The Origins of Dapnis et Chloe (1912)

19th-Century Music, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Summer 2004), pp. 50-76
by Simon Morrison

Besides Maurice Ravel’s score, the remnants of the original production of Daphnis et Chloé—one known stage photograph, an assortment of studio photographs, seven known costumes, brief reviews, anecdotal memoirs, and a bundle of pencil and pastel drawings—constitute choreographer Mikhail Fokine’s draft and revised scenarios. There also exist proof pages for a shorter version of the 1910 piano score, musical evidence to suggest that Fokine conceived the ballet in 1907 for another composer, and reproductions of Léon Bakst’s stage décor.Though interrelated, these materials are scattered across the globe, preserved in libraries and museums in Russia, Sweden, France, En-gland, and the United States. Their contents detail...

The semiotics of symmetry, or Rimsky-Korsakov's operatic history lesson

By Simon Morrison for Elena Strona - November 2001

Abstract: Rimsky-Korsakov dwelled at length on his place in music history. His musings informed his creative processes, notably his handling of operatic time and space relationships. His stage works rely on structural and syntactic reflection rather than patterns of cause and effect for cohesion. This article examines the narrative contents of Sadko (1896), a setting of the merchant tale "Sadko the Rich Trader" that follows the contours of the Orpheus parable. The analysis, focusing on the mirror relationships between Russians and non-Russians, indicates that the composer conceived the score as a parody of nationalism and orientalism. In depicting self as other and other as self, Sadko also demonstrates the inherent universality, rather than the inherent Russianness, of Rimsky-Korsakov's music. 

ArticlesErika Barbee
Skryabin and the Impossible

Journal of The American Musicological Society
By Simon Morrison - 1998

Abstract: We demand of the poet that he should constantly offer up his "holy sacrifices," not only in his verses but in every hour of his life, every feeling: in his love, in his hatred, in his achievements, and in his failings. Let the poet create not his books, but his life. Let him ...

ArticlesErika Barbee