The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Alexander Borodin



Borodin was the illegitimate son of Prince Luka Gedianov but was registered as the legal son of Porfiry Borodin — one of the Prince's serfs - a practice typical of the time. His mother, a cultured woman, educated him at home in St Petersburg, where he showed an aptitude for chemistry and languages while also learning the flute, piano, cello, and composition.

From 1850 he studied at the Medico-Surgical Academy in St Petersburg and graduated in 1856 with high honours, completing his doctorate two years later. His academic work involved a number of trips abroad, particularly to Germany, where he became friends with the chemist Mendeleyev. He also met Ekaterina Protopopova, herself an accomplished pianist, who was being treated for tuberculosis. They fell in love and married in 1863 after returning to St Petersburg, where Borodin was appointed chemistry professor at the Medico-Surgical Academy in 1864.

Throughout this time he remained interested in music, playing string quintets with friends and piano duets with Ekaterina. He met Mussorgsky and Balakirev in 1862 and became part of the group of Russian nationalist composers known as "The Five". They encouraged him in the composition of his First symphony, which took five years to complete. The first public performance in 1869 was a success, and the same year he began his second.

Borodin also began work on an opera, Prince Igor, whose Russian theme appealed to his nationalist sentiments. It did not progress well, however, and some of the music found its way into his Second symphony. His teaching duties at the Academy increased in 1 872 with the institution of courses in medicine for women and he only resumed work on Prince Igor. and its famous Polovtsian dances, two years later. Progress on the work was slow, and Borodm broke off again in 1881 to write the Second string quartet, dedicated to his wife. The slow movement ("Nocturne") became very popular, with its haunting, nostalgic main theme introduced on Borodin's own instrument, the cello. His admiration for Mendelssohn, as well as a similar skill with melody, is clearly demonstrated in this work.

Borodin's fame in Europe was helped by Liszt, who arranged for a performance of the First symphony in Baden-Baden in 1880, the same year in which Borodin completed his evocative tone-poem In the steppes of Central Asia. His popularity increased throughout the mid-1880s, but in 1885 he suffered an attack of cholera, which left him severely weakened. He died two years later from a heart attack at a fancy-dress ball. His beloved Ekaterina followed him only five months later.

Prince Igor was finished after Borodin's death by Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov. Borodin's failure to complete it resulted in part from a badly planned libretto; certain individual numbers, such as the rousing, folk-based Polovtsian dances, are markedly better than the whole. However, his symphonies and string quartets, as well as the memorable In the steppes of Central Asia, have guaranteed Borodin's popularity during the century since his death.


Alexander Borodin



Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)



Prince Igor
Caltech Women's Glee Club
Polvtsian Dances



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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