1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Borodin, Alexander Porfyrievich

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BORODIN, ALEXANDER PORFYRIEVICH (1834–1887), Russian musical composer, natural son of a Russian prince, was born in St Petersburg on the 12th of November 1834. He was brought up to the medical profession, and in 1862 was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at the St Petersburg academy of medicine. He wrote several works on chemistry, and took a leading part in advocating women’s education, helping to found the school of medicine for women, and lecturing there from 1872 till his death. But he is best known as a musician. His interest in music was indeed stimulated from 1862 onwards by his friendship with Balakirev, and from 1863 by his marriage with a lady who was an accomplished pianist; but in his earlier years he had been proficient both in playing the piano, violin, ’cello and other instruments, and also in composing; and during life he did his best to pursue his studies in both music and chemistry with equal enthusiasm. Like other Russian composers he owed much to the influence of Liszt at Weimar. His first symphony was written in 1862–1867; his opera Prince Igor, begun in 1869, was left unfinished at his death, and was completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazounov (1889); his symphonic sketch, “In the Steppes” (1880) is, however, his best-known work. Borodin also wrote a second symphony (1871–1877), part of a third (orchestrated after his death by Glazounov), and a few string quartets and some fine songs. His music is characteristically Russian, and of an advanced modern type. He died suddenly at St Petersburg, on the 28th of February 1887.