- Scheherazade, symphonic suite for orchestra, Op. 35
- Capriccio espagñol (Kaprichchio na ispankskiye temï), for orchestra, Op. 34
In the 19th century, artists' fascination with the exotic led to innovations in every creative realm. For composers, visions of faraway places led to musical fantasies of unprecedented color, sensuality, and sumptuousness. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" is a vivid portrait based on "The Thousand and One Nights." A master of orchestration, the Russian composer conjures up swirling seas, swashbuckling adventures, and the seductive charms of Scheherazade herself. In the "Capriccio Espagnol," Rimsky-Korsakov gives us his colorful sketches of Spain, with clattering castanets, strumming guitars, and the silky swoosh of the dancers' dresses. The orchestral effects in both works are true tests an orchestra's virtuosity, and a good recording should put your sound system through its paces. The London Symphony Orchestra has never sounded better than it does here. Its tone is rich and the ensemble is razor-sharp, but it's the strong characterizations -- the relish with which the orchestra tells these musical tales -- that makes these performances so appealing. Telarc's recording is a sonic spectacular, so if you've got testy neighbors, make sure they're long gone before you pump up the volume.
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