Tune of the Day: Theme from Scheherazade
The symphonic suite Scheherazade was composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888. It is based on The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, sometimes known as The Arabian Nights. Rimsky-Korsakov's headnote explains the scenario:
The Sultan Schahriar, persuaded of the falseness and faithlessness of women, has sworn to put to death each one of his wives after the first night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by interesting him in tales she told him during 1001 nights. Pricked by curiosity, the Sultan put off his wife's execution from day to day, and at last gave up entirely his bloody plan.
Four such lifesaving narratives, rendered in music, follow. In later years, however, Rimsky-Korsakov declared that Scheherazade should be regarded as a symphonic suite with an unspecified Oriental program.
The theme we present today is probably the most famous, and appears at the beginning of the third movement, titled “The Young Prince and the Young Princess”.