About Alexander Borodin
Russian-born Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) led a dual life as a composer and scientist, working as a researcher and lecturer at St. Petersburg's Medico-Surgical Academy for much of his adult life and composing some of the centuries most elegiac works for orchestra and string quartet. The culture of composers living in St. Petersburg at the time was great, and his personal relationships with Mussorgsky, Liszt, Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakirev inspired his compositional pursuits. But Balakirev proved to be the greatest influence, inspiring Borodin to focus on works of expressive Russian nationalism. His Second Symphony in B minor from 1876 is a greatly under-recognized symphony of the era, though his big hit in Europe was the short orchestral picture from 1880 On The Steppes Of Central Asia. His most substantial achievement is his brilliant opera Prince Igor, which he started in 1869 and was completed and partly orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov after his death.