The tales of Scheherazade

You may not know the name Scheherazade, but I’m quite sure you’ve heard the story. Scheherazade was the storyteller in One Thousand and One Nights, otherwise known as Arabian Nights.

Scheherazade by Alberto Vargas 1921

Scheherazade by Alberto Vargas 1921

Shahryar is the Persian King of Kings. One night, he finds his wife unfaithful and believes all women are unfaithful. So, he marries a different virgin every night and beheads them the next day.

After beheading one thousand women, he comes across Scheherazade. She’s highly educated and highly intelligent.

She tells him a story that’s so captivating, Shahryar can’t wait to hear the end of it. But the dawn arises and she had to continue the next night.

So, the next night, she finishes the story. But then begins another one even more fascinating. After one thousand nights, Shahryar falls in love with Scheherazade and calls off the executions.

The stories of Scheherazade

Several of her stories have made it into American culture. You’ve no doubt heard of at least Aladdin, Ali Baba, or Sinbad. Those all came from her tales.

Sinbad was one of Scheherazade's characters

Sinbad was one of Scheherazade’s characters

Disney did a great job with Aladdin. Of course, primary credit goes to Robin Williams for his portrayal of the Genie.

I was a huge fan of Sinbad the Sailor, the old films with stop action monsters.

Rimsky-Korsakov

Well, you saw this coming. You knew I’d tie this to music because I want to introduce people to more Classical music since I hate today’s pop music with a passion.

Rimsky-Korsakov is a huge influence on me. He was a great 19th century Russian Romantic composer. He also wrote a book on orchestration that I’ve yet to read. (I’ve studied Walter Piston’s and Hector Berlioz’s/Richard Strauss’s).

In Russia at the time, Orientalism was big. Orientalism is an art history term where the West attempts to portray the East. Keep in mind, we had no internet and very few people traveled much back then, so artistic accuracy wasn’t exactly excellent.

Rimsky-Korsakov wrote what was considered exotic back then. He based this symphonic suite on the tales of the Arabian Nights, but decided to call the whole piece Scheherazade.

Enjoy!

About

Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie, and he can still throw a football

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