Author Topic: The Borodin Boardroom  (Read 12881 times)

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Offline BachQ

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The Borodin Boardroom
« on: April 12, 2007, 07:33:18 AM »
Decided not to call this Borodin's Bordello . . . . . .

Offline BachQ

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2007, 07:34:57 AM »
Borodin’s Boardroom

The Russian/Georgian composer Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (1833-1887) was a professional chemist (noted for his work on aldehydes) and a member of the group of composers called The Five (the mighty handful).



Borodin met Mily Balakirev in 1862 at which time he began his First Symphony (performed in 1869 under Balakirev) and Second Symphony in B Minor (which premiered in 1877 under Eduard Nápravník).  In 1869, Borodin focused on his opera Prince Igor, which, although remaining unfinished by Borodin (completed posthumously by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov), is regarded by many to be his most significant composition and one of the most important historical Russian operas. It contains the much beloved Polovetsian Dances, which are frequently performed as stand-alone concert pieces.  According to Wiki: “Other well-known compositions by Borodin include the popular symphonic poem In the Steppes of Central Asia and the second of two string quartets (in D Major), in which the composer's strong lyricism is represented in the popular "Nocturne" movement.  In 1882, Borodin began composing a third symphony, but left it unfinished at his death; two movements of it were later completed and orchestrated by Glazunov. Among Borodin's other works there are several art songs, piano pieces (notably the Petite Suite), and other chamber music (notably a cello sonata based on a theme from Bach's Sonata No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001).”

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Offline Brewski

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2007, 07:42:32 AM »
Decided not to call this Borodin's Bordello . . . . . .

I'm sure I speak for more than myself, in thanking you most heartily.   ;D

But back to Borodin.  A few years ago I finally heard his Symphony No. 2, by Gergiev and the Kirov, and thought to myself, "Here is yet again, another really fine piece -- that never sees the light of day in the concert hall."  I feel a rant coming on, so I'll stop, but I thought it was an excellent piece that many listeners would enjoy.  A shame you never see it.

PS, coming up at Carnegie Hall on December 4, and you can bet I'll be there:

Kirov Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Kirov Opera Chorus
Soloists from the Mariinsky Theater

Stravinsky: Les Noces
Borodin: Act II of Prince Igor

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline MishaK

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2007, 07:45:21 AM »
I am very fond of this Borodin performance:



Also repackaged thus:



The "Steppes of Central Asia" are particularly lovely.

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2007, 07:58:45 AM »

The "Steppes of Central Asia" are particularly lovely.

Agree. What an evocative tone poem that is, shows no influence from anybody.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2007, 08:01:25 AM »
D Minor - thanks for starting this thread; don't own a lot at the moment; do have the String Quartets w/ the Borodins pictured earlier + the disc below of Symphony No. 2 and other orchestral pieces that he has earned famed - of course, a number of his 'melodies' are just gorgeous, and have been used in popular music.  But, I look forward to some 'newer' recommendations & hopefully some comments on his 'other' music outside the usual suggestions!  :)

  BTW - my front cover is different, so this one must be a newer re-issue!

Offline MishaK

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2007, 08:01:40 AM »
Agree. What an evocative tone poem that is, shows no influence from anybody.

I don't know if I'd say that. Apart from the obvious folk melodies, I hear a kinship with Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov.

springrite

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2007, 08:04:13 AM »
My personal favorite Borodin piece is the unfinished 3rd symphony, followed by the 2nd. But the piece I actually listen to the most is Prince Igor, granted it was finished by someone else. Still, it is basically his work, and I love it more than the famous and almost overplayed (compared to his other pieces) dances and overture.

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2007, 08:07:16 AM »
I don't know if I'd say that. Apart from the obvious folk melodies, I hear a kinship with Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov.

Not too familiar with Glazanov but certainly Steppes is not as colorful as what you would expect from Rimsky-Korsakov. It is hypnotic in a simple and yet powerful sort of way. Kind of remind me of Aaron Copland actually: folksy, wide-open chords, and unpretentious.

Offline MishaK

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007, 08:22:50 AM »
Not too familiar with Glazanov but certainly Steppes is not as colorful as what you would expect from Rimsky-Korsakov. It is hypnotic in a simple and yet powerful sort of way. Kind of remind me of Aaron Copland actually: folksy, wide-open chords, and unpretentious.

Exactly: streamlined Rimsky-Korsakov, without the excess baggage.

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2007, 08:24:20 AM »
Yeah, Rimsky = Russian Easter Overture, oh how busy that piece is !

Offline BachQ

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2007, 08:25:56 AM »
A few years ago I finally heard his Symphony No. 2, by Gergiev and the Kirov, and thought to myself, "Here is yet again, another really fine piece -- that never sees the light of day in the concert hall."  I feel a rant coming on, so I'll stop, but I thought it was an excellent piece that many listeners would enjoy.  A shame you never see it.

I love the first movement of Borodin's Symphony no. 2.  You can snag a free (albeit a tad rough) recording here (click on the Borodin link).   :D

Offline Brian

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2007, 01:17:37 PM »
Never, ever, ever listen to Polovtsian Dances without the chorus!

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

Offline Earthlight

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 02:12:24 PM »
Borodin's string quartets are my favorite in the entire genre that weren't written by Haydn or Bartok.

D Minor gave us some pictures a few posts ago. There are two recordings by the agreeably-named Borodin Quartet: one that is now on Chandos (or was last I looked) in a wonderful remastering, and a later one, which D Minor pictured, with two new violinists replacing the original members. Many people prefer the early one; I love them both. If anything, the later recording emphasizes the aching sense of loss that pervades the underrated First Quartet, and I'm glad I don't have to have just one or the other.

I haven't heard the Lindsays. Please avoid the Haydn Quartet of Budapest on Naxos, which to me was an emotionless run-through, all the notes and none of the pathos.

Offline carlos

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 02:57:50 PM »
for the 2th.look for the Hollywood SQ.Beautiful.
Piantale a la leche hermano, que eso arruina el corazón! (from a tango's letter)

Offline Catison

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2007, 03:00:44 PM »
I could swear one of the themes in the Polovtsian Dances made its way into a Tony Bennet song.
-Brett

Offline Earthlight

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2007, 03:15:46 PM »
I could swear one of the themes in the Polovtsian Dances made its way into a Tony Bennet song.

Not sure about Tony (I never really had enough class to appreciate Tony), but one of 'em became a hit for the Ventures. Or was it the Tornadoes? One of those Duane Eddy twangy guitar knockoffs from my deformative years.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2007, 03:42:24 PM »
I could swear one of the themes in the Polovtsian Dances made its way into a Tony Bennet song.

Brett -the popular song derived from Borodin's melody from the above is 'Stranger in Paradise' - check HERE for a few singer associations, including Tony Bennett.  'And This is My Beloved' another popular song based on the melody from the slow movement of Borodin's String Quartet - look HERE; and there are more from the musical 'Kismet' - this could certainly be a 'new thread' - pop music of the 20th century based on classical works!  ;) ;D  Dave


Offline Anne

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2007, 06:21:32 PM »
The "Stranger in Paradise" and "The Polovtsian Dances" come from Borodin's opera, "Prince Igor."

There is a very nice 1998 DVD of this opera from the Kirov conducted by Valery Gergiev.

The Kirov Ballet performs using Mikhail Fokine's original choreography.

I have always really liked the chorus from the Kirov; their sound is so "pure".  (You should also hear that chorus in Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina.)  Sets for Prince Igor are luxurious in the DVD and singers are Putilin, Gorchakova, Akimov, Aleksashkin, Borodina. 

snyprrr

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Re: The Borodin Boardroom
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2009, 10:44:18 AM »
Is there another Borodin thread this can be appended to?

Just became reaquainted with the SQs on EMI, and the first is most certainly the first major Russian SQ, Tchaikovsky notwithstanding.  It's big and meaty and original and took Borodin about 10 years to complete, and the care shows. I have nothing really to add about No.2, except that its fame is more than justified (as opposed to the first, the second was written very quickly). I haven't heard Tchaikovsky for a long time (1-3+mvmt in Bb), but I would like to compare.
However, I just wanted to give these SQs their props.  No.1 is really a masterpiece, mature, and comparable, IMHO, to Beethoven's late minor key SQs (probably the best SQ between 1826-1888?).