Monday, November 12, 2012
Russian composer and chemist Alexander Borodin was born on November 12, 1833. He was the illegitimate son of a Georgian noble who registered him as the son of one of his serfs. Astonishingly, his music was a secondary vocation to his career as a chemist and physician. With Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin was one of “The Five,” composers devoted to a specifically Russian kind of art music. He is best known for three symphonies, two string quartets, the tone poem “In the Steppes of Central Asia” and his opera Prince Igor. His romantic, lyrically beautiful music was adapted for the Broadway musical “Kismet” (1953), famously in the song, "Stranger in Paradise." Borodin suffered poor health and died suddenly at an academic gala in St. Petersburg at age 53.