Fantasy on Serbian Themes

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote his Fantasia on Serbian Themes, Op. 6, in 1867. Mily Balakirev conducted the first performed of this piece in May of that year. It is also known as the Serbian Fantasy.

The Fantasy was actually Balakirev's idea for the young Rimsky-Korsakov to compose.[1] He requested the piece for a concert of pan-Slavonic music he had planned for May 24, 1867,[2] programming his Czech Overture on the same billing.[3] Balakirev also produced the Serbian themes for Rimsky-Korsakov to use in his composition.[1] Rimsky-Korsakov confessed in his autobiography that it was not any feeling of nationalism or pan-Slavism that prompted him to write the Fantasy, but the beauty of the themes themselves.[1] Nevertheless, Balakirev liked the piece, which Rimsky-Korsakov had written rapidly.[1]

A March 1868 review of the Fantasy by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in which he also mentioned Rimsky-Korsakov's First Symphony found favour within the Balakirev circle.[4] Tchaikovsky mentioned the symphony's "charming orchestration ... its structural novelty, and most of all by the freshness of its purely Russian harmonic turns ... immediately [showing] Mr. Rimsky-Korsakov to be a remarkable symphonic talent."[4] Tchaikovsky was already acquainted with Balakirev and was working with him on his fantasy overture Romeo and Juliet The review opened the door for him to meet the other members of "The Five" face-to-face the following month.[5]

In 1887 Rimsky-Korsakov revised the piece to prepare it for a new edition undertaken by Mitrofan Belyayev's publishing firm.[6]


  • Brown, David, Tchaikovsky: The Early Years, 1840-1874 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1978). ISBN 0-393-07535-4.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai, Letoppis Moyey Muzykalnoy Zhizni (St. Petersburg, 1909), published in English as My Musical Life (New York: Knopf, 1925, 3rd ed. 1942). ISBN n/a.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.