Topoi and Symbols in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Poetics


Rimsky-Korsakov repeatedly used the word “zvukosozertsanie” (звукосозерцание) —  a world view, or world contemplation, expressed in musical sounds. He did not claim to create an integral system of musical mythology (like Wagner), but we can try to reconstruct it, revealing some topoi and symbols, which are most important for his poetics: Sea, Lake, Sky, Sun, Stars, Earth, Forest, Garden, and City. The system of poetical mythology created by Rimsky-Korsakov appears deeply connected with the European tradition, and at the same time —  highly original.