UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


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.

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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada