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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » B » Borodin, Alexander Porfir'yevich

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Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin (11/12/1833 - 2/27/1887)

Borodin was a member of The Five, or The Mighty Handful (so named by the Russian critic and librarian Vladimir Stasov). These were the principal nationalist composers in later-19th-century Russia, following the example of Glinka, their forerunner. Borodin, like some of his musical colleagues, pursued a career in addition to music, winning distinction as a professor of chemistry. His output was limited by the amount of attention he was able to give to composition, and at his death he left a number of works unfinished (subsequently completed by his friend Rimsky-Korsakov and others).


Borodin’s most famous opera, Prince Igor, was completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. It includes the famous ‘Polovtsian Dances’, choral dances with which the captive prince is entertained by Khan Konchak.

Orchestral Music

The best-known example of Borodin’s orchestral music is the musical picture In the Steppes of Central Asia, a vivid evocation of an exotic region. The second of his three symphonies occupied him intermittently for seven years; it is an attractive and very Russian work, which, along with Symphony No 1 and the unfinished Third Symphony, forms an important addition to nationalist symphonic repertoire.

Chamber Music



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