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as regards workmanship, counterpoint and all those machinations that pass for ‘le genre sérieux.’” Yet the German colony at Antwerp did everything in its power to prevent the performance of the second symphony, which was finally produced there on October 1, 1885. It was produced later at Liége and Brussels. At the latter place the concert was on Saturday, “chiefly to oblige the English, because they cannot listen to profane music on Sunday.” The success was so great that it was performed at the next concert. Borodin visited Liszt at Weimar in July, 1877. His letters to his wife, published in Alfred Habet’s “Alexandre Borodine” (Paris, 1893, pp. 97-137), are most interesting. Apropos of the first symphony, Liszt said, after the composer had apologized for excessive modulation and other faults arising from inexperience: “God preserve you from touching it, changing it. . . . Do not hearken to those who wish to restrain you; I beg you to believe me; you are in the true path. Your artistic instinct is such that you should not be afraid of being original. Remember the same advice was given in their time to Beethoven, Mozart, and others. If they had followed it, they would never have become masters. . . . You know Germany, and that much music is written here. I am drowned in an ocean of music, but good Lord, how superficial and insipid it all is. In Russia, on the contrary, there is a vivifying current.” Liszt asked him where he acquired his great musical technic. “Where have you studied? Certainly not in Germany?” Borodin told him he had not been a conservatory pupil. Liszt began to laugh. “You have been lucky, dear master; work, always work, and then work. If your compositions are not performed or published, if they have no success, believe me, they will make for themselves an honorable path. Your talent is original; listen to no one and work in your own way. I am not complimenting you. I am so old that it does not become to say anything I do not really think. That is why I am not liked here. But how can I say that any one writes good music when I find it dull, without inspiration, lifeless?” At Jena, in July, Borodin met a swarm of professors who showed him marked attention as a chemist and a man. He heard Haeckel read a paper on Polypes and Medusas. He attended a Kneipe. “And
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what professors I have seen at this reunion! There were some worthy to figure in a museum or an exposition: one of them especially, ninetyone years old, drinking beer, making speeches, and proposing toasts.” Stopping again at Weimar, he found that his second symphony had arrived, and Liszt and the Baroness von Meyendorff had read it, and the former pronounced it “superb.” He played the Finale to Borodin with diabolical dash, and then told him not to change anything. “The critics may reproach you for not having presented the second theme of the first movement amoroso or something like that, but they cannot pretend in any event that the symphony is badly constructed, given the elements that serve as a foundation.” And again he advised Borodon not to listen to others. “You are always clear, ingenious, and absolutely original. Remember that Beethoven would not have been what he was, if he had listened to everybody. Always keep in mind Lafontaine's fable: ‘Le meunier, son fils et l'âne.’ This symphony is perfectly logical. However one may say there is nothing new under the sun, this is wholly new,” and pointing out various passages, he said: “You will not find this in any one's work. Yesterday a German came to me, bringing his third symphony. I said to him, showing him yours: “We Germans are very far from that.’”
The works of Borodin are as follows:–
Op. 1, Symphony No. 1, in E-flat (1862–67). Op. 2, Four melodies: “La princesse endormie” (1867), “Mon chant estamer,” “Dissonance,” “La mer” (1870). Op. 3, Four melodies: “Chanson de la forêt sombre,” “Fleurs d'amour,” “La reine des mers,” “Le jardin enchanté.” Op.
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4, String Quartet No. 1, in A major. Op. 5, Symphony No. 2, in B minor (1871–77). Op. 6, paraphrases for pianoforte.* Op. 7, “Dans les steppes de l'Asie centrale,” orchestral sketch (1880). Op. 8, Petite Suite for pianoforte: Au convent, Intermezzo, deux Mazurkas, Réverie, Sérénade, Nocturne (1885). Op. 9, Scherzo in A-flat for orchestra (1885). Op. 10, Septain for voice and pianoforte (1886). Op. 11, Serenata alla Espagfiola (from string quartet on the name B-la-f), by Rimsky-Korsakoff, Liadoff, Borodin, Glazounoff. PostHUMOUs WORKS: Op. 12, String Quartet in D major. Op. 13, “Le prince Igor,” opera in four acts and a prologue, finished by RimskyKorsakoff and Glazounoff (performed at Petrograd, November, 1890). Op. 14, “Mélodie Arabe,” for voice and pianoforte. Op. 15, Mélodie, “Dans tons pays si plein de charmes” (composed in 1881 on the death of Moussorgsky). Op. 16, “Sérénade de quatre galants à une dame,” comic quartet for male voices. Op. 17, Mélodie for voice and pianoforte, “La vanité marche.” Op. 18, “Chez ceux-lâ et chez nous,” song with orchestral accompaniment. Op. 19, Two movements of the Symphony No. 3, in A minor, orchestrated by Glazounoff. Op. 20, Finale of “Mlada,” opera-ballet, orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakoff. The Symphony in E-flat was produced in Boston at a Symphony concert, January 4, 1890, and it was played again April 7, 1900. “Dans les steppes de l'Asie centrale” was produced in Boston at a Symphony concert, February 27, 1892, and was played at the concerts of November 30, 1895, and April 18, 1903. The Quartet No. 1 was played in Boston at a Kneisel concert, November 19, 1899; the Quartet No. 2, at Kneisel concerts, January 21, 1895, April II, 1898, December 2, 1901. The March and Dances from “Prince Igor” were played at a Boston Opera House concert, December 1, 1912; the Dances were played there again December 22, 1912. André Caplet conducted the performances. * There were 24 variations and 24 little pieces for piano on the favorite theme of the “Roteletten Polka,”
dedicated to little pianists capable of playing the theme with a finger of each hand. Borodin wrote the Polka, Funeral March, and Requiem. Cui, Liadoff, and Rimsky-Korsakoff wrote the other pages.
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