Rimsky-Korsakov, who studied piano and composition as a child, abandoned his early career as a naval cadet to devote himself entirely to music.
He belonged to a group of 19th century Russian nationalist composers (with Cui, Borodine, Balakirev and Moussorgski) known as the "Mighty Handful" or the Five.
Rimsky-Korsakov was mainly self-taught, but achieved professional competence through disciplined study.
At the age of 27 he was appointed professor of orchestration and composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. He was a respected teacher and Stravinsky, Glazunov, Arensky and Ljadov figured among his many pupils.
He was a proficient orchestrator and set himself the task of completing and revising the work of some of his fellow-composers, such as Borodin's opera "Prince Igor" and much of the seemingly uneven writing of his friend Moussorgsky.
Generally known for his colourful orchestral compositions, Rimsky-Korsakov also wrote songs and choral music, chamber music and works for piano.
Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
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Rimski-Korsakov: Symphony No. 3
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