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

Work: Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances

Browse 76-85 of 85 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    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
    CD: $4.99
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  • 77.
    Borodin: Symphony No 2, Etc / Rozhdestvensky, Stockholm Po
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9386 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 78.
    Art Of Classics - Beliebte Orchesterwerke
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 25920 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Siegfried Köhler,  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Günther Wich,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Hungarica,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $15.99
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  • 79.
    Can-Can and other Dances from the Opera
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550924 Release Date: 05/09/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Manuel de Falla,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Johannes Wildner,  Adrian Leaper,  Barry Wordsworth,  Ondrej Lenárd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 80.
    Classics - The Power & The Majesty / Shaw, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80397 Release Date: 01/24/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Hector Berlioz,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Dent
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chorus,  Morehouse-Spellman Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 81.
    An Evening Of Opera / Rene Leibowitz
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 61 Release Date: 06/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Jacques Offenbach,  Paul Dukas  ... 
    Conductor:  René Leibowitz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    CD: $17.99
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  • 82.
    Orchestral Spectacular
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550501 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 83.
    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
    CD: $6.99
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  • 84.
    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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    CD: $17.99
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  • 85.
    Stravinsky: The Firebird;  Borodin / Shaw, Atlanta So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80039 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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