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Alexander Borodin
1833 - 1887
Picture Picture
A.P. Borodin
Alexander Porfir'yevich [Alexander] Borodin (30/10/1833 - 15/02/1887), a Russian composer. He was born in St. Petersburg. He was a composer and a chemist. Borodin learned medicine and chemistry at the medico-Surgical academy in St. Petersburg. Later he was appointed to the chair of Chemistry. During this time period, Borodin published a few important research papers on aldehydes and amarines. In 1872 Borodin helped found a medical school for women. Borodin always made time for composing music as a recreation. He had started studying for music at a very early age. He wrote his first flute concerto when he was only 13. His first major work was Symphony in E-flat in 1867. his major works include The Bogatirs in 1867, On the Steppes of Central Asia in 1880, two string quartets in 1881 and the opera Prince Igor in 1890.
The passing of Borodin was comic. It was the final day of carnival, and friends had come to a party at his house. He was in high spirits, taking part in the dancing and singing. He played sections of his third symphony on the piano. Then, on starting a new conversation, he turned pale, staggered and fell backwards. When his friends picked him up, he was dead.
Composed in:1877
Musical form:fragment
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Label(s):Cala CACD 1029
Borodin's Requiem for Solo tenor, Men's chorus and Orchestra, is quite a short piece and has very little to do with any attempt at a full-scale requiem. In fact it originated in a short polka in which Borodin incorporated the nursery rhyme Tati-Tati (also known as Chopsticks). Other members of the "Mighty Handful" also wrote short pieces using this children's song, so that Borodin later completed two other pieces also incorporating Tati-Tati, Requiem and March. Borodin apparently mentioned the words "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis" seemingly meant for tenor and male voice chorus. Why he did so, we are not told. Leopold Stokowski made an arrangement of it including tenor and male voices. As might be expected, Stokowski's arrangement is quite effective though, as usual, he tended to make it sound larger than life. A curiosity, though well worth the occasional hearing.
Author:Hubert Culot