Observing the use of landscape as a category of reception, whether in nineteenth-century debates about artistic realism or Soviet-era criticism, this article examines the uses of landscape in several songs by Rimsky-Korsakov and replaces a persistent emphasis in criticism on questions of representation with a focus on how music generates a sense of subjectivity. Three approaches facilitate a more subtle and variegated understanding of Rimsky-Korsakov's “soundscapes” than has been proposed so far. First, landscape is interpreted as a facet of Russian national identity in the second half of the nineteenth century. Second, the evocation of the sounds of the natural world is seen as a metapoetic commentary on the creative act, providing an “internal” commentary on landscape to match the “external” one of the nation. Intertwined with these two themes is a series of parallels between music, literature, and the visual arts, which together show that Rimsky-Korsakov's songs are indicative of a tension between dynamism and stasis that is characteristic of musical representation of landscapes, and that has often been seen as characteristic of Russian music more generally.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.