After completing their much-appraised cycle of Richard Strauss’ orchestral works, Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic explore a selection of colourful and folklore-inspired works by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. The album is available in stores and online now on Lawo Classics. It will be available physically in The UK on 12 June.

It was Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s older brother, Voin, who first put ideas of travel, ships and the sea into the would-be composer’s head. The young Nikolay had never set foot aboard a boat but Voin’s evocative letters home from the Far East, where he was stationed in the Imperial Russian Navy, proved to be more than sufficient.

In 1856, he enrolled as a naval cadet and completed six years of training. Barely a year into his studies at the naval academy, the young Nikolay saw his first opera. Soon he heard symphonies by Beethoven and Mendelssohn and encountered a piece by his senior Mikhail Glinka, Jota Aragonesa.

Even before he embarked on a three-year voyage around the world aboard a clipper, Rimsky knew he wanted to be a composer, not a seaman. Afterwards, having sailed into some of the great ports of the world, he returned home happy never to leave Russia again – the only journeys Rimsky wanted to make were musical.

Listen to Rimsky-Korsakov: Orchestral Works on Spotify!