Rimsky-Korsakov Symphony no. 1, Op. 1

Rimsky Korsakov's Symphony no. 1 in Em, Op. 1 was written in 1861-65 under the guidance of Mily Balakirev, who premiered the work. Before meeting him, Rimsky-Korsakov had sketched ideas for a symphony as a result of his composition lessons with F.A. Kanille. Balakirev approved of Rimsky-Korsakov work, encouraging him to continue work on the symphony, helping him bring out the most Russian sound, and even helping him with the orchestration (there is an anecdote about Rimsky-Korsakov feeling embarrased at his firsts attempts to orchestrate the work). By the time the navy sent Rimsky-Korsakov on a three-year world cruise in 1862, he had completed the first movement, scherzo and finale, writing the slow movement during a stop in England. He then mailed the score to Balakirev before going back to sea. At the premiere, the public was reportedly surprised when an uniformed man stood up to receive the applause (regulation dictated that naval officears should wear uniform even when off duty). Rimsky-Korsakov revised the work in 1884, transposing it to Em and reversing the order of the slow movement and the scherzo.


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