Alexander Borodin: biography, interesting facts, work, video

Alexander Porfirevich Borodin

Such people are born once in a hundred years - one can say with confidence about Alexander Porfirievich Borodin, because the range of his interests, knowledge and skills is so great that it becomes obvious: this is not a simple person, this is a true genius.

Another feature - the talents of Borodin is almost impossible to consider in isolation from each other. Borodin the composer, Borodin the chemist, the enlightener, the poet are not just the edges of one person, but like details of a mosaic that complement and support each other. And, it seems, if one single trait were removed from this list, then the rest would not be fully bright, outstanding, brilliant.

A brief biography of Alexander Borodin and many interesting facts about the composer can be found on our page.

Short biography of Borodin

The story of the birth of Alexander Porfiryevich is unusual for modern realities, but in the XIX century such cases were encountered very often. His father, 62-year-old Georgian prince Luka Stepanovich Gedianov (Gedevanishvili), entered into an extra-marital affair with 20-year-old Avdotya Konstantinovna Antonova, the daughter of a military man, in 1833 in St. Petersburg. The age difference and public opinion could not affect feelings. Wife Gedianova lived in Moscow, but the possibility of breaking the marriage with her was not possible.

Born on November 12, 1833, the prince named the boy Alexander and recorded as the son of his valet, Porfiry Borodin. A little later, Luka Stepanovich arranged Avdotya's marriage with the military doctor H. Kleineke in order to strengthen her position in society. As a child, Alexander was strictly punished to call Avdotya an aunt in front of others, because the boy was presented to everyone as her nephew. However, the love that Dunyash gave her son was truly maternal, and sometimes was even on the verge of common sense.

Luka Stepanovich died in 1843, having previously issued his free documents to his “serf”. From the very early childhood, Avdotya came to grips with the education of her son, hired excellent teachers and tutors for Sasha. From the very first lessons, the boy was especially attracted by the music. He began to develop in this direction, and soon he created several of his own works. Avdotya Konstantinovna made sure that these first plays were published, and then the music critics first heard about the 16-year-old composer. In addition to music, Alexander was keenly interested in chemistry - science at that moment young, which led his mother to a state of horror: the teenager’s room was filled with strange flasks and flasks, and bold experiments threatened fire.

According to the biography of Borodin at the age of 17, the question of Alexander’s further education was acute. Naturally, with his serf "pedigree" the path to science was ordered. However, a loving mother and then found a way out: for a decent bribe Sasha recorded the merchant of the Third Guild. Not the highest title, but its owner still received the right to enter the medical-surgical academy, which Borodin successfully used. At the academy, Alexander proved to be a very talented student, the famous chemist Nikolai Zinin became his mentor. He did not give up music lessons, playing various instruments, attending concerts and, of course, writing.


Hobby medicine and departure abroad

Upon graduation from the Academy in 1856, Borodin received the position of intern at the Military Land Hospital, and also became an assistant at the department of general therapy and pathology, headed by Professor Zdekauer. All the instructors predicted the fame of the great doctor, but the work in the hospital did not please the vulnerable Alexander: he was terrified by the appearance of tortured bodies and seriously ill patients.

The test ended with a new career: in 1859, the beginning researcher was given a referral to Heidelberg for advanced training. At that time, the so-called "Heidelberg circle" was formed there from several prominent Russian scientists, including I. Sechenov and D. Mendeleev. Borodin, with his lively mind and numerous talents, easily fit into this "island of free-thinking", where not only scientific news was discussed, but also social and political events, supported the ideas of Chernyshevsky and Belinsky. In the circle of like-minded people in science, he was not in a hurry to reveal his musical hobbies, and limited himself only to the reproduction of popular Italian arias. But outside of the Russian society I enjoyed playing in duets, quartets and quintets with foreign musicians.

In 1860, in the company of Mendeleev and Zinin, Borodin visited the city of Karlsruhe, where the chemical congress was held. Borodin enthusiastically travels across Europe, studying their cultural and social life, gaining new unusual knowledge and skills. Thus, in France, he learned to independently blow flasks and beakers from glass, in Italy he collected a collection of lava samples from the great volcano of Vesuvius, visited chemical plants. During this period, Alexander also does not forget about his musical development: he visited the concerts of many popular composers of the time - Berlioz, Wagner, Liszt, Weber.

In 1861, the fateful meeting of Borodin and Ekaterina Protopopova, a young pianist, introduced him to the work of Chopin and Schumann in Heidelberg. The young scientist was an enviable bridegroom, and many girls tried to secure his favor. Catherine behaved differently - sincerely and modestly, while sharing Borodin’s musical interests. Conversations about music soon turned into a romantic feeling, but the happiness of lovers clouded Katerina’s illness. To improve her health, Borodin, on the advice of doctors, takes the bride to Pisa. In 1862, lovers return to Russia, and spend some time in forced separation. Borodin in Petersburg received the position of adjunct professor, while simultaneously teaching chemistry, and Katerina went to Moscow, since the climate of the northern capital was unacceptable for her.

Acquaintance with Balakirev and the "Mighty handful"

In the autumn of 1862 another important acquaintance in the life of Borodin took place. Again, the close relationship between medicine and music played a decisive role. On one of the musical evenings in the house of S. Botkin, who, in addition to his main profession, was also a great lover of music, Alexander found himself in the company of Milia Balakirev. This cultural figure, along with several like-minded people, developed the idea of ​​Russian national art in society. Borodin and before came the thought of how much folk art, and many of his works at that time were based on originally Russian motifs. On the basis of such a closeness of opinions, they instantly agreed with Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Cui. Subsequently, their community was called the "Mighty Handful".

Thanks to his friendship with Balakirev, Borodin established himself in his own abilities, although he used to consider his works mediocre. Mily persuaded Alexander to continue his work as a composer, and he set to work on a symphony. Work on the symphony advanced slowly, Alexander was constantly driven by friends from the "Mighty Handful", because his main activity was still chemistry.

The composer finished his first significant work in 1867, two years later the symphony was performed at a concert, Balakirev himself conducted the orchestra. The first symphony was recognized by the public and became a kind of pinnacle of Borodin's creative path - it embodied all the results of his creative searches and fully developed the individual style of the composer, which features bright energy, wide scope, original images in combination with the classical structure of music.

The second half of the 60s was marked by the creation of several small, but diverse works - romances on various topics. The sound of songs from that period also differs, each of them is a separate story, not related to the others. The words to several of these romances the composer wrote himself.


By the end of the 60s, Alexander Porfirevich decided to start the Second Symphony, as well as the opera Prince Igor. Another member of the "Mighty Handful" V. Stasov pushed this idea, proposing "The Word about Igor's Regiment" as the basis for a new major work. Doubting his ability to interpret such a complex plot, he nevertheless took it, having studied in detail all that was connected with the "Word ..." in order to create the most authentic images and characters. Unfortunately, Alexander Porfirievich himself was never able to complete the opera, and during his lifetime he only managed to see the productions of its individual fragments.

Public activitys

Borodin’s personality was incredibly energetic. He managed to simultaneously engage in several, and far from two or three, activities. At the same time, he did everything brilliantly. The maestro himself admitted that he does not notice how the weeks fly. He managed to create topical musical works, make chemical discoveries, read lectures in two academies, edit a magazine, publish literature, as well as keenly interested in public life and develop education.

In November 1872, female obstetric courses began to work with the active assistance of Borodin. Alexander Porfirievich himself not only taught students, but also tried in every possible way to support them, arranging charity concerts, defended their rights, "knocked out" scholarships, helped find jobs after graduation from courses.

Contemporaries in general often note the kindheartedness and responsiveness of this person: in his house, it was often possible to meet distant relatives who came to St. Petersburg for treatment, and he paid attention to everyone, arranged for hospitals, visited there and even sometimes looked after the sick.

Museum A.P. Borodin

Summer holidays from 1877 to 1879. Borodin spent with his wife in a village in the Vladimir region, where A. Dianin, a student at the academy, where he was a professor, invited him. Here the composer felt incredible freedom, and the surrounding nature inspired new creative achievements. It was in Davydov that a significant part of the opera Prince Igor was written. Piano was brought from the capital especially for this activity.

In the summer of 1879, Alexander Porfirievich, having again arrived in Davydovo, found there his master’s house, rebuilt after the fire. It is he who today is a cultural monument and houses the only museum of the great composer in the world. However, he did not live long in the new structure, finding it too cramped, and moved into one of the peasant houses. Unfortunately, this house has not survived to this day.

Here, among the picturesque nature near the Klyazma River floodplain, Alexander Porfirievich, perhaps, for the first time gave free rein to his popular spirit. He put on simple clothes and went to the neighboring villages, talked with the peasants, wrote down their songs, and then included folk motifs in his works. Also, the creative outbursts were influenced by the acquaintance of Borodin with monuments of ancient architecture located nearby, in particular, with the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl.

Interesting facts about Borodino

  • The first interest in music woke at Borodin in early childhood. After visiting Semenovskiy parade, where he played a military band, he at home on the piano diligently picked up the marches he heard from memory. A little later Avdotya Konstantinovna hired a soldier from this orchestra to teach the boy music - one lesson cost 10 kopecks.
  • Alexander was a diligent student, he literally burned with medicine and chemistry. On one of the practical exercises he needed to examine the corpse of the patient. One hasty and careless movement led to the fact that a small rotten bone stuck into his finger. There was an infection, and it could cost Borodin life. Fortunately, after a long treatment, he recovered.
  • Alexander Borodin and prominent Russian chemist Nikolai Zinin had special relations. In his student years, Borodin dared to ask to work in the same laboratory with senior students. The professor had been looking at the young man for a long time, but soon noted his zeal and considerable knowledge. Zinin began to invite him to his home laboratory. These visits soon turned into long conversations over dinner or tea on various scientific topics. It was Borodin who succeeded Zinin, and their friendly-mentoring relations lasted for many more years.
  • Alexander was a round student in the academy, he studied all subjects easily and with interest. Only one discipline he "did not go" - the law of God. Perhaps the student simply did not find a common language with the clergyman who taught him. But in the end, precisely because Borodin was “too free” to retell the Bible, he was released with only a commendable note instead of a full document on education.
  • From the biography of Borodin we learn that the doctoral dissertation, successfully defended by him in 1858, was the first such work in Russian. Prior to this, both the defensive speech and the text of the dissertations themselves were traditionally written in Latin.
  • D. Mendeleev believed that Borodin should have quit music lessons and fully devote himself to Russian science.
  • The wedding ceremony with Ekaterina Protopopova took place in April 1863. The newlyweds were quite happy, but the living conditions of their lives left much to be desired: the four-room apartment provided by the academy was completely uncomfortable for living, and the young spouse was not fit to manage the household. Subsequently, the couple spent together only winters in St. Petersburg and summer holidays. Borodin himself wrote to his wife in letters that they seemed to be "married," "married bachelors."

  • Borodin and Katerina did not have their own children, but there was a lot of unpent parental love and energy. They realized it by taking four girls into their care.
  • Protopopova described the moments of her husband’s creative impulses in this way: according to her, he could sit at the instrument or notes for hours, and at those moments he would completely withdraw into himself, could not eat or sleep for 8-10 hours. After getting out of this state, Alexander Porfirievich was still unconscious for a long time, he could not answer questions at all and had an absent appearance.
  • Borodin actively advocated the nationalization of Russian art and opposed a huge number of foreign works on stage. In this struggle, he not only often turned to folk motifs, but also created the mini-pen “Bogatyri”, which he filled with comic motifs that resemble popular cliches of foreign music of the time. Moreover, in this way Borodin once again demonstrated his universality as a composer and, of course, an extraordinary sense of humor.
  • Alexander Porfirievich died suddenly and unexpectedly: in the eyes of his close friends after a merry Russian dance, the great man just stopped his heart. It happened on February 27, 1887.

  • "Prince Igor" is an opera popular and beloved not only in Russia, but throughout the world. Borodin wrote her 18 years, but never finished. After the composer’s death, the companions in the “Mighty Handful” undertook to finish the works, and in 1890 the opera first appeared on the stage, having won a resounding success.
  • The scores created in the XIX century by Alexander Borodin himself are still in perfect condition. And the matter is not in the special conditions of storage, but in the unique coating of egg yolk, which was next in the list of discoveries and inventions of the great scientist.
  • Every year, the Museum of Science at the University of Lisbon hosts an event dedicated to A. Borodin, where professional musicians perform his compositions in the chemical laboratory. At the same time, students and teachers of the university carry out experiments that repeat the research of the great Russian composer-chemist.

  • In 1861, Borodin first discovered and described the reaction of the silver salts of carboxylic acids with halogens, which has been bearing his name in Russia ever since. But in foreign literature, this reaction is known by the name of another scientist - K. Hunsdiker, who in 1942 also studied it. Recently, it has increasingly been called the "Borodin-Hunsdiker reaction."
  • Alexander Porfirievich was the first to introduce the Russian public to Darwinism, and this was due to his editorial work in the journal Znanie, where this work was published with his approval. After that, Borodin, as well as his colleague, co-editor P. Khlebnikov, were forced to leave the publication, because the publication of "harmful materialistic teachings" incurred the wrath of the Minister of the Interior.

Films about Borodino and his work

Biography Borodin inspired many directors to create films about the composer’s life and work. Here are some of them:

  • "On the Threshold" (1969)
  • "Sunday Musician" (1972)
  • "Александр Бородин" (3 выпуск) из цикла "Русская пятерка" ("Могучая кучка", 2002)
  • "Александр Бородин" (2003) из цикла телепередач "Гении и злодеи уходящей эпохи".
  • "Химия музыки. А.П. Бородин" (2013) из авторского цикла "Лица истории"

Музыка Бородина звучит в фильмах

Произведение Film
Струнный квартет №2 "Люкс в Тенебрис" (2016)
"Мое лето любви" (2004)
"Обитель радости" (2000)
"Лидер" (1996)
"Искры из глаз" (1987)
Опера "Князь Игорь" - Половецкие пляски"Черные праздники" (2016)
"Пипец 2" (2013)
"Манна небесная" (2002)
"Доктор Джекилл и Мисс Хайд" (1995)
"Ruby Cairo" (1992)
"Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986)
"Undercover" (1984)
"Fans of music" (1970)
"Fire Maidens from Far Space" (1956)
String Sextet in D MinorHeartbreakers (2001)

Alexander Borodin is rightfully considered a person of global importance, because his works, scientific discoveries, published literature are addressed not only in Russia, but also in many other countries. Curiously, his fellow musicians did not understand his hobbies in chemistry, and scientists could not understand why he needed music, and saw in it "a reprimand for the scientific mantle." But Borodin himself only laughed at them and continued his work.

Watch the video: Ricardo Viñes plays Borodin Scherzo in A flat (December 2019).


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