Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (Russian: Александр Порфирьевич Бородин) (12 November [O.S. 31 October] 1833 – 27 February [O.S. 15 February] 1887) was a Russian Romantic composer of Georgian-Russian parentage who made his living as a notable 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. He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, and his opera Prince Igor. Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the musical Kismet.
Michael Nyman's three String Quartets were not conceived as a series, as they owe their origins to three very different sets of circumstances. However when the composer heard them together on the 1991 Argo recording featuring the Balanescu Quartet reissued here, he realized that the works had an unintentional but unmistakable consistency of compositional approach. Each work is built around the principle of conflict - not necessarily conflict between the instruments, as is the traditional view of the quartet medium, but conflict between sets of musical materials that appear to be at odds with each other. In the first, the conflict is between two 'found' musical objects, separated both by their cultural origins and by a distance of around 300 years. The conflict in the second is between Indian and European musical styles, while the third's comes from the process of adapting an earlier choral work into a string quartet, interspersing the original with Romanian folk music fragments.
This disc of the complete Piano Trios of Michael Nyman, performed by the Irish Fidelio Trio, is the first volume in a set of the composer's complete chamber music. Each of Nyman's trios has a programmatic element. Poczatek, a world premiere recording, contains five movements derived from Nyman's score to the film of the same name. Its musical material is inspired by classic Polish feature and documentary films of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The Photography of Chance, another world premiere, refers to the re-seeing of industrial reality in early Soviet photography. The trio Yellow Beach is a transfigured version of 'Come Unto These Yellow Sands', from Nyman's score to the film Prospero's Books. Time Will Pronounce was inspired by Joseph Brodsky's poem Bosnia Tune, which deals with the horror of the staggering daily death toll of the Bosnian war in the 1990s.