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Cross-posted at The Daily Music Break. Please visit to hear great music across genres and eras.

Here is the beginning of Wikipedia's profile of Alexander Borodin, who seems to have been an interesting fellow:

Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin[1] (12 November 1833 – 27 February 1887)[2] was a Russian Romantic composer, doctor and chemist. He was a member of the group of composers called The Five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music.[3][4][5] He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, In the Steppes of Central Asia and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the US musical Kismet.

He was a notable advocate of women's rights and a proponent of education in Russia and was a founder of the School of Medicine for Women in St. Petersburg. (Continue Reading...)

I bet many viewers of a certain age-- 50 years old or so -- will remember this commercial, featuring Borodin. The host, a classy looking English guy who wastes no time in making the rabble feel worthless:
"I am sure you recognize this lovely melody, a Stranger in Paradise. But did you know that the original theme is from the Polovtsian Dance Number 2 by Borodin? So many of the melodies of well known popular songs were actually written by the great masters, like these familiar themes..."
And on he goes. In any case, here's a bit more about Borodin, who had nothing to do with trying to shame us crass Americans into buying records:
Alexander Porfir'yevich Borodin (November 12, 1833 - February 27, 1887) was a genius in several fields. The illegitimate son of a nobleman and a peasant, his aristocratic connection allowed him to receive a better education than almost any other serf of his time. His father, at his death in 1843, freed Borodin from serfdom. (Continue Reading....)
"Polovtsian Dances," above, was performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and "In the Steppes of Central Asia" by the York University Symphony Orchestra. Both performances were last year.

Originally posted to cweinsch on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by An Ear for Music.

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