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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 July 2010
Borodin was Professor of Chemistry at the University of St. Petersburg and arguably the most brilliant medical scientist in Russia and his scientific and administrative commitments made it difficult for him to compose and composition of some works spread out over a number of years; some of his works were completed by his close friend Rimsky-Korsakov and by Glazunov but are unmistakably Borodin's. The 152 minutes of music on these two CDs therefore represent a substantial portion of Borodin's repertoire - including his "Greatest Hits" and some lesser known works.

I agree with everything R.J. Knight has said but hope to offer a different perspective. Sir George Solti is a conductor who does not impose his own ego on works and allows the composer's music to speak for itself, so the overture and the Polovtsian dances from Prince Igor are in the best possible hands. Borodin was the illegitimate son of a Tartar Prince and this shows in the melodies and passion in the music.

Pizzicato strings and haunting woodwind sounds are the hallmark of Borodin's compositions and these are evident towards the end of his "exploratory" first symphony. The second symphony is substantial with an authoritative first movement and a creative 2nd movement scherzo; however it is the slow third movement, with its haunting harp/horn introduction and its wonderful lyricism, interspersed with the threat of menace, that make the hairs on the back of MY neck rise; this leads into an energetic and celebratory finale.

This is a very evocative "In The Steppes Of Central Asia" and the recording is unusually free from background noise during the very quiet beginning and ending.
It has an authentic Russian melancholy. If you like In The Steppes of Central Asia you'll probably enjoy the two movements of the "unfinished" 3rd. symphony.

In addition you have his 2nd. String Quartet (I don't much care for string quartets but this is one of the finest, especially the third movement where the sonorous cello is dominant) and a song: "For The Shores Of Your Far-off Native Land" inspired by the death of his friend Modest Mussorgsky.

This disc is outstanding value and really is the best introduction to the heart-rendingly beautiful and uniquely original music of Alexander Borodin.
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on 22 May 2017
Discovered this composter listening to classic fm. Such brilliant music. Love it.
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on 16 May 2017
Love it. Thanks!
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on 15 May 2017
Good recording
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on 1 March 2010
With any collection of Borodin's work that uses the adjective 'essential', if nothing else, you want good versions of the 'Polovtsian Dances' and 'In The Steppes Of Central Asia'. Well, with this bargain priced two CD set you get that and much more.

True, the first symphony sounds like just that, a first effort; the third symphony, too, sounds like its subtitle,'unfinished', a work in progress, so to speak, and; while the second symphony is a more substantial piece with some lively, distinctly Russian, melodic themes, and the third movement of his string quartet No. 2 never fails to arrive like a charming old friend, it is the 'Polovtsian Dances' and 'In The Steppes Of Central Asia' that tower above everything else on these two discs. Sir George Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra give a truly remarkable performance of the 'Polovtsian Dances' - when the Chorus make their arrival they easily pass the 'raising the hairs on the back of your neck' test.

There is nothing worse than hearing one of your favourite pieces performed by an orchestra that plays as though its bladder is about to burst so, thankfully, Ernest Ansermet, with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, serves up a fine, measured and heartfelt rendition of 'In The Steppes Of Central Asia' without letting the momentum of the work run away with them.

In summary, then, this collection gives you great performances of Borodin's best work, at a good price, together with quite a few interesting extras. You might even detect, as with Bordin's Russian contemporaries - Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Tchaikovsky et.al.- music that clearly influenced one or two British composers.
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on 31 August 2014
Good production
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on 31 October 2014
good deal!!
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on 16 March 2016
Really pleased with the CD; just what I was hoping for and delivery was good as well.
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on 30 July 2016
As Advertised
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on 20 December 2016
It was alright thank you.
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