When in need of musical balm, and when in doubt of where to seek it…turn to Russia. At least, that’s how it’s always been with me.
There’s just something about the Russian musical character that grabs me whenever I hear one of the greats. There’s this quality of epic brooding, but there’s also heartfelt lyricism…as if they’re allowing themselves just a moment of optimism here and there. Russian music always has an exotic quality to it, as the European and the Asian souls meet somewhere in the middle. Occident and Orient come together and make for something often magical.
I heard this work the other morning on the radio, and I’d forgotten about it until then. It’s the Suite from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, and like every Rimsky-Korsakov work, it’s full of exotic wonder, excitement, and lyrical song-like passages. Listen to this and tell me that it doesn’t take you somewhere!