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Rimsky-Korsakov and His World$
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Marina Frolova-Walker

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182711

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182711.001.0001

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“You, Mozart, Aren’t Worthy of Yourself”: Aesthetic Discontents of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri

“You, Mozart, Aren’t Worthy of Yourself”: Aesthetic Discontents of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri

Chapter:
(p.97) “You, Mozart, Aren’t Worthy of Yourself”: Aesthetic Discontents of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri
Source:
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World
Author(s):

Anna Nisnevich

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691182711.003.0003

This chapter analyzes Rimsky-Korsakov's creative crisis by considering his opera Mozart and Salieri. With Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov was compelled to interrogate directly—for the first time in his life—the very core of his professional being, and so query the very grounds of composerly worthiness. Indeed, in his Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov summoned historical styles not to comment on history, but to confront the contemporaneity that appeared increasingly incapacitated by what he'd identified in 1892 as metaphysical excess, but what he was now coming to see as a more widespread ailment, “the indifference of taste”—the loss of familiar experiential connection, of active kinship between life and art. His opera did not just celebrate the creator sympathetically aligned with his environment; it offered an object lesson in the proliferation of sentience.

Keywords:   Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Mozart and Salieri, Mozart, Salieri, composer, contemporaneity, metaphysical excess, experiential connection, sentience, opera

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