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The Arabian Nights in Historical Context$
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Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199554157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554157.001.0001

Under the Spell of Magic: The Oriental Tale in Rimsky‐Korsakov's Sheherazade

Chapter:
(p.265) 11 Under the Spell of Magic: The Oriental Tale in Rimsky‐Korsakov's Sheherazade
Source:
The Arabian Nights in Historical Context
Author(s):

Nasser Al‐Taee

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199554157.003.0012

This chapter seeks to link Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade to Antoine Galland's Les Mille et une nuits as a continuation of European fascination with the Oriental tale. It discusses issues concerning cultural, political, and religious representation and appropriation of the Orient in European music. Building on recent contributions in cultural theory and musicology, it traces issues of Orientalism, nationalism, and narration in 19th-century music, especially images of violence and sensuality. Rimsky-Korsakov offers his listeners impressions of the Orient without attempting to depict exact narratives. Despite engaging in many stereotypical musical tropes about the Orient, Scheherazade adopts the spirit and the complex layers of narrative embedded in the Nuits. In composing his Oriental tale, Rimsky-Korsakov has fallen under the magical Oriental spell inherited from the Nuits to replicate its freedom of narration, grandeur, cyclicism, and metamorphism.

Keywords:   music, exoticism, Orientalism, music, narrative, Russian nationalism, musical representation, violence, sensuality

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