Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was born in Tikhvin about 120 miles from Saint Petersburg into a well-to-do family with a military/naval tradition. He started piano lessons at age six, but did not show much talent at first. As a 12-year old he joined the Russian Navy as a cadet, and as part of his education he took piano lessons. Again he was not a model student, but he did develop a love for music, and by the time he was 15, he was studying composition. He continued to mix naval life with music, and in time became one of Russia’s most respected composers. He mastered the skill of orchestration, and was a great supporter of other composers of the time.
He was also one of “The Five” major Russian composers which included Borodin and Mussorgsky - the group had the aim of producing a specifically Russian brand of music.
He had a phenomenal musical output at least three of which have been played by our Flute Bands – Capriccio Espagnol (based on Spanish folk themes - 1887), Sheherazade (based on Arabian Nights - 1888) and the Russian Easter Festival Overture (dedicated to the memory of Borodin and Mussorgsky - 1888).

Capriccio Eespagnol (Rimsky-Korsakov)
This orchestral suite is based on Spanish folk melodies, and the composer hailed it as a brilliant composition for the orchestra. In his own words, it had melodies, figures, timbres, cadenzas and Spanish dances to suit every instrument.
It was chosen for the 1988 World Championship in which Ballygowan finished runners up for the first time since 1946. The Band was to win the Own Choice Contest in February 1990 with the same David Heaney arrangement.

Russian Easter Festival Overture (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)

Rimsky-Korsakov composed the overture in 1887-88 and dedicated it to the memories of Mussorgsky and Borodin. It is a concert overture, and is the last of what many call his three most exceptionally brilliant orchestral works after Capriccio Espagnol and Sheherazade. It was premiered in St. Petersburg in December 1888.
There is a strong religious component and many of the tunes come from Russian Orthodox liturgical chants.  On the other hand, the composer also included the heathen/pagan celebrations of Easter Sunday morning. It has been described as a narrative of a Russian Easter day.