Aleksandr Borodin (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Borodin made a significant contribution to the repertory of Russian national music, with particular excellence in the domains of opera, symphonic music, chamber music, and song.
Aleksandr Porfiryevich Borodin was born out of wedlock to Prince Luka Stepanovitch Gedianov and Avdotya Konstantinova Antinova. Following Aleksandr’s birth, his father had him registered as the legal son of Porfiry Borodin, one of his servants, in accordance with a custom of the time and arranged for his mistress to marry Christian Ivanovitch Kleinecke, a retired army medical practitioner. Aleksandr was educated by private tutors, with emphasis placed on foreign languages (German, French, and English). Prior to his death, Luka granted freedom to his son. Avdotya, after her husband’s death, bore another son, Dmitry, through another liaison, and bought a house near the Semyonov Parade Ground, which is where Aleksandr spent his youth and adolescence.
Aleksandr composed a Polka in D Minor that he entitled “Hélène.” Piano study, attendance at symphonic concerts at the university during the winter and at Joseph Gungl’s concerts at Pavlovsk in the summer, and self-instruction on the cello moved the youth toward serious creativity; indeed, in 1847, he composed a Trio in G Major on a theme from Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable, and a concert for flute and piano. There followed, in quick...
(The entire section is 2247 words.)
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