Elements of Music
Rimsky-Korsakov composed his famous Russian Easter Overture in 1888. Since that time it has remained one of the notable masterpieces that correctly reflects the mood of the holiday to which it is devoted and inspires all people who listen to it. Describing this very piece, the composer stated that one of the main elements of this music is the mood that is associated with this important event in the life of every Orthodox Christian.
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The legendary and incredibly mysterious aspect of this very holiday becomes the central aspect of the whole overture. Every listener becomes affected by these sounds and correctly understands the mood that the composer wanted to evoke. The introduction is very lengthy and slow for all individuals to feel the serious nature of Easter and all events that preceded it. The transition from the moods of Holy Friday and Passion Saturday to Easter Sunday is reflected in the music which becomes the leading theme of the masterpiece.
The next part of the overture starts with the theme Let God arise and the Allegro, which shows the alteration in moods of people who wait for the holiday and who consider it to be the most important event in their lives. The significance of the resurrection and its meaning for the Orthodox world is shown via the alteration of instruments’ voice as Rimsky-Korsakov uses solemn trumpet sounds to attract attention to the events and inspire people who listen to the overture. Finally, the compose refers to the motifs of services at church to show the religious meaning of the given event and create the needed mood.
Altogether, the major elements and the most important elements of music peculiar to the Russian Easter Overture is the combination of fast and slow tempos. The lengthy start is followed by the fast parts where allegro is used to emphasize the importance of the moment. Solemn and mysterious motifs also contribute to the creation of unique sounding that is associated with the Orthodox Easter and its significance for the religious beliefs of people living in various states.
Dmitri Kitajenko’s Conduct
Dmitri Kitajenko was one of the outstanding Russian conductors who grasped the nature of the Russian Easter Overture perfectly and managed to represent it in a distinctive way, preserving its sounding and showing its passion and solemnity. The first part of the masterpiece remains slow and sonorous. The orchestra plays calmly and serenely. Adhering to this tempo, players start to create the needed mood and affect listeners, preparing them for the next parts of the overture.
However, following Rimsky-Korsakov’s ideas, Kitajenko becomes more passionate and conducts in another way. His movements get faster to increase the tempo and show the orchestra the need for stronger passages and a different tone. That is where the Allegro part starts. All the musicians sound in the way the composer wanted. Their playing hails the Holy Spirit and the miracle of Resurrection through the interpretation of somber and mysterious notes.
Sometimes, Kitajenko reduces the tempo to make listeners think about the role this event plays in their lives and its religious significance. However, these moments are followed by new dignified sounds to create an atmosphere of the Church and convey the main composer’s message. In such a way, the conductor’s vision coincides with Korsakov’s one, as he manages to perfectly demonstrate the beauty of this masterpiece and show the mood of Easter. Kitajenko’s manner to conduct can be considered one of the best perspectives on Russian Easter Overture, which correctly reflects its spirit and profoundly affects listeners.