Mainly known for his symphonic works, especially the
popular symphonic suite Sheherazade, as well as the
Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival
Overture, Rimsky-Korsakov left an oeuvre that also
included operas, chamber works, and songs.
Rimsky-Korsakov's music is accessible and engaging
owing to his talent for tone-coloring and brilliant
orchestration. Furthermore, his operas are masterful
musical evocations of myths and legends.
Born in 1844, Rimsky-Korsakov studied the piano as a
child but chose a naval career, entering the College of
Naval Cadets in St. Petersburg in 1856. However, he
continued with piano lessons; in fact, in 1859,
Rimsky-Korsakov started working with the French pianist
Theodore Canille, through whom he met Balakirev, an
important mentor and friend.
Rimsky-Korsakov was appointed professor of composition
and orchestration at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in
1871. The following year, he married Nadezhda Purgold,
a pianist. In 1873, Rimsky-Korsakov left active duty,
becoming inspector of navy orchestras, a job which he
held until 1884.
Setting a poem by Pushkin, Na kholmakh Gruzii is the
fourth song in Rimsky-Korsakov's second published set
of songs from 1866. Like Vostochnïy romans from the
same year, Na kholmakh Gruzii is deeply indebted to the
Russian-imagined Oriental East, a land of langorously
chromatic melodies, voplutously modal harmonies, and
despairingly slow tempos. While not as sensually
decadent as Vostochnïy romans, Na kholmakh Gruzii is as
morbidly decadent as any song Mussorgsky ever wrote.
Although this piece was originally written for
acompanied (piano) voice, I created this arrangement
for Solo Concert (Pedal) Harp to accentuate the