Variations on a Theme of Glinka

From Wind Repertory Project
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (ed. Clark McAlister)

Subtitle: For Solo Oboe and Military Band (1878)

General Info

Year: 1878 / 1987
Duration: c. 8:55
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Master Music Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Solo Oboe
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Tuba I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Side Drum
  • Triangle


In Score:

  • E-flat Alto Clarinet, m.80: Should be B-natural on beat two.

In Parts:

  • Flute I/II, m.133: Part is missing an accidental (should be A-natural)
  • Solo Oboe, m.55: Part is Missing the first note (E eighth note)
  • E-flat Alto Clarinet, m.80: Part is should be C-sharp on beat two (score is also incorrect; it should be marked as B-natural)
  • Bassoon II, m.111: Part is missing an accidental (should be B-natural)
  • Bassoon II, m.114: Part is missing an accidental (should be A-natural)
  • Solo Oboe, m.115: Part has an incorrect rhythm (should match the score)
  • Solo Oboe, m.119: Part is missing a rehearsal marking [13]
  • E-flat Soprano Clarinet, m.127: Part is missing an accidental on beat 1 (should be F#)

Program Notes

Based on the theme of the song What a Young Beauty (Что, красотка молодая) by Mikhail Glinka.

- Program Note from IMSLP

Of his works for band, Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote in Annals of My Musical Life,

“During the years 1876-1877, I composed, sort of by the way, variations for oboe based on Glinka’s song What, Young Beauty, and a concerto for trombone, both of these accompanied by military band. These compositions were performed at the Kronstadt concerts under my direction. These works were written, first of all, to present something different and, secondly, to help me master the unfamiliar virtuoso style, with its solo, tutti, cadenzas, and so forth. ”

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

Although published in the United States as Variations on a Theme of Glinka for Oboe and Military Band, the work’s true title by the composer, when translated, is Variations for Oboe and Wind Orchestra. This concertante, the second of three written by Rimsky-Korsakov for the Russian Navy Bands, is a set of twelve variations on the melody of What, Beautiful Maiden by Glinka. It was first performed in March 1878 with Rimsky-Korsakov conducting and Russian Navy NCO Ranishevsky as the oboe soloist.

In his autobiography, Chronicle of My Musical Life, the composer writes: "[The three compositions for solo instrument and wind orchestra] were written, firstly, with the goal of providing concert solo works for instruments not often afforded such roles, and secondly, for me to master the virtuosic concerto/concertante compositional style, with its solo, tutti, cadenzas, etc."

- Program Notes by Andrew McMahan


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor; Kyle Cho, oboe) - 23 April 2023
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) Adult Band Camp (Thomas Riccobono, conductor) - 14 August 2022
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (Dennis Llinás, conductor; Alex Klein, oboe) - 15 April 2022
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russell C. Mikkelson, conductor) - 17 November 2021
  • St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Matthew Mireles, conductor; Alicia Cordoba Tait, oboe) – 30 April 2019
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) – 11 April 2019
  • Peabody Preparatory Wind Orchestra (Baltimore, Md.) (Elijah Wirth, conductor; Corinne Foley, oboe) – 15 December 2018
  • Mid America Freedom Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (Lee Hartman, conductor; Tiffany Nesbihal, oboe) – 20 October 2018
  • Mercer Island (Wash.) High School Wind Ensemble (Parker Bixby, conductor; Katherine Gelsey, oboe) – 11 March 2018
  • Angelo State University (San Angelo, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (Jonathan Alvis, conductor; Jeff Womack, oboe) – 6 March 2017
  • Lynn Conservatory of Music (Boca Raton, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Amis, conductor; Titus Underwood, oboe) – 14 January 2017
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas P. Waldron, conductor; Matthew Butterfield, oboe) – 5 December 2016
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (Scott A. Jones, conductor; Gabrielle Castriotta, oboe) - 2 March 2016 (81st Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Toronto (Ont., Can.) Youth Wind Orchestra (Colin Clarke, conductor; Sarah Jeffrey, oboe) – 5 December 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer