S c h e h e r a z a d e – Oriental Dreamland
Central to this multimedia project, launched by the Swiss Piano Trio and the video director Arthur Spirk, is Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterpiece, Scheherezade.
The technical concept of this visual staging is unique as it is formed each time live during the performance. This means that the musicians are free in their interpretation, whereas the picture is treated like an instrument producing images instead of melodies according to the score.
Whilst the visual staging of this work expands the sensual experience of this music, composer Florian Noack’s chamber version brings to it a touching intimacy. It skilfully retains much of the vivid colouring of the original whilst revealing surprising details through its new-found transparency.
The Press about this project
The interpretation was excellent: technically perfect, significant, musically and optically compelling. An exclusive and sensual aural and visual pleasure.
St. Galler Tagblatt about the first performance of Scheherazade
Scheherezade – Oriental Dreamland
The fact that Rimsky-Korsakov named his Scheherezade after the narrator in Arabian Nights is somewhat misleading. According to his autobiography, he merely wished to evoke ‘a series of oriental figures and pictures like a kaleidoscope’ rather than specific stories from Arabian Nights. It was only later, on the advice of friends, that he gave the movements pictorial titles such as The Sea, Sinbad’s Ship and The Kalendar Prince. Indeed, when he changed his mind back yet again and tried to withdraw the titles the work had already gone to print and it was too late.
Our visual staging of Scheherezade honours Rimsky-Korsakov’s original intention, evoking oriental fantasies rather than stories. Rimsky’s image of the Orient was formed in particular by popular oriental motifs in contemporary painting, a kind of romantic dreamworld evoked by Delacroix and Ingres who, despite having no actual experience of the Orient, expertly conveyed the descriptions of others. Their paintings, highly atmospheric depictions of the Alhambra in Granada and the Harem in Istanbul, partner the kaleidoscopic images that Rimsky-Korsakov wished to portray to perfection.
Arthur Spirk, November 2013