This work was inspired by an Arabian tale by Sennkovsky, suggested to Rimsky-Korsakov by Modest Mussorgsky and César Cui. Antar, an enemy of all mankind, has become a recluse in the desert. He saves a gazelle from a large bird. Weary from fighting the bird, he falls asleep exhausted. He dreams he is in the palace of the Queen of Palmyra. The queen, the fairy Gul-Nazar, was the gazelle Antar saved from the bird. As a reward, she permits Antar to fulfill three of life’s greatest joys — vengeance, power and love. He accepts these gifts with gratitude, then makes a request himself. He asks the queen to take his life if these pleasures become tiresome. He then falls in love with the queen. After some time, however, he becomes weary of his passion. The queen takes him in her arms, kissing him with such ferocity that his life ebbs away.
3. Allegro risoluto alla marcia
4. Allegretto vivace; Andante amoroso
2. In the Village
3. In the Mosque (also, At Sunset)
4. Procession of the Sardar