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Composer of the Month: Borodin

thu 30 jan 2020
Theme: Classical Music
Genre: Classical

In February 2020 we’re focussing on a Russian. For aristocrat and advocate of women’s rights Alexander Borodin (1833-1987) composing was something he did alongside his normal work as a chemist. It explains his modest output, much of it chamber music, intended for performance privately. But Borodin was anything but a hobbyist: he was inspired by the leading composers of the day , travelled all over Europe and became friends with Frans Liszt. He was one of Borodin’s first fans: Liszt brought his symphonic poem In the Steppes of Central Asia into the repertoire .

Handful
Borodin is known as a member of ‘The Mighty Handful’, a group of five Russian composers who in the second half of the nineteenth century combined folk music with their own inventions to something which became known as ‘typical russian’ . Additionally the interest in historic themes is more 19th century than Russian. Borodin chose a border conflict with Steppe tribes from the 12th century as his subject and wrote the opera Prins Igor. He didn’t finish it. The Polovtsian Dances from the finale of the second act were an immediate hit, even under Communism. Borodin’s music became beloved as a national treasure and became an excellent export product too. In Composer of the Month February Emanuel Overbeeke selected lovely and exceptional recordings of all the famous but also less well-known works by Alexander Borodin.

Listen
Composer of the month. Compiled by Emanuel Overbeeke. From 30th January every work day at 16.00.