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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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In Search of Beauty: Autocracy, Music, and Painting in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russia

In Search of Beauty: Autocracy, Music, and Painting in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russia

(p.301) In Search of Beauty: Autocracy, Music, and Painting in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russia
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World

Leon Botstein

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter examines Rimsky-Korsakov in the context of Russian politics, philosophy, and aesthetics in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, drawing some persuasive parallels between the development of Russian music and Russian painting. Lyricism and poetic beauty defined great music for Rimsky-Korsakov. Music—and all art—was, in the end, about beauty. By the mid-1890s, beauty as Rimsky-Korsakov understood it seemed out of fashion. He hoped that future generations would rediscover classicist aesthetics, but he feared the historic inevitability of a progressive “degeneration” in the arts. Nevertheless, his project was to strengthen the role of music in Russia and assert its value as art. This required finding the right accommodation with the Russian state and the monarchy. Ultimately, it led Rimsky on a career that paralleled and intersected with developments in Russian painting and with the work of Russia's leading visual artists.

Keywords:   Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian politics, philosophy, aesthetics, Russian music, Russian painting, lyricism, poetic beauty, classicist aesthetics, visual artists

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