Director’s News

“Doc Talk”/Class Lesson 5/6/2020




Monday’s Lesson:  Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7,” movt. 2

Tuesday’s Lesson: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” movt. 1, 2, 3


TODAY’S LESSON:  The fourth (final) movement of “Scheherazade”

Yesterday, we began our study of the wonderful late romantic suite by the Russian composer Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov entitled “Scheherazade.”  We explored a bit about Rimsky-Korsakov’s life, his interest in orchestration and the music of the east.  We also explained that the source of inspiration for this work was the Arabian book of “fairy tales” entitled “The Arabian Nights,” where the story of Aladdin comes from!

We noted that the main characters of this work each have a theme associated with them (like the idee fixe used by Berlioz in his “Symphonie Fantastique”)

The Sultan—beginning in attached link

Scheherazade—1:00 in attached link

Sinbad—1:35 in attached link

Prince Kalandar—9:25 in attached link

The Young Prince—20:50 in attached link

The Princess—24:20 in attached link

We even identified a “danger motif” which first appears in the second movement which recalls the troubles experienced by Prince Kalandar—13:13 in attached link

Now let’s see how Rimsky-Korsakov brings all these themes back in the finale of this work.  This concept is known as “cyclical composition” and was first pioneered by Beethoven who was known to bring back earlier themes in his final movements.


  1. Festival in Baghdad. The sea. The ship breaks up against a cliff surmounted by a bronze horseman. Conclusion.

First of all—what a title of a movement!  I mean, really?  He basically describes everything he wants to portray!  Wow!


Music Cue #1:  30:30-31:40 in attached link

Sultan’s theme alternating with Scheherazade’s—both played twice.  Note how this appearance of both themes sounds more agitated… Is time running out???


Music Cue #2:  31:40-32:32 in attached link

The Festival theme:  a very fast folk dance in e minor (marked vivo!).  This is succeeded by a passage that demands very rapid tonguing by the brass and then a reprise of Prince Kalandar’s theme from the second movement.


Music Cue #3:  32:50-33:07 in attached link

Appearance of Princess’ theme from third movement followed by a “bumblebee variation” of the Festival theme…WOW!  This is some virtuosic playing!


Music Cue #4:  36:10-26:28 in attached link

Virtuosic statement of Festival Theme.


Music Cue #5:  37:20-38:47 in attached link

Return of Sinbad’s theme from the first movement, the “danger motif,” and the musical depiction of a ship wreck denoted by the strike of the tam-tam (gong).


Music Cue #6:  39:27-40:24 in attached link

The Conclusion:  Scheherazade’s theme in its highest register WITH a gentle Sultan’s theme.  She has tamed the beast!!!  Woo-hoo!



1)  Listen to the 4th movement of this suite without interruption.  I have provided several links, including one with a score.

Source of timings in this “Doc Talk/Lesson”


Look up “Scheherazade Moris Senegor Stockton Symphony Lecture” for a wonderful synopsis/analysis of this work!

2). What parts of this piece do you think our music arranger will include in our show?

3). Our opener will be Tchaikovsky’s “Overture-Fantasy Romeo & Juliet;” the middle movement will be Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” and our closer will be music from “Scheherazade.”  What do you see visually?  I see a field with 3 large books displayed…and they each open when the music from their story is played…

What else???

Dream on!



Dr. Jerry Markoch, Director of Bands

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