Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolas Andrejevitch
His principal orchestral works are Sadko, and Antar, a "program symphony," which deserves more than passing mention. It is founded on an Oriental tale of a hero who, having killed a bird of prey that was pursuing a gazelle, is granted by a fairy three wishes of his choice, revenge, power and love. The work is in four movements each of the last three describing his enjoyment of one of the three things desired. Other orchestral numbers are Scheherezade, based on the Arabian Nights; a sinfonietta in A minor and two other symphonies in E minor and C major; two overtures, one in D major, from Russian themes, and the other, The Russian Passover, on themes from music of the Russian church; fairy tales; a Spanish caprice; and a fantasia on Servian themes. His instrumental and chamber-music includes a concert fantasia for violin with orchestra, on Russian themes; a serenade for cello and piano; a string quartet; romances and melodies. His choral works comprise choruses; a cantata, Switezianka; a collection of one hundred popular Russian songs, as well as thirty songs of another nature. His piano works include a suite, a group of four pieces, another of three, and six fugues. His concerto for piano in C sharp minor is dedicated to Liszt, and is considered quite worthy of the pianist, being pronounced a noble and dignified work, beautiful in design and superior in conception. He has also published a treatise on harmony.
Rimsky-Korsakov is thus described by one of his pupils: "Of tall stature, rather narrow shoulders, oblong face with a full-grown beard, expressive but small eyes with eyeglasses, he makes an excellent impression from the first. As a teacher he was always strict and meant business . . . Among composers of serious music he liked Mozart, but disliked Meyerbeer, whose compositions he ridiculed by playing them in a comical way, either too quick or too slow, or by altering the rhythm."