“A tsar will arise on Russian lands, and there’ll be no power on earth that won’t submit to him!” declares the hero of Gogol’s novella Taras Bulbabefore he’s burned at the stake. It was this novella – and this scene in particular – that inspired Leoš Janáček’s orchestral rhapsody of the same name.

Repin Cossacks Ilya Repin’s Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire, 1891


This article is available online for Limelight subscribers. LOG IN now or SUBSCRIBE to gain access and you could win a double pass Australian Chamber Orchestra subscription.