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Alexander Borodin also known as Alexander Borodine - View Sheet Music for this Artist
  • a.k.a.: Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin
  • Russian
  • 12th November 1833 - 27th February 1887
  • You may know him for: Polovtsian Dances from the opera Prince Igor, was a member of "The Russian Five" or "The Mighty Handful"

Born in St. Petersburg as the illegitimate son of the Russian Prince Gedianov and his mistress, Madame Antonova, Borodin placed his love for chemistry above that of music already from the age of eight. Although a multilingual speaker and accomplished cellist by the time he was a teenager, Borodin's enthusiastic interest in science brought him to study organic chemistry in 1850. His medical career brought him much respect and recognition throughout Europe and he only began his musical career through the meeting and formation of "The Five", a group of fellow composers and avid supporters of Russian Nationalism. As a member of the group, Borodin, although the least involved, was possibly the most musically talented of them and completed his first chamber piece, the Piano Quintet in C minor, in 1862. He always claimed music came second to chemistry, and was thus only a hobby.

During this time of Borodin's "musical awakening", he met and married Ekaterina Sergeyevna Protopopova in 1863, a brilliant pianist in her own right. Although their married life was often chaotic and overrun with uninvited houseguests, Borodin remained happy and devoted to his wife. One might suggest that the happiness and joy he felt through this constant company brought him to a state of heightened musical inspiration, encouraging him to pursue his musical talents. Although having written a number of successful musical accomplishments, Borodin's most famous work was the grand Russian opera Prince Igor which, although started in 1867, was not completed until after his death in 1887 by composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. The Polovtsian Dances that featured in Prince Igor became the world-renowned tune Strangers in Paradise when, with new lyrics, they were used in the Broadway show Kismet.

On a grand scale, Borodin's music is distinctly romantic, while at the same time, patriotic and undeniably Russian. It is clearly apparent that devotion to chemical research took precedence over his musical work during his formative years. However, Borodin devoted himself wholly to furthering his musicianship in the last ten years of his life, thus making an indelible mark on the history of classical music of 19th century Russia.

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