Alexander Borodin

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)

Nationality: Russian
Born: November 12, 1833, St. Petersburg Died: February 27, 1887, St. Petersburg (age 53)

String Trio in g minor

(for 2 violins and cello)
Andantino - Risoluto e pìu vivo
Duration: 7 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1854-1855 (age 20-22)
Published: 1946
Note: Variations on the Russian Folk Song "Chem tebya ya ogorchila"
2 recordings, 2 videos
Trio 826
Moscow String Quartet
From Edition Silvertrust

Alexander Borodin While Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) is fairly well-known, it is his orchestral pieces and not his chamber music which has made his name. Nine out of ten people could not tell you that the famous Borodin melody in the popular Broadway musical Kismet is from his Second String Quartet. But Borodin wrote several lovely chamber music works. These fall into two distinct periods. The first is from his time in Germany during the late 1850's when he was doing post graduate work in chemistry. His main occupation was that of a Professor Chemistry at the university in St. Petersburg. Music was only a hobby he engaged in for relaxation. The second period dates from his time in St. Petersburg when he came under the influence of and received considerable help from Rimsky-Korsakov. Tchaikovsky was to quip, "Oh Borodin, a good chemist, but he cannot write a proper measure without Rimsky helping him."

The String Trio in g minor is one of the earliest extant works of Borodin. It dates from 1855, the time during which he was in Germany. It is relatively short and in one movement, a theme and set of eight variations. Unlike his other works from this period it escapes the influence of Mendelssohn, largely because of its use of a once well-known Russian folk song, “What have I done to hurt you?” as the theme. The treatment is closer to that by the Russian composer Alabiev who wrote several pieces of this kind with which Borodin would have been familiar. Several of the variations are quite original and extremely well done, demolishing the sarcastic criticism of Tchaikovky.

The trio remained as a forgotten manuscript until it was finally published by the Soviet State Music Publishers toward the mid-20th century. That edition was only briefly available in the West. Our edition is a reprint of the Soviet edition. Trios for 2 Violins and Cello after 1800 became a rarity. There are very few from the Romantic period and as such this is a useful addition to the literature.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1900 WWI WWII Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857) Franz Liszt (1811-1886) Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) César Cui (1835-1918) Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)