Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic poem Scheherazade, written in 1888, is based on One Thousand and One Nights, sometimes known as The Arabian Nights. This supremely romantic work combines two features typical of Russian music and of Rimsky-Korsakov: dazzling, colourful orchestration and an interest in the East, which figured greatly in the history of Imperial Russia, as well as orientalism in general. Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work was used in a ballet by Michel Fokine for the Ballets Russes in 1910 and passages from the suite have been adapted for films and Olympics ice-skating routines. Arrangements have been made for clarinet and piano as well as for brass ensemble and percussion.
Following their critically acclaimed Divine Art CDs featuring transcriptions of works by Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Chopin, husband and wife duo Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow have recorded Scheherazade and the little known Neapolitan Song, which the composer unwittingly stole from Luigi Denza thinking it was a traditional folk tune. The transcriptions of Sheherazade are by Rimsky-Korsakov and Antar was transcribed by his wife Nadezhda Purgold, a skilled composer herself. After more than thirty years, Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow can lay claim to be one of the world’s leading piano duos, displaying stunning precision and remarkable musicality.