The years from 1881 until his death in 1908 saw the creation of thirteen out of Rimsky-Korsakov's fifteen operas and the majority of his orchestral works. After Tchaikovsky's death in 1893, Rimsky-Korsakov took on the mantle of Russia's leading composer. Further works by this composer are considered in Chapter 3.
(a) G. A. Laroche: A new opera from the Young Russian School. Snegurochka ('The Snowmaiden') by A. Ostrovsky and N. Rimsky-Korsakov, staged by the Private Opera Theatre. Russian Herald, October 1885, vol. 179, pp. 872– 90. Laroche 3, pp. 279–94
This springtime folk-tale (vesennyaya skazka) was composed in 1880–81 and first staged in St Petersburg on 29 January 1882. Laroche uses the term 'Young Russian School' to refer to the composers in the Balakirev circle, though by this date the circle was more a matter of history than a present reality.
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov is widely and deservedly respected as composer, professor and public figure. As his compositions and the tenor of the programmes performed at the Free School of Music when he was conductor there seem to prove, Rimsky-Korsakov's sympathies lie with the 'Young Russian School', in other words, with the extreme left. Yet when still a young man he received and accepted an invitation to the St Petersburg Conservatoire, an institution which was in fact multi-faceted and eclectic, but which was regarded as a hotbed of aesthetic conservatism. At the time, such a choice might have seemed unexpected and paradoxical, but if an action can be vindicated by subsequent events, then Korsakov's invitation to the Chair of Instrumentation and Practical Composition was completely justified. In this environment, new and apparently foreign to him, the young professor displayed qualities that no one had any right to expect, qualities without which it was perfectly possible to be an interesting, talented and appealing composer. The academic