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Russian Romantic Composer Alexander Borodin Born On This Day

Borodin was a doctor and chemist in addition to a member of the Russian composer group "The Five"

 

Alexander Borodin, who was born on this day in 1833, had his initial exposure to music through his mother and her friends, who were amateur musicians. He showed an early interest in the piano and began to explore music informally. Borodin also taught himself cello and was an enthusiastic chamber music player.

As a composer, he was also largely self-taught, although after befriending Balakirev, Borodin would often seek his valuable feedback on his compositions. His proficiency in orchestration and his ability to create memorable melodies demonstrated his natural talent and understanding of the craft.

Borodin was a member of a group of Russian composers known as "The Five" or "The Mighty Handful," which also included: Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The group aimed to create a distinctly Russian style of classical music.

His signature works include 3 symphonies, a symphonic poem "In the Steppes of Central Asia" , the opera "Prince Igor" and 2 string quartets. Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 is particularly well-regarded. The third movement, includes the famous "Nocturne," a beautiful and lyrical piece. The "Polovtsian Dances" from "Prince Igor" are among Borodin's most famous and frequently performed compositions. They are lively, rhythmic, and colorful, reflecting the influence of Russian folk music.

Despite his contributions to music, Borodin considered himself more of a "hobbyist composer." His primary profession was in chemistry, and he made significant contributions to the field. He was also an advocate of women having the right to pursue medical careers and founded the Women's School of Medicine, in St Petersburg.

 

BORODIN QUARTET - ROSTISLAV DUBINSKY, YAROSLAV ALEXANDROV, DMITRI SHEBALIN & VALENTIN BERLINSKY | BORODIN STRING QUARTET NO. 2 | 1973

 

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