When I first thought about a piece of music for this assignment, I was unsure which one would stimulate my imagination. I mean, I had listened to some of the listed composers, but they did not evoke a great emotional response from me. Furthermore, they did not give rise to any visual associations. That is why I thought the music of my choice should be intriguing and inspirational. For that reason, I decided to choose “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov. The title itself promised many interesting images. This symphonic poem allowed me to imagine an eastern fairy tale from the beginning to the end.
The first part of the story, “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship,” made me think of Sinbad’s voyages. At first, a great ship came into my mind. The piece of music evoked a spirit of discovery in me. So, I thought Sinbad’s ship must have been gorgeous. Probably it was huge and decorated with wooden predators like wolves or tigers. I imagined great white sails and Sinbad looking proudly at the horizon line. It seemed to me as if he knew where he was moving since he was expressing confidence in sailing. I do not know why but the music resembled the movement of waves. I imagined a bright sunny day and seagulls flying in the cloudless sky. Furthermore, the sea was calm. Thus, the idyllic marine landscape came into my mind. Suddenly, the tempo of the piece of music changed. I heard the notes of danger in it highlighted by the violins. The first image that appeared in my mind was a great and terrible storm. I imagined how the sky suddenly darkened and the wind began to bluster. Still, the brave sailors were struggling with the storm. They did not want to abandon such a nice ship. Then, the music switched to the peaceful tones again; therefore, I realized that the storm was over. After some time, the music changed to the solemn tones. At that point, I imagined that the ship reached the land. I thought that the sounds of the tubes present in the piece of music reflected the impression the ship made on local people. When the music stopped, I realized that it was the end of the first part, so I imagined that Sinbad and his sailors left their ship and went to see the king of Bagdad.
The second part of the symphonic poem called “The Kalendar Prince” made quite an impression on me. I mean, I thought it would reflect the great deeds of the sailor. However, I heard the lyrical music. It made me think that Sinbad was complaining about his life on board. According to the piece of music, this experienced sailor had many miserable days. I imagined him talking about being hungry and thirsty, ill and cold. I could nothing but guess how he was suffering during the voyage. The minor chords of the violin created the corresponding mood for that. However, the music changed in a few minutes and moved to heroic sounds. At that point, I started to imagine how Sinbad was fighting with his enemies. Sometimes there were pirates at sea and severe storms. I even imagined one of the sea monsters that Sinbad could have met. After all, it was just a fairy tale and monsters usually live in fairy tales.
I guess the third part of the story “The Young Prince and The Young Princess” marked the appearance of the princess. When I heard the romantic tones of the violin, I imagined the princess, who was wearing something like hijab. At least, this is how I imagine women in the Arabic countries. Apart from that, she was a very modest girl. I could tell it by the way the music sounded. I imagined that she was sitting there throwing glances at Sinbad, but could not say anything. Still, I imagined that the king allowed the couple to talk for some time. I could tell it by the music tones that alternated. When the subtle tones were playing, it seemed to me that the princess was speaking. When the music was changing to more expressive one, I had a picture of Sinbad in my mind. Moreover, I imagined that they were having a good time flirting. I could tell it by the frivolous notes in the melody.
Finally, the fourth part of the story called “Festival at Bagdad” brought rather unexpected images into my mind. I could not imagine what the guests looked like at that festival. I imagined the tables full of different spicy dishes. There were a lot of grapes and oranges on the tables too. Still, I could imagine just a few strangers sitting at the tables, nothing more. Then, the music tempo changed and I heard the notes of joy in the melody. Moreover, it seemed to me as if I heard the waltz tempo in this symphonic poem. I know it may seem strange, but I imagined that Sinbad and the young princess were waltzing. The final chords of the piece of music made me imagine that the prince and princess lived long and happily.
To conclude, classical music has enormous power over people. I never have any images or associations when I listen to rock or pop music. However, listening to “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov evoked many images in my mind. I imagined how Sinbad traveled across the world and I saw the storm and ship, which was moored to the land. It was not difficult to imagine how Sinbad was talking about his voyages as well. The romantic tones created images of the dialog between the prince and princess. Finally, I imagined their wedding in the Arabian style. Owing to this wonderful symphonic poem, I had a chance to create my own vision of Sinbad’s story.
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