'Scheherazade,' 1001 Nights Retold in a Symphony For centuries, storytellers of the Middle East have been retelling the tales of Sinbad and Aladdin. But the first teller of those tales, according to legend, was a young bride named Scheherazade. Rimsky-Korsakov spins the tale in music. Marin Alsop conducts.
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Alsop discusses Scheherazade on 'Weekend Edition Saturday'

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'Scheherazade,' 1001 Nights Retold in a Symphony

'Scheherazade,' 1001 Nights Retold in a Symphony

Alsop discusses Scheherazade on 'Weekend Edition Saturday'

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Bedtime stories took on a new meaning for Scheherazade. Her husband, the Sultan, had the nasty habit of marrying a woman at night and killing her in the morning.

So Scheherazade thought up a plan. Every night she would tell him a story, and leave it hanging. 1001 captivating stories later, he decided to keep her.

These Tales of the Arabian Nights inspired Russian composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to compose a symphonic suite called Scheherazade in 1888. In the hands of a good orchestra and conductor, it's a technicolor tour de force.

Conductor Marin Alsop says a successful performance of Scheherazade is all about telling the story.

Rimsky-Korsakov Lets the Symphony Tell the Story

Alsop discusses Scheherazade on 'Weekend Edition Saturday'

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The Sultan Forgives Scheherazade by Arthur Boyd Houghton (1836-1875). Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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After 1001 nights of captivating storytelling, the Sultan forgives his young bride Scheherazade.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Music from 'Scheherazade'

Hear two selections from 'Scheherazade' conducted by Marin Alsop's mentor, Leonard Bernstein (leading the New York Philharmonic in 1959).

Scheherazade, symphonic suite for orchestra, Op. 35

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Scheherazade, symphonic suite for orchestra, Op. 35

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Alsop discusses Scheherazade on 'Weekend Edition Saturday'

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