Research of Bassoon Solos in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade Symphonic SuiteEmre Hopa
Rimski-Korsakov’un Şehrazat Senfonik Süiti’ndeki Fagot Sololarının İncelenmesiEmre Hopa
Rimsky-Korsakov, one of the most famous composers of the Russian five, was born in 1844 and passed away in 1908. In 1962, he met Balakirev, the founder of the Russian five and studied composition with him. He was influenced by the orientalism movement and he incorporated different rhythm, melody, mode, harmony, and orchestration techniques in his works. In his works, he profited from Russian folk music and in his operas, he dealt with Russian-specific subjects. His symphonic suite, Scheherazade, which he composed in 1888, inspired by the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, is the most outstanding work of Russian orientalism. Today, the work which is considered as one of the most staged pieces is a work in which a tale is synthesized with music, and Eastern melodies are at the forefront. Although it was not composed as ballet music, it was choreographed and staged.
The work consists of 4 movements
1) Prelude: The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship
2) Ballade: The Kalandar Prince
3) Adagio: The Young Prince and The Young Princess
4) Finale: Festival at Baghdad.
Korsakov’s writing style, which reflects Eastern culture, has some similarities with Tamara, one of Balakirev’s early works. In Korsakov’s Scheherazade, it is known that he was influenced by a melody named “Akh, Dilav!’’ which is Balakirev’s traditional Georgian song. The sense of rhythm and the descending movement of the melody in the second movement of the work show striking similarities with the structure of “Akh, Dilav’’ in Balakirev’s draft book. One Thousand and One Nights, which has been translated into many languages and been an inspiration to film, opera, ballet and every branch of art, includes folk literature genres of wide geography. According to the story, when Sultan Shahriar finds out that his wife betrayed him, he executes her and begins to hate all women. He marries a different woman every day and executes her the next day. Scheherazade, the eldest daughter of one of the Sultan’s officials, prepares a plan to save herself and other girls, and she marries Sultan Shahriar and begins to tell him a tale every night. However, every night, she ends the tale in its most captivating part and promises to complete the story the next night. Because the tales are very attractive and intriguing, Shahriar postpones Scheherazade’s execution every day to hear more of the stories. At the end of the 1001st night, Scheherazade finishes her tales and says that she is ready for the punishment that will be given. Shahriar, on the other hand, is very impressed by these tales and abandons his brutal plan.
The bassoon solos in the second movement of the work are one of the most important works of national and international orchestral exams. Accurate interpretation of solos requires musicality and technical skill. The first of these solos starts in the second movement of the work at the 5th bar. It requires every sound to be shaped very carefully, and requires that articulations are heard. For the ups and downs in the melodies to be heard, it must be played flexibly adhering to the expression “ad libitum”. The second solo of the same movement is a cadence in which technical and musical skills are at the forefront. It starts at the 323rd bar of the work. The solo, which starts as a lento in the same bar, ends as a ritardando at the end of the bar and returns to the first tempo in the second bar with the conductor’s beat. It is based on the acceleration and retardation of the movement. This movement must be played steadily and unhurriedly. The melody repeats similarly 3 times.
This study is aimed to give general information about Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphonic Suite, Scheherazade, to examine the bassoon solos in the second movement of the work and to offer solutions for the technical and musical difficulties encountered in the interpretation of these solos.