up to  2  is purely hexatonic – in other words, every note in the first twenty-four measures of the piece is drawn from a collection of six pitches formed from two augmented triads a semitone apart: On the other hand, because it receives greater melodic emphasis, I am more inclined to hear the D minor triad as the prevailing harmony, to which the B-flat and C-sharp relate as 6 and #7. Indeed, the phrase eventually resolves – albeit weakly – to an unadorned D minor triad. 79 A, C-sharp, E-sharp, and B-flat, D, F-sharp.80                                                 78 Ibid., 54.  The use of this collection contributes to a feeling of tonal vagueness that permeates the beginning of this movement. In the first motive, the presentation of equidistant minor chords (the roots of which partition the octave into symmetrical segments) precludes the sense of any one chord functioning as a governing tonic. The second motive, the harmony of which is also based on an equal division of the octave (namely, an augmented chord), is likewise noncommittal in its tonal affiliation. A feeling of tonal definition begins to emerge with the rising minor arpeggios of the third motive, though this is undermined by the chromaticism on the third and fourth beats 79 Ibid., 51-52. 80 Taken as a whole, the hexatonic collection comprises alternating semitones and minor thirds (or augmented seconds): A, B-flat, C-sharp, D, E-sharp, F-sharp.   29  (the augmented second between the sixth and raised seventh degrees) and the absence of cadential confirmation.  In addition to the introductory motives described above, there are two themes that appear repeatedly throughout this movement and the subsequent movements: namely, the idées fixes associated with Antar and Gul-Nazar. Given the importance of these themes, not only to the first movement but to the symphony as a whole, it will be useful to consider them in detail. Antar’s theme, first heard in the violas at  2 , is shown in example 5.  Example 5 Antar’s theme    Although the accompanying harmony, with its extended tonic pedal leading to a half cadence, suggests F-sharp minor, the E-natural and D-sharp (♮ 7ˆ  and # 6ˆ , respectively) in the melody give the theme a Dorian-mode quality. Antar’s theme may be subdivided into three motives, each approximately one measure long: motives A1 and A2, which figure prominently in   30  the imitative passages of the second movement; and motive A3, which plays a crucial role throughout each of the four movements. These three motives are shown in example 6.  Example 6 Three Antar motives    motive A1   motive A2   motive A3    Gul-Nazar’s theme, first heard in the flute at  4 , is shown in example 7.  Example 7 Gul-Nazar’s theme     This theme is distinguished by an iambic (short-long) rhythmic pattern followed by a pair of quintuplet figures. The augmented second between the two uppermost pitches (B-flat and C-sharp) lends the melody an exotic air, suggesting the Peri’s Middle-Eastern provenance, while   31  the long-held pedal tones in the horns create a sense of harmonic stasis. The theme recurs, with minor variations in rhythm and intervallic content, throughout the first and fourth movements, almost invariably in the flute or clarinet; in the last movement it becomes gradually merged with the Melodie arabe (see below).  The initial statement of Antar’s theme in the violas at  2  provides the first clear sense of the home key, F-sharp minor. The theme is supported by three measures of  tonic harmony in the horns and trombones, leading to a half cadence in the fourth measure. This is followed by the minor arpeggio motive, now in A-sharp minor (with F-sharp and G-double-sharp added). A restatement of Antar’s theme follows at  3 , beginning in F-sharp minor but concluding, unexpectedly, with a half cadence in A minor. The introduction concludes with the minor arpeggio motive in B minor (with G-natural and A-sharp added). By now we expect this motive to end with a resolution to a B minor chord, but instead it leads to a weak cadence in G minor. Both B minor and G minor are foreign to the hexatonic collection established by the three introductory motives at the outset of the movement.  The fast 3/4 section beginning at  4  introduces Gul-Nazar’s theme in the solo flute, accompanied by a long-held A in the second pair of horns, a repeated dotted-rhythmic figure in the first violins (also on A), and arpeggiated chords in the two harps. Steven Griffiths describes the accompanying harmonies in the harp as “chords unrelated to each other excepts by the common note, A.”81                                                 81 Steven Griffiths, A Critical Study of the Music of Rimsky-Korsakov,1844-1890 (New York: Garland Publishing, 1989), 98.  This is fairly accurate, though it is worth mentioning that A is initially introduced as a dissonant pedal tone against a half-diminished seventh chord on E, and occasionally functions as the seventh of a chord on B-natural; thus, it is not always treated as a   32  stable or consonant chord tone. The passage between  4  and  6  ranges over a wide harmonic terrain, though the dominant of D minor seems to serve as focal point.  The ominous sixteenth-note tremolos in the lower strings at  6  return us to a familiar harmonic idiom: the pitch content of this passage (A, B-flat, C-sharp, D, F) is drawn from the same hexatonic collection that opened the symphony. This becomes especially explicit four measures before  7 , when the entire collection is used as the basis for a fortissimo tremolo figure in the strings that rises through three octaves. At  7 , however, there is a startling change of harmony: the upper half of the first violins outline a descending whole-tone scale, which is harmonized on the strong (first and second) beats with major chords, while the third beat of each measure is harmonized with dissonant seventh and ninth chords. The descending whole-tone passage is repeated a major third lower at  8 , now harmonized with a mixture of major and augmented chords and a low C-sharp pedal in the timpani and cellos. The section concludes with a brief reprise of the ominous lower-string tremolos, now centered on C-sharp rather than A, but still drawing on the same hexatonic collection. The juxtaposition of hexatonic and whole-tone material in this section is fascinating. Both collections are formed from a pair of augmented triads: in the former case, as mentioned above, these are a semitone apart (A, C-sharp, E-sharp, and B-flat, D, F-sharp); in the latter case, they are a whole-tone apart (A, C-sharp, E-sharp, and G, B, D-sharp). Furthermore, both collections testify to Rimsky-Korsakov’s fondness for partitioning the octave into equal segments based on the interval of a major third.  The fast 3/4 section is followed by a brief reprise – in five measures of slow 4/4 – of the two most important themes of the movement: Gul-Nazar’s theme, played by unaccompanied solo flute; and Antar’s theme, played by violas accompanied by horns and trombones, as before. Both   33  themes are heard in F-sharp minor, the latter concluding with a half cadence, as at its initial appearance.  The 6/8 scherzo section in F-sharp major that begins at  10  opens with another sustained pedal in the horns – this time on C-sharp – against which the flutes and clarinet unfold an otherworldly series of harmonies: G-sharp half-diminished seventh – E-sharp half-diminished seventh; C-sharp half-diminished seventh – F-sharp dominant seventh. Although this sequence seems to have little in common with the brooding hexatonic music from the introduction, the voice-leading is an extension of the principle observed in the opening minor chord motive: each pair of adjacent chords has two pitches in common, while the other two voices move by semitone in contrary motion. The second chord of each pair is elaborated with descending sixteenth-note arpeggios played by three violins soli in close harmony.  Much of the scherzo section is constructed from three new motives. The first of these is a lilting phrase with staccato sixteenth notes (motive S1; see example 8). The second and third motives are closely related, both sharing the same hemiola rhythm and basic contour. The initial variant is more legato and  begins with a repeated pitch in a quarter-note rhythm (motive S2; see example 9). The second variant has a staccato character and features a pair of stepwise ascending eighth notes on the first downbeat and a sixteenth-note triplet figure on the second downbeat (motive S3; see example 10).    34  Example 8 Motive S1   Example 9 Motive S2      Example 10 Motive S3    35   Motive S1 is introduced by the violins at  11 . It is harmonized very simply, with tonic chords (in 6/3 position) in the odd-numbered measures alternating with submediant chords in the even-numbered measures. The first four-measure phrase is in F-sharp major; the second phrase is transposed down by major third to D major. In the subsequent course of the scherzo’s development, motive S1 is usually presented as a consequent phrase to either motive S2 or motive S3.  Motive S2 is first heard – hesitantly – in the solo flute just before  11 , and is repeated by the upper half of the violas four measures before  12 . This motive is often heard in E-flat major in the woodwinds, accompanied by a soft yet energetic rhythmic figure in the timpani (see four measures before  13 , four measures before  14 , and four measures after  16 ). Motive S2 is also occasionally combined contrapuntally with Antar’s theme: at  14 , eight measures before  17 , and at  17 .  Motive S3 is the most frequently repeated idea in the scherzo; indeed, it seems to function as a refrain throughout this section. It is always heard in the tonic, though sometimes with a minor-mode inflection (D-natural and E-natural) in the first measure. This motive is usually supported by a sustained tonic-dominant drone in the cellos. As mentioned above, it can be combined in an antecedent-consequent relationship with motive S1.  The following table provides a summary of the form and phrase structure of the scherzo, including the distribution of the principal motives and key areas.      36  Table 3 Phrase structure of scherzo Rehearsal number Number of measures Motive Key 10 10 woodwind chords F#  8 S2 F# 11 8 S1 F# – D  4 S2 F# 12 4 + 4 S3 – S1  F#  4 + 4 S3 – S2 F# – Eb 13 4 + 4 S2 – S1 F# – D  4 + 4 S3 – S1 F#  4 + 4 S3 – S2 F# – Eb 14 14 Antar / S2 g# 15 4 + 4 S3 – S1 F# 16 4 + 4 S3 – S2 F# –  Eb  2 + 2 S1 – S3 F# –  f#  8 Antar / S2 f# 17 12 Antar / S2 c#   The scherzo may be divided into three large subsections. The first subsection (10 + 20 measures) comprises the exotic-sounding woodwind chords and violin arpeggios followed by the first tentative statements of the S2 and S1 motives. The second subsection (40 + 14 measures) begins by focusing on motive S3, which alternates with motives S1 and S2, respectively, and culminates in the contrapuntal combination of Antar’s theme with motive S2. The third   37  subsection mirrors the second one, though the alternation between S3 and its companion motives is reduced from 40 to 20 measures, and the contrapuntal combination of Antar’s theme with S2 is expanded from 14 to 20 measures. The scherzo is dominated by the key of F-sharp major, with occasional glances toward the lowered submediant (D major, reserved for motive S1) and the submediant major (E-flat major, reserved for motive S2). The minor-key passages (G-sharp, followed by F-sharp and C-sharp) are inextricably linked to statements of Antar’s theme.  At  18   the tempo and meter briefly revert to a slow 4/4. A two-measure harp cadenza leads to a threefold iteration of Gul-Nazar’s theme in the flute; the first violins respond with a quiet statement of Antar’s theme in B minor, above which the flute sounds a dreamy reminiscence of motive S2. The whole passage is connected by a high tremolo F-sharp played by four first violins soli. On the one hand, this passage seems like an expansion of the five-measure phrase between  9  and  10 , in which we heard a single statement each of Gul-Nazar’s and Antar’s themes. On the other hand, the orchestration and tonality of the earlier phrase give the impression of a reprise or continuation of the introduction, while the later passage – by virtue of its more remote key and strikingly different scoring – seems more like a parenthetical insertion within the scherzo. This impression is confirmed by the return of the scherzo material at  19 . A four-measure statement of motive S3 is followed by a four measure statement of motive S1, and this leads to an eight-measure liquidation of S2 (analogous to the “hesitant” flute solo eight measures before  11 ) followed by a six-measure liquidation of S3 that concludes with a single measure of silence.  The movement concludes with a recapitulation of the three introductory motives, exactly as heard between  1  and  2  – that is, beginning in A-sharp minor and ending in F-sharp minor –   38  along with a final statement of Antar’s theme in the violas, accompanied by horns, trombones, and timpani. A plagal cadence and Tierce de Picardie bring this brief passage to a quiet close.  There are two organizational principles at work in this movement. Firstly, at the level of individual phrases and periods, the music is constructed from the alternation of self-contained thematic units that are generally two, four, or eight measures long. For example, the introduction is formed by the regular rotation through the three opening motives – the minor chord, the augmented chord, and the minor arpeggio motives – as well as the initial statements of Antar’s theme in the violas. The scherzo is formed by the combination and repetition of two-measure units – motives S1, S2, and S3 – which are grouped into four- and eight-measure phrases that, in turn, may be combined to form longer periodic structures. Secondly, at a large-scale formal level, ternary form plays an important role in the organization of the music. The entire movement is a large ABA’ structure, with the central scherzo in F-sharp major framed by statements of the slow introductory material in F-sharp minor. Moreover, the first slow section features a contrasting middle section in a fast 3/4 (beginning in D minor), while the scherzo includes a dreamlike reminiscence of the Gul-Nazar and Antar themes in a slow 4/4 (in B minor). Finally, the whole-tone tremolo figure in the upper strings at  7  is framed by the hexatonic sixteenth-note tremolos in the lower strings. The ABA’ structures in the first movement are decidedly asymmetrical, in the sense that the reprise of a formal section or thematic complex is invariably much shorter than its initial statement.  In general, the traditional tonic-dominant polarity plays a negligible role in this symphony. Instead, Rimsky-Korsakov seems to favor third-based relations between key areas, especially submediant and lowered submediant relations – as, for example, in the scherzo, where F-sharp major alternates with D major and E-flat major. The introduction is based on a sequence   39  of minor keys that are a major third apart: F-sharp minor, D minor, A-sharp minor, and F-sharp minor. Thus, the tonal plan of the first twenty-four measures of the movement mirrors, at a larger structural level, the sequence of chords played by the bassoons in the first four measures (see example 3). The major-third-based polarity is carried over into the fast 3/4 section, which begins in D minor but then shifts abruptly to F-sharp minor halfway through the whole-tone tremolo passage. It is worth noting that Antar’s theme appears no less than five times in the tonic key of F-sharp minor; the remaining three statements of this theme are in minor keys that are closely related to F-sharp on the circle of fifths, namely, G-sharp minor, C-sharp minor, and B minor. In the subsequent movements, however, Antar’s theme (and the motives derived from it) will appear in wide variety of sharp and flat minor keys.  Unlike the first movement, which unfolds as a succession of scenes – each with its own meter, tempo, and thematic material – the second movement remains throughout in a fast duple meter (with minor tempo fluctuations at important structural points) and introduces a single important theme that recurs in many rhythmic and textural guises, often in alternation or combination with Antar’s motives. This “introductory phrase of threatening character”82                                                 82 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 93.  is presented by the strings at the opening of the movement, beginning with cellos, pianissimo; the addition of violas, second violins, and first violins is accompanied by the gradual layering of wind instruments and a massive crescendo to fortissimo. The first few measures of the theme are shown in example 11.   40  Example 11 Introductory phrase      The theme is characterized by a two-measure stepwise ascent followed by a two-measure stepwise descent, with emphasis on scale degrees # 6ˆ  – # 7ˆ  – 8ˆ  – ♮ 7ˆ  (in C-sharp minor, the second movement’s tonic key, the pitches are A-sharp – B-sharp – C-sharp – B-natural). The first pair of pitches belong to the ascending melodic minor scale (the upper tetrachord of which corresponds to the parallel major scale), while the second pair of pitches belong to the descending melodic minor scale (which is the same as the natural minor scale). The bass support, however, contradicts the major/minor division of the melody with an E-natural (belonging to the tonic minor) under the first and second pitches and an E-sharp (belonging to the parallel major)   41  under the second and third pitches, thereby suggesting a minor/major division. The tension between the modal orientations of the introductory phrase’s melody and bass persists throughout the movement.  The initial crescendo, based upon repetitions of the introductory phrase in the strings, builds toward a fortissimo statement of motive A3 – the last limb of Antar’s theme – in the lower brass, answered by fanfare figures in the horns and trumpets. Once the climax has subsided, the entire opening paragraph of twenty-four measures is repeated exactly, but a minor third higher (in E minor). At  25  the music returns to C-sharp minor as the other two Antar motives – A1 and A2 – are called upon to construct a frenetic-sounding contrapuntal section. A1 is presented in imitation between low and high woodwinds and tremolo strings, to which the two pairs of horns respond by sounding A1 and A2 simultaneously. The first and second violins interject with the first half of the introductory phrase, now in diminution (that is, occupying one measure instead of two). This entire sequence is also heard a second time, eventually giving way at  27  to a transitional passage – based on the complete introductory phrase in diminution (four measures reduced to two) – leading to the first statement of the full Antar theme, played by the trombones in A minor and accompanied by tremolo strings, timpani, and bass drum.  At  29  the movement seems to start again from the beginning, with the violas presenting the introductory phrase in its original form, though now in C minor. After twelve measures, however, the impression of a reprise is dispelled by a change of key (to F minor) and the acceleration of the theme from four measures to two, which ushers in a developmental section based on motive A3 (in the trombones) and various rhythmic transformations of the introductory phrase. A syncopated variant of the theme, shown in example 12, is played by the violins and violas eight measures after  30 , and echoed by the upper woodwinds four measures after that.   42  Example 12 Syncopated version of introductory phrase    In the second measure of  30  the upper woodwinds and trumpets introduce what appears to be a new motive in chattering staccato triplets (see example 13).  Example 13 Staccato triplet motive    Given the motivic economy of this movement, however, it is probably no coincidence that the staccato triplets share the same contour – up two steps, down one step – as the introductory phrase, even though the whole steps have been contracted into half steps, and the entire theme has been subjected to double diminution (that is, reduced from four measures to one). Particularly effective is the retransitional passage between  31  and  32 , in which a fully harmonized statement of motive A3 in the trombones and horns, in augmentation, is punctuated   43  by outbursts of the double-diminution triplet variant of the introductory phrase, all against a long-held trill on G-sharp in the violins and violas that clinches the return of C-sharp minor for the recapitulation.  The reprise, in this case, is tonal rather than thematic, since the material presented in the first third of the movement does not return in its original form. Instead, Rimsky-Korsakov continues to develop the introductory phrase through further rhythmic variations, such as that shown in example 14.  Example 14 Rhythmic variation on introductory phrase    The climax of the movement comes in the tenth measure of  33 , when the full Antar theme in augmentation is blared forth by the trombones against descending chromatic tetrachords in the upper woodwinds and strings, all in C-sharp minor. The section between  34  and  35  may be thought of as an aftershock – a smaller-scale climax built up from increasingly frantic iterations of the introductory phrase in the strings to which the horns add interjections based on motive A2. The coda of the movement – from  35  to the end – presents Antar’s theme in a progressively calmer, more peaceful form, beginning forte and gradually dying down to piano   44  and pianissimo, while the agitated tremolo figures in the accompaniment give way to serene sustained chords in the strings and winds.  Table 4 provides an overview of the large-scale organization of the second movement.  Table 4 Formal outline of second movement Rehearsal number Number of measures Section Motive Key 23 24 (16 + 8) introduction introductory phrase – A3 c# 24 25 (16 + 9)  introductory phrase – A3 e 25 29 (8 + 11 + 10) exposition A1 – A2 (contrapuntal texture) introductory phrase (dim.) c# 27 10  introductory phrase (dim.) a 28 12  Antar a 29 16 (12 + 4) development introductory phrase (reg. and dim.) c – f 30 18 (8 + 10)  A3 – staccato triplets introductory phrase (var.) f – g d – f – a 31 13  A3 (aug.) – staccato triplets V / c# 32 18 recapitulation introductory phrase (var.) c# 33 + 10 mm. 16  Antar (aug.) c# 34 24 coda introductory phrase – A2 c# 35 38 (20 + 18)  Antar c#   45   In his autobiography, Rimsky-Korsakov describes the second movement in terms of sonata form: the two statements of the introductory phrase (in C-sharp minor and E minor) constitute an introduction, the contrapuntal passage on Antar’s motives and the introductory phrase is the first subject, the full statement of Antar’s theme in A minor is the second subject, a developmental section follows after  29 , the recapitulation (which omits a return of the first subject material) proceeds to a full statement of Antar’s theme in C-sharp minor as the second subject, and the coda is based upon the introductory phrase and a “soothing” version of Antar’s theme.83 The third movement is structured around the alternation between two themes – a “triumphal march” in B minor/D major and an “Oriental cantabile melody” in A major Generally speaking, the tonal structure of the movement does support the composer’s description of the form: the expository section begins in the tonic key of C-sharp minor and modulates to A minor, the developmental section modulates over a wide terrain and concludes with a dominant preparation, and the recapitulation and coda remain in the tonic to the end. However, a few of the usual signposts of sonata structure are missing from this movement. The expected thematic parallelism between the exposition and recapitulation – especially between the respective beginnings of these two sections – is completely absent here, owing to the omission of the contrapuntal passage (which had served as the first subject of the exposition) from the last third of the movement. Also, there is a lack of clear differentiation of material between the first subject and second subject, since both are based to some extent on Antar’s theme, whether in its full form or its constituent motives. Finally, Rimsky-Korsakov continues to develop and vary the introductory phrase – rather than present it in its original form – even after the point of tonal reprise, thereby weakening the sense of thematic return. 84                                                 83 Ibid.  – with 84 Ibid.   46  occasional intrusions by Antar’s theme, either in full or represented by motive A3. The triumphal march, shown in example 15, plays on the ambiguity between the relative minor and major keys. Although the melody begins by outlining the tones of a B-minor triad, the first note in the bass is a D (the third of a minor triad in 6/3 position). The root-position B-minor triad is delayed until the second beat of the measure – a weak, metrically unaccented position. Most importantly, the leading tone of B minor is studiously avoided until the third beat of the eighth measure; there, the sudden arrival of A-sharp in the bass voices has a startling effect. When the march theme is repeated by the violins and violas at  38 , the minor/major ambiguity is intensified by a seven-measure-long D pedal in the cellos and basses.  The Oriental cantabile melody, which makes its first appearance at  39 , seems to promise greater tonal stability. The first violin melody descends from E5 to E4 (doubled at the lower octave by the violas), while the tones of the A-major triad receive the greatest metrical and durational emphasis (see example 16). The prominence given to F-sharp in the fourth measure is not especially disruptive, since the tone clearly functions as an appoggiatura to E. However, the supporting harmony of the first phrase begins on a first-inversion chord – with C-sharp in the bass – as was the case with the triumphal march, and the second phrase begins with F-sharp minor 7 harmony. Indeed, there is not a single root-position A-major triad to be found in the entire twelve-measure period of this melody. By the ninth measure, the harmony appears to have settled onto F-sharp minor, though the avoidance of the leading tone in the melody lends the music a gentle Dorian-mode quality such as we had observed in Antar’s theme in the first movement. Thus, both of the principal themes in this movement display a fondness for tonal ambiguity and instability: the triumphal march is basically in B minor, mixed with elements of D major; the cantabile melody is in A major, with a tendency toward F-sharp minor.        47  Example 15 Triumphal march        48  Example 16 Oriental cantabile melody      Immediately following its initial statement by the strings, the cantabile melody is subjected to a series of “changing background” variations. This technique, developed by Glinka in Ruslan and Lyudmila and Kamarinskaya, preserves the basic contour and rhythmic profile of a theme while altering the harmony, tonality, accompanimental figurations, and scoring.85                                                 85 See David Brown, Mikhail Glinka: A Biographical and Critical Study (London: Oxford University Press, 1974) 215-16, and Richard Taruskin, Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 122.  The first variation on the cantabile melody, in E major, assigns the melody to the horn, while the flutes play delicate arabesque triplet figures in their upper register. The second variation, in D-flat major, features the melody in imitation between violins, on the one hand, and violas and cellos,   49  on the other, against a gentle background of eighth-note triplets (grouped in a hemiola pattern) in the upper woodwinds and sustained tones in the bassoon, horns, and basses. The third variation begins in C-sharp minor, with the theme in the upper register of the cellos and the violas playing chromatic triplet figures similar to the flute passage at  40 . In the second half of this variation, the key changes to E major, the melody migrates to the lower register of the clarinets, and the viola accompaniment becomes rhythmically more active (see example 17).  Example 17 Viola accompaniment to third variation     The fourth and final variation of this section returns to the cantabile melody’s original key of A major. The theme is now played by all violins, violas, and cellos in octaves, while the flutes, horns, and tambourine take up the dance-like rhythmic accompaniment of the violas from the previous variation.  Antar’s theme enters on the scene four measures before  45 , first in the form of motive A3, then in its entirety. The full statement of this theme is accompanied by the appearance of a new motive: a fanfare in the horns and trumpets that features horn fifths (see example 18).  Example 18 Horn fifths fanfare    50   Throughout the remainder of the movement, the themes presented thus far – the triumphal march, the cantabile melody, Antar’s theme, and the horn fifths fanfare – are juxtaposed and combined. Table 5 provides a summary of the large-scale organization of the third movement.  Table 5 Formal outline of third movement Rehearsal number Number of measures Motive Key 37 25 triumphal march b / D  39 40 41 42 43 12 8 8 8 8 cantabile melody variation 1 variation 2 variation 3 variation 4 A – f# E Db c# – E     A 44 45 8 16 (10 + 6 ) cantabile melody – A3 Antar / fanfare – triumphal march f# –  F g –  d 46 12 cantabile melody Db 47 6 cantabile melody / fanfare Db 48 11 (4 + 7) fanfare – triumphal march f / Ab 49 10 triumphal march b / D  50 + 1 m. 20 (14 + 6) Antar / fanfare – triumphal march e – a – b 51 16 cantabile melody – fanfare D 52 6 octatonic scale D   51   The last six measures of the movement feature a fully-harmonized ascending octatonic scale. Example 19 shows the string parts for these concluding measures.  Example 19 Harmonized octatonic scale    The melody presents the scale in its tone-semitone form. It is important to note, however, that the harmonization of the scale is not strictly octatonic – that is, the supporting harmonies employ tones that lie outside any single octatonic collection. To understand how Rimsky-Korsakov has harmonized this scale, it will be helpful to compare the melodic pitches with their underlying chords, as shown in Table 6.  Table 6 Harmonization of octatonic scale melody D E F G Ab Bb B C# harmony inversion D 5/3 A 6/3 F 6/4 C 7 4/2 Ab 5/3 Eb 6/3 B 6/4 F# 7 4/2     52   We should notice that each measure has major triads on the first three beats (in 5/3, 6/3, and 6/4 position, respectively) and a dominant seventh chord on the fourth beat (in 4/2 position). The chord inversions are a product of the conjunct descending bass line, which suggests a whole-tone scale (D – C – B-flat – A-flat – F-sharp – E) with two added chromatic pitches (C-sharp and G). The second measure is an exact transposition of the first measure by tritone.86 Of particular interest is the root motion, which follows a regular pattern of ascending perfect fifths alternating with descending major thirds. Thus, the chords on the strong (first and third) beats stand in a subdominant, or plagal, relationship to the chords on the following weak (second and fourth) beats. Furthermore, the chords on the weak beats are hexatonically related to the chords on the following strong beats.87 What had at first appeared to be merely an ascending octatonic scale has proven, on closer inspection, to incorporate elements of hexatonic and whole-tone relationships. In a single brief gesture, Rimsky-Korsakov has managed to synthesize three distinct techniques for symmetrically partitioning the octave. The passage is striking, not only for its harmonic boldness, but also for the rigorously systematic voice-leading that underpins the progression.     A glance at the violin and viola parts in example 19 demonstrates how the latter relationship influences the voice-leading. If we take, for instance, the A major and F major triads on the second and third beats, we see that the A is sustained, while the C-sharp and E move by semitone, in contrary motion, to C-natural and F-natural. The exact same procedure is reproduced between the other pairs of major-third-related chords: a common tone in one voice, contrary motion by semitone in the other two voices. The reader will recall that this is identical to the voice-leading between the major-third-related minor triads at the beginning of the first movement (see example 3).                                                  86 Both the octatonic scale and the whole-tone scale may be symmetrically bisected by the tritone. 87 The hexatonic pairings in this case are A and F, C and A-flat, E-flat and B, and F-sharp and D.   53   The fourth movement introduces one final new theme, the Mélodie arabe, an authentic Eastern melody that was suggested to Rimsky-Korsakov by his elder colleague, Alexander Dargomizhsky.88  The theme is shown in example 20. Example 20 Mélodie arabe     A number of features distinguish this melody as a characteristic product of nineteenth-century orientalism – most obviously the timbre of the English horn, which Russian composers from Glinka onward tended to associate with exotic subjects. The first bassoon line in the opening eight measures, with its emphasis on scale degrees 5ˆ  – # 5ˆ  – 6ˆ  – b 6ˆ  – 5ˆ , is another typical feature of Russian orientalism, as are the thirty-second note embellishments in the third, seventh, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth measures of the theme.                                                  88 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 89.   54   The fourth movement is structured as a rondo in which the Mélodie arabe serves as the refrain and the Gul-Nazar and Antar themes appear as episodes. In addition, the Mélodie arabe is subjected to a series of  “changing background” variations, just like the Oriental cantabile melody in the third movement. The initial statement of the theme, in D-flat major, is assigned to the English horn, accompanied by one clarinet and two bassoons. At  54  the antecedent phrase of the theme is immediately repeated by the flute – a fourth higher, in G-flat major – with harmonic support from second flute, two clarinets and one bassoon. The consequent phrase returns to D-flat major and to the timbre of English horn with clarinet and bassoons. The first episode arrives at  55  in the relative minor (B-flat minor) and features a dialogue between the Gul-Nazar theme in the clarinet and brief fragments of the Mélodie arabe in the English horn.  The refrain returns at  56 , now in A major, with the theme in the upper register of the cellos. The antecedent phrase of the Mélodie arabe is subtly altered so that the thirty-second-note flourishes of the original statement are replaced by the quintuplet figures associated with Gul-Nazar, as shown in example 21 (compare with example 7).  Example 21 Mélodie arabe with Gul-Nazar quintuplets    Furthermore, the consequent phrase of the theme at  57  – now with the first violins doubling the cellos in octaves – concludes with a two-measure figure that reproduces Gul-Nazar’s iambic (short-long) rhythmic cell as well as her characteristic quintuplet turn (see example 22; compare with example 7).   55  Example 22 Mélodie arabe conclusion with Gul-Nazar motive    The central episode between  59  and  62  presents the gradual fragmentation of the Mélodie arabe. The section begins in F major with a statement of the antecedent phrase played by the upper half of the cellos (shortened from seven to six measures by an elision between the pair of four-measure subphrases); this is answered by the first three measures of the consequent phrase in the first violins. An abrupt shift to A major is accompanied by a repeat of the preceding period, now with the six-measure antecedent and three-measure consequent fragment played by English horn and clarinet, respectively. The next eight measures seize upon the theme’s thirty-second-note flourishes, which are repeated obsessively, first in the violins, then in the flute (see example 23). The section concludes with an appearance of Antar’s theme in the high register of the flute, now in the remote-sounding key of E-flat minor.  The passage beginning at  62  may be regarded as an extended retransition back to the refrain. It consists of a somber statement of Antar’s theme in B-flat minor, played by bassoon and cellos, followed by an abridgement of the material from the first episode (namely, the dialogue between the Gul-Nazar theme and the Mélodie arabe in the clarinet and English horn, respectively).   56  Example 23 Repetition of thirty-second-note flourishes    The final refrain returns to the movement’s tonic key of D-flat major. The antecedent phrase is once again assigned to the upper register of the cellos, but the thirty-second-note flourishes – previously replaced by the quintuplet motive from Gul-Nazar’s theme – now give way to even more elaborate septuplet figurations. The consequent phrase is heard twice: first in the English horn, violas, and cellos, against a legato sixteenth-note pattern in syncopated rhythm in the flutes and clarinets; and then in the violins and violas, with the woodwinds playing eighth notes in a 6/8 hemiola rhythm. The second statement of the consequent phrase is stretched out to nearly twice its original length, firstly by prolonging the descending sequence of thirty-second-note flourishes with chromatic interpolations (for instance, the C-flat and B-double-flat in the fifth and seventh measures, respectively, of  65 ), secondly by extending the phrase with the addition of Gul-Nazar’s characteristic iambic rhythm and quintuplet figure.  The coda of the fourth movement begins at  67  and unfolds in three stages. First comes a brief reminiscence of the obsessively-repeated thirty-second-note flourishes in the flute. Next, the violins and violas take turns presenting Antar’s theme and motive A3, in E-flat minor, against a gentle backdrop of pianissimo repeated triplets in the flutes and clarinet. The movement concludes with two final statements of Gul-Nazar’s theme in the flutes accompanied by gentle chords and arpeggios played by a pair of harps.   57   Table 7 provides an overview of the large-scale organization of the fourth movement.  Table 7 Formal outline of fourth movement Rehearsal number Number of measures Section Motive Key 53 54 15 (7 + 8) 15 (7 + 8) refrain Mélodie arabe variation 1 Db Gb – Db 55 17 episode Gul-Nazar –  Mélodie (fragments) bb 56 22 (7 + 9 + 6) refrain variation 2 (Gul-Nazar elements) A 59 19 (10 + 9) 8 (4 + 4) 8 episode Mélodie (fragmentation) 32nd-note flourishes Antar F – A f# – gb  eb 62 63 11 8 retransition Antar Gul-Nazar –  Mélodie (fragments) bb  63 + 8 mm. 32 (7 + 8 + 11 + 6) refrain variation 3 (Gul-Nazar elements) Db 67 68 70 6 25 12 coda 32nd-note flourishes Antar Gul-Nazar Gb eb Db   58   Whereas the first movement is episodic and presents a wealth of contrasting motivic materials, the three subsequent movements are more concise, unified in meter and tempo, and focus on one or two new thematic ideas each (in addition to the recurring Antar and Gul-Nazar themes). Also, the latter movements follow slightly more conventional and recognizable formal patterns. The second movement incorporates some elements of sonata form into its design, such as the modulation to a new key for the second subject (the full statement of Antar’s theme in the trombones), the tonally unstable developmental section concluding with a retransition to the tonic, and the reprise of the second subject in the tonic. However, this sonata framework is slightly strained by the curtailment of the recapitulation (omitting the return of the first subject material), the continuation of motivic development past the point of reprise, and the expansion of both the introduction and coda. The third movement begins as a march and trio – with the Oriental cantabile melody serving as the trio – though in the second half of the movement these two elements are freely intertwined and stated in combination with Antar’s theme and the horn-fifths fanfare motive. The fourth movement is an innovative hybrid of rondo and variation principles in which the Mélodie arabe is presented – in typical “changing background” fashion – in a variety of harmonic, tonal, and instrumental guises, and these variations are then alternated with episodes based largely on the themes of the symphony’s two protagonists.  Like the first movement, the three subsequent movements demonstrate Rimsky-Korsakov’s preference for modulation by major or minor third to the more conventional tonic-dominant relationship. In the second movement, for example, the introduction unfolds in two identical paragraphs based on the introductory phrase – one in C-sharp minor, the other in E minor. The exposition returns to C-sharp minor for the first subject, but modulates to A minor for the second subject. Thus, the tonic is flanked by its minor mediant and minor submediant.    59   Of particular interest is the tonal organization of the “changing background” variations in the third and fourth movements. The Oriental cantabile melody in the third movement is introduced in A major, while the variations that follow pass through E major, D-flat major, and C-sharp minor, before returning to A major for the fourth variation. If we accept D-flat major as an enharmonic equivalent of C-sharp, then the sequence of variations may be seen as a composing-out of an A-major triad: A – E – C-sharp – c-sharp – A. In the fourth movement, the first statement of the Mélodie arabe is in D-flat major (the movement’s tonic). The first variation, after a brief detour to G-flat major in the antecedent phrase, returns to D-flat for the consequent. The second variations is entirely in A major, and the third variation returns to – and remains in – D-flat major. The central episode begins with two incomplete yet substantial statements of the Mélodie arabe, in F major and A major, respectively. If we consider all the major appearances of this theme in the movement as a whole (disregarding the brief motivic fragments in the first episode and retransition), the sequence of keys is: D-flat – (G-flat –) D-flat – A – F – A – D-flat. Aside from the tonic, D-flat major, the two keys that receive the most emphasis are A and F major. These three keys – which, taken together, suggest the composing-out of an augmented triad – are the principal tonal pillars of the movement, by virtue of their durational emphasis and their importance in carrying the primary theme. As in the opening of the symphony’s first movement, where the introductory motives cycled through the keys of F-sharp minor, D minor, and A-sharp minor, the tonal organization of the fourth movement is structured on basis of the equal division of the octave into three parts.  An average listener, confronted with the music of Antar but unaware of its title or program, would probably be able to deduce that some extra-musical inspiration lies behind its themes and their working-out. The first movement, by virtue of its variety of moods and sharply-  60  differentiated ideas, seems to call out for a programmatic explication. Furthermore, Rimsky-Korsakov tends to present longer stretches of music (periods, paragraphs, and sections) in stark juxtaposition to one another – or to separate them with pauses – instead of evolving organic transitions that lead from one point to the next. The succession of self-contained scenes in the first movement, all in contrasting meters and tempi, creates a cinematic, rather than a conventionally symphonic, effect. By virtue of its episodic construction, the movement conveys the impression of a series of individual tableaux rather than a continuous drama that develops according to the procedures of traditional symphonic logic. Likewise, the recurrence of themes and motives from the first movement throughout the subsequent course of the symphony suggests an extra-musical plan directing the unfolding of events, as in the symphonies of Berlioz, Liszt, and Tchaikovsky.  As the foregoing discussion has already implied, Rimsky-Korsakov’s approach in the first movement of Antar is more minutely descriptive than in the rest of the symphony. Whereas the second, third, and fourth movements give a generalized picture of the pleasures of revenge, power, and love, respectively, the first movement follows the successive stages of the story: Antar alone in the desert, the appearance of the gazelle, the struggle with the giant bird, Antar’s vision of the enchanted palace, his interview with the Peri, and his solitude after the vision has vanished. The close interdependence between music and program may explain why this movement is less amenable to analysis by traditional formal categories (such as sonata, variations, and rondo) than the others.  The first thing to note about Rimsky-Korsakov’s treatment of the program is the contrast between the Antar and Gul-Nazar themes. Even though both protagonists belong to the same Middle-Eastern milieu – and are therefore equally exotic to a European audience – their musical   61  representation is strikingly different. The modal yet essentially diatonic nature of Antar’s theme, as well as its symmetrical 2 + 2 measure construction, produces and impression that is more Eastern-European than Middle-Eastern; indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Rimsky-Korsakov has dressed his hero in the melodic garb on a Russian male rather than an Arab one. However, Gul-Nazar’s theme – with its prominent augmented seconds and quintuplet arabesque figures – has a more obviously oriental-sounding quality. One possible explanation is that Antar, as a flesh-and-blood human being, is closer to the audience and hence easier to identify with; indeed, we tend to experience the story from his point of view. The Peri, on the other hand, is a magical, supernatural creature and thus occupies a higher plane of remoteness. The composer emphasizes this contrast by making her music more exotic than his.  The introduction to the first movement, with its strictly hexatonic motivic material and sparse orchestration, simultaneously conjures up the remoteness, immensity, and desolation of the Syrian Desert. The unfamiliar syntax of the hexatonic language – when contrasted with the reassuring stability of functional tonality – conveys the impression of a strange and possibly inhospitable landscape. On the one hand, the prevalence of major-third-related minor triads and augmented chords weakens the feeling of tonal centricity by lessening the sense of motion from the dominant to the tonic. On the other hand, the symmetrical partitioning of the octave that underlies this passage generates a series of harmonic progressions that lack a definite point of repose. Just as the lone Bedouin wandering in the desert sees a limitless expanse of sand in every direction, so the listener hears in the opening of this symphony a series of equivalently-related chords with no definite point of tonal orientation.   The fast 3/4 section that follows the introduction features the most explicitly mimetic passages in the symphony. First we have the music of the gazelle, which combines Gul-Nazar’s   62  theme in the flute with a soft yet incisive dotted-rhythmic figure in the first violins that suggests the gentle yet sure-footed gait of this delicate creature (see example 24). Next comes a powerful crescendo, climax, and decrescendo that depicts the approach of the giant bird, its pursuit of the gazelle and Antar’s attack upon the monster, and its subsequent defeat and departure.   Example 24 Gazelle rhythm    The hexatonic and whole-tone collections are pressed into service to construct the music representing, respectively, the approach and departure of the winged menace, and Antar’s combat with it. The semitone tremolos in the lower strings associated with the giant bird employ the pitches A – B-flat – C-sharp – D – E-sharp – F-sharp – the same hexatonic collection that Rimsky-Korsakov had used to portray the vast, forbidding desert. Thus, the music forges a subtle connection between the cruel monster and its equally cruel habitat.  The remarkable series of seventh chords in the woodwinds (see above) that introduce the scherzo in F-sharp major lend the section a delicate, rarefied air – especially compared to the oppressive, hexatonic- and minor-mode-dominated music that had come before. The delicate, soloistic scoring enhances the fairy-tale charm of the episode of the vision in the enchanted palace. Although the chords are not functionally related, and the voice leading between them expands upon the principles of common tones and semitone motion that had dominated the opening of the symphony, the sustained pedal C-sharp in the horns firmly anchors the progression to the bright F-sharp-major tonality of the ensuing dancelike motives. The scherzo is   63  mostly dominated by major keys, as befits the celebratory singing, dancing, and feasting in the Peri’s dwelling. The delicate mood is mirrored by the scoring, which tends to highlight the bright colors of the flutes, clarinets, and violins – in stark contrast to the introduction, with its predilection for the dark timbres of bassoons, basses, timpani, and violas. The intrusions of Antar’s theme during the scherzo only briefly tinge the music with a minor-mode gloom, suggesting that Rimsky-Korsakov’s hero, like Berlioz’s Harold, is a detached observer of the revelry rather than a participant.  For each of the Peri’s gifts to Antar – revenge, power, and love – Rimsky-Korsakov seizes upon a central idea or image that forms the basis for that movement’s thematic material and development. In the second movement, the joy of vengeance, the basic concept behind the music is conflict and tension. This principle is embodied in the main theme (the introductory phrase) itself in the form of tension between the major/minor orientation of the melody and the minor/major orientation of the bass (see example 11). The scoring throughout is deliberately disjointed and fragmented, with sections of the orchestra and even individual themes and motives vying with one another for supremacy. In the development section, for example, Antar’s motive A3 (played by the lower brass in augmentation) is repeatedly pitted against various rhythmic distortions of the introductory phrase in the woodwinds and strings. Even the severely strained sonata form undergirding this movement – with a truncated recapitulation and extended introduction and coda that throw the usual proportions out of balance – may be perceived as another level of tension embedded within the music.  In the third movement, Rimsky-Korsakov shows us two complementary sides to the joy of power: the triumphal march expresses the sensation of power over other men, while the trio – the Oriental cantabile melody – portrays the sensuous pleasures that flow from the possession of   64  political power. In the first half of the movement, the two themes are presented and developed separately; in the second half, they are brought into progressively closer proximity – one may even say, into open conflict – with one another, as well as with Antar’s theme. The introduction of the horn-fifths fanfare in combination with the pompous statement of Antar’s theme in the trombones emphasizes the martial quality of the movement. Given what we know about the bitter aftertaste left behind by the Peri’s gifts, it is tempting to speculate that the music may be dramatizing the incompatibility of the possession of power with the enjoyment of power.  Finally, the fourth movement employs a sensuous eastern-sounding melody to depict the joy of love. Given that Antar experiences this third and final pleasure in the Peri’s embrace, it is appropriate that the Mélodie arabe shares the same Oriental character and arabesque figurations as Gul-Nazar’s theme, with which it is occasionally combined (as in the clarinet and English horn dialogue of the first episode). Indeed, as the movement progresses, a few of Gul-Nazar’s characteristic motivic elements – the quintuplets, the iambic rhythm – begin to infiltrate the Mélodie arabe. The coda of the movement is especially poignant: Antar’s theme is quietly and gradually liquidated, finally passing from the high register of the first violins to the low register of the violas and dying away, leaving only Gul-Nazar’s theme at the end. Here the Peri extinguishes Antar’s life and unites his soul with hers.  The music of Antar is so nakedly descriptive that it is difficult to think of the work simply as a “Symphony No. 2 in F-sharp minor.” Even the fact that it begins and ends in a different key – and instance of “progressive tonality” long predating Mahler and Nielsen – bespeaks an extra-musical intent. In later years, Rimsky-Korsakov came to repudiate the designation of “Second Symphony” and renamed Antar a “Symphonic Suite.” In his autobiography he wrote:   65  The term “suite” was then unfamiliar to our circle in general, nor was it in vogue in the musical literature of western Europe. Still, I was wrong in calling Antar a symphony. My Antar was a poem, suite, fairy-tale, story, or anything you like, but not a symphony. Its structure in four separate movements was all that made it approach a symphony. . . . the first movement of Antar is a free musical delineation of the consecutive episodes of the story. . . . It has not thematic development whatever – only variations and paraphrases.89   Rimsky-Korsakov was correct. Antar has more in common with Scheherazade than with his “absolute” Symphony No. 1 in E minor or Symphony No. 3 in C major.                                                    89 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 92-93.   66  Conclusion   Antar is a pivotal work in Rimsky-Korsakov’s development: it displays many of the aesthetic principles that he absorbed from Balakirev and The Five, while also prefiguring features of his mature style. The decision to write a program symphony was undoubtedly influenced by the tastes and preferences of Rimsky-Korsakov’s mentor and colleagues. In general, the Russian nationalists of the 1860s tended to frown upon the traditional genres of absolute music, such as sonatas and chamber music; even the symphony and overture were cultivated only insofar as they could embody nationalistic or exotic elements. Instead, Balakirev and his circle regarded opera, vocal music, and piano character pieces as more fertile terrain for their imaginations. However, following Berlioz’s triumphant concert tours to Russia in the late 1860s, where he conducted his own Symphonie fantastique, Harold en Italie, and other works, Russian composers began to devote greater energy toward writing program music for orchestra. The next few years saw the composition of such works as Balakirev’s In Bohemia (1867), Musorgsky’s Saint John’s Night on the Bare Mountain (1867), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko (1867), and Tchaikovsky’s Fatum (1868) and Romeo and Juliet (1869). Antar is more ambitious than these other works in that it is a full-length, multi-movement symphony with cyclically recurring themes (following the models established by Berlioz) rather than a single-movement symphonic poem. In fact, it would remain the only work of its kind by a Russian composer until Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony of 1885.  The choice of an Oriental subject for a program symphony was also conditioned by Rimsky-Korsakov’s immediate musical environment. The members of The Five often used authentic Eastern tunes – or original themes based on exotic scales and modes – partly to enrich their compositional palettes with progressive-sounding melodic and harmonic effects, and partly   67  to differentiate their own styles from those of Western composers, or their more Europeanized compatriots, such as Anton Rubinstein and Alexander Serov. Antar is one of several Russian works from the 1860s that displays this fascination with orientalism; other examples include Balakirev’s Song of the Golden Fish (1860), Georgian Song (1863), Tamara (1867-82), and Islamey (1869), Cui’s Prisoner of the Caucasus (1858-82), and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Nightingale Enslaved by the Rose (1866). Many of the traits observed with regard to Gul-Nazar’s theme and Mélodie arabe – the prominence of augmented seconds, florid arabesque figures, shifting harmonies against pedal tones, 5ˆ  – # 5ˆ  – 6ˆ  – b 6ˆ  – 5ˆ  melodic motion, and the timbre of the English horn – were part of a common orientalist language among Russian composers.  The use of unconventional scales and modes in Antar is another characteristic trait of late-nineteenth-century Russian music. The collection, publication, and study of urban and rural folksongs stimulated Russian composers to begin exploring modes other than the conventional major and minor; the Dorian mode was especially favored. We have encountered two instances of the Dorian mode in this symphony: in Antar’s theme (see example 5), and in the last phrase of the Oriental cantabile melody (see four measures before  40 ). Throughout the nineteenth century, Russian composers also became increasingly fascinated by the expressive potential of non-diatonic scales, beginning with Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, in which the whole-tone scale is employed to depict the wicked sorcerer Chernomor’s abduction of the heroine. Rimsky-Korsakov uses this same scale during the episode of the giant bird’s thwarted attack upon the gazelle. In addition, he concludes the third movement with the extraordinary tone-semitone (or octatonic) scale, which he had introduced into his symphonic poem Sadko (1867) a year earlier. Both the whole-tone and octatonic scales would eventually become hallmarks of Rimsky-Korsakov’s mature style, particularly in his fantastic and magical operas; not only do these scales   68  provide the materials for some of his most adventurous melodic and harmonic writing, but they also entered the compositional vocabulary of a number of his influential pupils, including Anatoly Lyadov, Maximilian Steinberg, and Igor Stravinsky.90 Besides anticipating Rimsky-Korsakov’s fondness for whole-tone and octatonic scales, Antar also looks ahead to two other characteristic of his later works: his fascination with the division of the octave into equal segments, 91 and his preference for modulation by third rather than fifth. The hexatonic music introduced at the beginning of the symphony is typical of his approach, in which a symmetrical pitch collection yields music that is tonally ambiguous yet rigorously structured, with strictly regimented voice-leading (often based on common tones and motion by semitone) and predictable patterns of transposition. As for Rimsky-Korsakov’s modulatory preferences, which are discussed at greater length in his textbook, the Practical Manual of Harmony,92 it is important to note that he found modulations around the circle of fifths monotonous, and that he repeatedly requested pupils to avoid them.93 As Larisa Jackson has observed, his preferred solution for avoiding “the undesirable successions of steps by a fourth or fifth is the use of relative keys.”94 We have already noted the scarcity of fifth- and fourth-relationships in Antar, both within and between large formal sections. Examples of the importance of relative keys are numerous, especially in the third and fourth movements.95                                                 90 Richard Taruskin, “Catching Up with Rimsky-Korsakov,” Music Theory Spectrum 33 (2011): 174.  It remains to add that Rimsky-Korsakov also favored other types of third-relationships, including 91 Richard Taruskin, “Chernomor to Kashchei: Harmonic Sorcery; Or, Stravinsky’s ‘Angle,’” Journal of the American Musicological Society 38 (1985): 99-100. 92 Rimsky-Korsakov, Practical Manual of Harmony, 61-66. 93 See ibid., 62. Here, Rimsky-Korsakov describes a modulation plan with “three major keys in succession, going each time a perfect fifth up, which tends towards monotony of modulation plans.” On the same page he assigns the pupil the following exercise: “Write modulating plans for transitions from C major and A minor into all the keys on the second degree of relationship avoiding steps by perfect fourth or fifths twice in succession.” 94 Jackson, Modulation and Tonal Space, 74. 95 In the third movement, the B minor/D major duality in the triumphal march, or the A major/F-sharp minor duality in the Oriental cantabile melody; in the fourth movement, the contrast between the opening D-flat major refrain and B-flat minor episode.   69  the leading-tone exchange (between C major and E minor, or A minor and F major), which he considered to be a first-degree relationship (see example 2).  Rimsky-Korsakov revised Antar twice –  in 1875 and 1897, respectively – but the changes he wrought were not as extensive as those required to salvage his First and Third Symphonies. Although he made many subtle modifications to the orchestration and tonal plan, the essential substance of his original inspiration of 1868 was always preserved. He remained proud of the work throughout his life and included it in concert programs whenever possible. In his autobiography, written many decades after the composition of the symphony, he wrote: “When I examine the form of Antar now, after the lapse of many years, I can affirm that I did well with this form. . . . Where I got, at the time, this coherence and logic of structure, this knack of inventing new formal devices, it is hard to explain; but now that I examine the form of Antar with an experienced eye, I cannot help feeling considerable satisfaction.”96  Antar is both a summary of everything Rimsky-Korsakov had learned from Balakirev, as well as a forward-looking work that displays the inspiration and logic that would make him one of the most influential pedagogues and theorists in Russian music.                                                         96 Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 94.   70  Bibliography  Abraham, Gerald. “Arab Melodies in Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin.” Music & Letters 56  (1975): 313-18.   ———. Essays on Russian and East European Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.  ———. On Russian Music. London: William Reeves, 1939.  ———. Rimsky-Korsakov: A Short Biography. London: Duckworth, 1945.  ———. Slavonic and Romantic Music. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1968.  ———. Studies in Russian Music. London: William Reeves, 1935.  Berlioz, Hector. Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. Edited and  translated by Hugh Macdonald. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.  ———. Harold en Italie. Edited by Charles Malherbe and Felix Weingartner. Mineola: Dover  Publications, 1984.  ———. Symphonie fantastique. Edited by Charles Malherbe and Felix Weingartner. New York:  Edwin F. Kalmus, 1933.  Berlioz, Hector, and Richard Strauss. Treatise on Instrumentation. Translated by Theodore  Front. New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, 1948.  Brown, David. Mikhail Glinka: A Biographical and Critical Study. London: Oxford University  Press, 1974.  ———. Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study. 4 vols. London: V. Gollancz, 1978-91.   Campbell, Stuart, editor and translator. Russians on Russian Music, 1830-1880: An Anthology.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.  Carpenter, Ellon D. “Russian Music Theory: A Conspectus.” In Russian Theoretical Thought in  Music, edited by Gordon D. McQuere, 1-82. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1983.  ———. “The Theory of Music in Russia and the Soviet Union, ca. 1650-1950.” Ph.D. diss.,   University of Pennsylvania, 1988.  Cohn, Richard. Audacious Euphony: Chromaticism and the Triad’s Second Nature. New York:  Oxford University Press, 2012.    71  Frolova-Walker, Marina. Russian Music and Nationalism: From Glinka to Stalin. New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2007.  Glinka, Mikhail. Ruslan and Lyudmila. Edited by Georgy Kirkor. Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy  14A-14B. Moscow: Muzyka, 1966.  Griffiths, Steven. A Critical Study of the Music of Rimsky-Korsakov, 1844-1890. New York:  Garland Publishing, 1989.  Heath, Peter. Thirsty Sword: Sīrat ‘Antar and the Arabic Popular Epic. Salt Lake City, UT:  University of Utah Press, 1996.   Jackson, Larisa Petrushkevich. “Modulation and Tonal Space in the ‘Practical Manual of  Harmony:’ Rimsky-Korsakov’s Harmonic Theory and its Historical Antecedents.”  Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1996.  Korovin, Valentin Ivanovich, editor. Russian 19th-Century Gothic Tales. Moscow: Raguda  Publishers, 1984.  Kruk, Remke. “Sīrat ‘Antar ibn Shaddād.” In Arabic Literature in the Post-Classical Period,  edited by Roger Allen and D. S. Richards, 292-306. Cambridge: Cambridge University  Press, 2006.  Liszt, Franz. Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne. Edited by Franz Liszt-Stiftung. Franz Liszt: Musikalische Werke 1. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1907.   ———. Hunnenschlacht. Edited by Franz Liszt-Stiftung. Franz Liszt: Musikalische Werke 6. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1910.  ———. Prometheus. Edited by Franz Liszt-Stiftung. Franz Liszt: Musikalische Werke 3. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1909.  Maes, Francis. A History of Russian Music: From Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar. Translated by  Arnold J. Pomerans and Erica Pomerans. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.  Neff, Lyle K. “Documentary Glance at Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov as Music Theorists.” In Tchaikovsky and his World, edited by Leslie Kearney, 333-54. Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 1998.  Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay. Antar. Saint Petersburg: V. Bessel, 1903.  ———. Antar. Edited by Maximilian Steinberg. Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy 17A-17B.  Moscow: Muzgiz, 1949.  ———. My Musical Life. Edited by Carl Van Vechten. Translated by Judah A. Joffe. New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1942.   72  ———. Practical Manual of Harmony.  Translated by Joseph Achron. New York: Carl Fisher,  1930. ———. Principles of Orchestration. Edited  by Maximilian Steinberg. Translated by Edward  Agate. New York: Dover Publications, 1964.  ———. Sadko. Edited by Georgy Kirkor. Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy 19A. Moscow: Muzgiz,  1951.    ———. Scheherazade. Edited by Irina Iordan. Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy 22. Moscow:  Muzgiz, 1956.  Schoenberg, Arnold. Theory of Harmony. Translated by Roy E. Carter. London: Faber and  Faber, 1978.  Seaman, Gerald R. Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov: A Guide to Research. New York:  Garland Publishing, 1988.  Stasov, Vladimir. Selected Essays on Music. Translated by Florence Jonas. London: Cresset  Press, 1968.  Taruskin, Richard. “Catching Up with Rimsky-Korsakov.” Music Theory Spectrum 33 (2011):  169-85.  ———. “Chernomor to Kashchei: Harmonic Sorcery; Or, Stravinsky’s ‘Angle.’” Journal of the  American Musicological Society 38 (1985): 72-142.  ———. “Chez Pétrouchka: Harmony and Tonality “chez” Stravinsky.” 19th-Century Music 10  (1987): 265-86.   ———. Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays. Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 1997.  ———. On Russian Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.  ———. Liner notes to Rimsky-Korsakov: The Complete Symphonies. Göteborgs Symfoniker,  conducted by Neeme Järvi. Deutsche Grammophon 459 512-2. CD. 1988.  Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich. Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony. Translated by Emil Krall  and James Liebling. Brighton, MA: Carousel Publishing, 1983.  Wagner, Richard. Eine Faust-Ouvertüre. New York: Edwin F. Kalmus, 1933.  Yastrebtsev, Vasily. Reminiscences of Rimsky-Korsakov. Edited and translated by  Florence  Jonas. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.      73  Appendix: Rimsky-Korsakov’s Program of Antar  I. The grandeur of the desert of Sham; the magnificence of the ruins of Palmyra. Antar has forever abandoned the society of his fellow men, because they have only returned evil for the good which he wished to do them. He has fled to the ruins of Palmyra in the desert of Sham, vowing eternal hatred towards them. Suddenly a graceful gazelle appears. Antar wishes to set off in pursuit, but a terrible noise rends the air and the light of day is hidden by a thick shadow; it is that of a gigantic bird that is chasing the gazelle. Antar attacks the monster, striking it with his lance; uttering a loud cry the bird flies away and the gazelle disappears. Antar, once more alone, falls asleep. In a dream he sees himself transported to a splendid palace, slaves press around to serve him and a melodious song charms his ear. He is in the dwelling place of the Queen of Palmyra, the fairy Gul-Nazar. It is she in the form of a gazelle whom he has saved from the clutches of the spirit of darkness. The grateful Fairy promises Antar the fullest delights of life. The vision vanishes and the hero awakes amongst the ruins. II. The joy of vengeance: this is the first pleasure bestowed upon Antar. III. The joy of power is the second gift of the Fairy. IV. Antar has returned to the ruins of Palmyra. At last he is to taste of the joy of love. In the arms of the Fairy herself, intoxicated with rapture, he dies in a last embrace.97                                                 97 Rimsky-Korsakov, Antar, ed. Maximilian Steinberg, n.p.   


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items