Alexander Borodin

Biography

Born: 1833   Died: 1887   Country: Russia   Period: Romantic
Though far from prolific as a composer -- by day he was a scientist noted for his research on aldehydes -- Alexander Borodin nevertheless earned a secure place in the history of Russian music. As a creative spirit, Borodin was the most accomplished of the Russian nationalists composers. He had a particular gift for the distinctive stripe of exoticism so evident in his most frequently performed work, the Polovtsian Dances from the opera Prince Read more Igor.

The illegitimate son of a Georgian prince and a doctor's wife, Borodin enjoyed a comfortable upbringing. As a child he learned to play several instruments and tried his hand at composing, but other aptitudes directed his formal education. He studied chemistry at St. Petersburg's Medico-Surgical Academy, obtaining his doctorate in 1858 and pursuing further studies in Europe until 1862. Upon his return to Russia, he became a professor at his alma mater; but even as an academic career apparently loomed before him, he maintained a devotion to music.

Under the influence of Mily Balakirev, whom he met in 1862, Borodin became interested in applying elements of Russian folk music to works for the concert hall and stage. He joined a circle of like-minded composers -- Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Cui -- famously dubbed "The Five" or "The Mighty Handful." The influence of Balakirev in particular is at once in evident in the Symphony No. 1 in E flat major (1867). Borodin began the much craggier Symphony No. 2 in B minor in 1869, the same year he commenced labor on his most important work, the opulent four-act opera Prince Igor. While it took Borodin more than five years to complete the symphony, work on Prince Igor dragged on for decades. Borodin, who had in the meantime completed a number of other works, left the opera unfinished at the time of his death. It was completed posthumously by Rimsky-Korsakov, a skillful craftsman and a particularly apt match for Borodin's colorful musical character, and Alexander Glazunov. Glazunov also completed the Symphony No. 3 in A minor, which the composer had been working on until the time of his death.

Aside from teaching chemistry and conducting research, Borodin helped found a series of medical courses for women in 1872. Such activities, as well as the poor health that plagued him in the 1880s, drained the energy that he might have devoted to composition. Still, as a part-time composer, Borodin jeft a significant oeuvre: more than a dozen worthy songs, miscellaneous piano pieces, two string quartets (the second of which contains a ravishing Nocturne often performed in an arrangement for string orchestra), and the popular tone poem In the Steppes of Central Asia (1880). He died while attending a ball in St. Petersburg on February 27, 1887. Read less
Borodin Edition
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94410   Number of Discs: 10
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Borodin: Complete Chamber Music
Release Date: 02/09/2010   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 93973   Number of Discs: 3
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Borodin: Prince Igor / Abdrazakov, Dyka, Petrenko, Noseda, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
Release Date: 09/16/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002133559   Number of Discs: 1
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Borodin: Symphonies No 1 & 2, Etc / Hirokami, Malmö So
Release Date: 07/18/1995   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 726   Number of Discs: 1
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Rachmaninov, Borodin, Shostakovich: Cello Sonatas / Chaushian, Sudbin
Release Date: 03/29/2011   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1858   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: In the steppes of central Asia

Browse 51-61 of 61 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Borodin & Mussorgsky: Orchestral Works
    Label: Vox   Catalog: 7208 Release Date: 02/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Borodin: Symphonies 1, 2 & 3, Etc / Davis, Toronto So
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 62406 Release Date: 04/16/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Sir Andrew Davis,  Leonard Bernstein,  Saulius Sondeckis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  St. Petersburg Camerata of the Hermitage Museum
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  • 53.
    Borodin: Symphony 2, Polovtsian Dances;  Mussorgsky
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69021 Release Date: 10/17/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  William Steinberg,  Constantin Silvestri,  André Cluytens,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Borodin: Symphonies No 1 & 2, Etc / Hirokami, Malmö So
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 726 Release Date: 07/18/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Jun'ichi Hirokami
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra
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  • 55.
    100 Fiedler Favorites
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 62698 Release Date: 10/11/1994   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Stevie Wonder,  George Cory,  Jerry Herman  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Litwin,  Earl Wild,  Pasquale Cardillo,  Toni Noichl  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 56.
    Borodin: Symphonies 1 & 2, Etc / Ashkenazy, Royal Po
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436651 Release Date: 04/04/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 57.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics Vol 1
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 551141 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Edvard Grieg,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  István Székely
    Conductor:  Alexander Rahbari,  Anthony Bramall,  Zdenek Kosler,  Daniel Nazareth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 58.
    Borodin: Three Symphonies, Petite Suite, Polovetsian Dances
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435757 Release Date: 07/01/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Performer:  Torgny Sporsen
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Chorus
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  • 59.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Nazareth
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550051 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Daniel Nazareth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Borodin: Symphony No 2, Polovtsian Dances / Tjeknavorian
    Label: Rca Silver Seal   Catalog: 60535 Release Date: 04/05/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Loris Tjeknavorian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812, Marche Slave, Etc / Järvi, Gothenburg So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429984 Release Date: 03/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Chorus,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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