For the first time in nearly 100 years, Borodin’s defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the MET.
The result is attractive and gripping because the production knows what it wants to see (personal psychodrama than Kismet-style pseudo-orientalism)…Both Ildar Abdrazakov…and Oksana Dyka inhabit these roles with vocal agility and, in their acting, a refreshing lack of the old-fashioned hamminess that used to pass for charisma in 19th-century Russian opera. (Gramophone)
Borodin’s First Symphony isn’t especially interesting, but his Second is a masterpiece, tightly constructed, brilliantly orchestrated, and tunefully delightful. It’s really the only work of its period to rank with the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (along with, possibly, Balakirev’s First), and Tjeknavorian’s performance of it, indeed of all three works, is outstanding. He doesn’t fuss with or manipulate tempos or textures, preferring instead to keep the music moving energetically and allowing the musicians of the National Philharmonic to inject as much color and vitality as possible. The scherzo flashes by like lightning, the slow movement is aptly seductive, and the finale dazzles. As I suggested, the other two works are less obviously successful, but the performances are no less adept. Produced by Charles Gerhardt, we can expect fine sonics, and that’s just what RCA delivers. In this music, you won’t find better.
A true celebration, ushering in the New Year with one of the finest orchestras and greatest conductors in the world. The 2007 Gala from Berlin features the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle in Alexander Borodin's Second Symphony, a richly lyrical work of immense poetic grandeur and fairy-tale magic, in a programme that also includes one of the greatest classical hits ever: Modest Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.
Valery Gergiev directs the Kirov Opera and Ballet in this magnificent 1998 production of Borodin’s "Prince Igor", presented in a new Mariinsky Theatre performing edition and featuring Mikhail Fokine’s original choreography in the famous Polovtsian Dances. Its four acts tell of the struggle between the Russians and Polovtsian nomads, of Prince Igor’s capture and escape from his noble opponent, Khan Konchak, and of love between Igor’s son, Vladimir, and Konchak’s daughter, Konchakovna.
Most listeners are likely familiar with the significant contributions to the cello sonata repertoire made by Russian giants Sergey Rachmaninov and Dmitry Shostakovich. Far less well-known, however, is the Cello Sonata of Alexander Borodin. As his primary occupation was that of a scientist and not a musician, many of his works went uncompleted at his death; the Cello Sonata was no exception. For this recording by cellist Alexander Chaushian and pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, a 1982 completion by Mikhail Goldstein is used.
This set of Beethoven string quartets by the Borodin Quartet reflects a mature perspective on the works. It's not that it lacks energy the Vivaces are vivacious and the Allegros have plenty of brio but it has wisdom and a maturity not generally characteristic of performances by younger quartets. These performances are comparable with the Budapest Quartet's last set of the quartets.
The Borodin Trio's recording of Mendelssohn's two piano trios was first released in 1985 and reissued in 2009, in time for the Mendelssohn bicentennial. The performances may not be as warmly opulent as fans of the group might like. Fans used to their big-vibrato, heart-on-the-sleeve approach to the trios of Schubert and Brahms could miss the Trio's usual ultra-lush ensemble and super-heated sonority.
For anyone interested in Glinka's Trio, choice here is simple. The new Borodin Trio performance is greatly superior to the Pavane version cited above, which is on the stiff side and not blessed with a very distinguished recording (it is coupled with Beethoven's Clarinet Trio). Not only is the sound far better on the new Chandos, but the playing has a sweep and eloquence, also a neat wit, of which the work stands in some need.