Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Donald Macleod explores Rimsky-Korsakov’s relationship with the sea, which progressed from a childhood obsession to a naval career, alongside evocations of the ocean in his music.

Donald Macleod delves into the life and work of one of the most important Russian composers of his age – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Rimsky-Korsakov’s music is filled with lush orchestration and hints of orientalism and folk music. These elements and his role as a leading member of “The Mighty Handful” of composers who sought to forge a truly nationalistic music has led him to be regarded as the main architect of the Russian style of composition we know today. In Monday’s episode, Donald explores Rimsky-Korsakov's relationship with the sea, which began as a childhood obsession, before an early naval career, and a civilian job as Inspector of Russia’s Naval Bands brought him into closer proximity to the ocean. Donald also ponders what the ocean represented for Rimsky and for his largely landlocked Russian audience, alongside the various evocations of the sea in his music.

By the Sea, Op 46: The Wave Breaks into a Spray
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Mikhail Arkadiev, piano

Scheherazade (I. The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship)
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Mariss Jansons, conductor

From Homer Op.60
Svetlana Sizova, mezzo-soprano
Tatiana Fedotova, soprano
Chorus of the Moscow Academy of Choral Art & Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Ziva, conductor

Symphony No 1 (II. Andante tranquillo)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Sadko, Op. 6
L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Ernest Ansermet, conductor

Trombone Concerto (I. Allegro Vivace)
Christian Lindberg, trombone
Kosei Wind Orchestra
Chikara Imamura, conductor

Produced by Sam Phillips for BBC Wales

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    By the Sea, Op 46, No 1: The Wave Breaks into a Spray

    Performer: Михаил Александрович Аркадьев. Singer: Dmitri Hvorostovsky.
    • PHILIPS 4425362.
    • PHILIPS.
    • 9.
  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    Sheherazade, Op 35: I. The Sea and Sinbad's Ship

    Orchestra: Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Mariss Jansons.
    • EMI 3508242.
    • EMI.
    • 4.
  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    From Homer, Op 60

    Singer: Svetlana Sizova. Singer: Tatiana Fedotova. Choir: Moscow Choral Academy Choir. Orchestra: Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Vladimir Ziva.
    • 1.
  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    Symphony No 1 (Andante tranquillo)

    Orchestra: Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Neeme Järvi.
    • DG 4236042.
    • DG.
    • 1.
  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    Sadko, Op. 6

    Orchestra: Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Conductor: Ernest Ansermet.
    • BELART 4501322.
    • BELART.
    • 5.
  • Nicolay Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

    Trombone Concerto (I. Allegro vivace)

    Performer: Christian Lindberg. Orchestra: Kosei Wind Orchestra. Conductor: Chikara Imamura.
    • BIS BISCD848.
    • BIS.
    • 3.


Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.