I promise to try and get away from the stranglehold of Middle Europeans and explore some more western composers, but I can’t help recalling that commercial for 100 famous classical music themes.
You know, the one that intones- “And who can forget Polovtsian Dance #17 (Stranger in Paradise) by Borodin?” as screen after screen of titles scrolls up.
Yeah, well, Borodin.
His day gig was as a chemist where he is justly famous for his research on aldehydes and unjustly famous for the Hunsdiecker reaction.
His ouvre as a composer reflects his amateur status, consisting of 2 Symphonies and an Opera, Prince Igor, that contains the Polovtsian Dances and was finished by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov after his death in 1887, as well as some Chamber Music.
His most powerful statement of this philosophy is found in his 2 String Quartets. His second one is more famous, but I have included both below the fold. Each is perfomed by The Borodin Quartet which, since they are moderately famous and have recorded many composers, made my search… interesting.