No composer has found greater inspiration in fairy-tales or legends containing a strong element of magic than Rimsky-Korsakov. Most of his 15 operas are based on such subjects, which gave him great scope for the colourful treatment of the orchestra and his powers of evoking the exotic. In the case of the Symphonic Suite “Sheherazade,” after “A Thousand and One Nights,” the composer chose to give free reign to his imagination without following a story in detail. True, the music portrays the cruel Sultan and the cunning Sheherazade who outwitted him, but the composer himself gave no precise indication of the stories she told night after night to postpone her execution.
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