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The Slavic Composers by Ilya Repin, 1872 (WikiArt.org.)

Time flies. So I am not altogether finished a post on Sweden’s Age Liberty which began a little before Peter the Great defeated the Swedish Empire and ended in 1821 and lasted until Swedish King Gustav III‘s self-coup of 1872, which takes us to the House of Bernadotte (27 September 2018).

I’m nearly done.

I thought of writing a little in-between post introducing Alexander Borodin, one of The Five (composers), or The Mighty Handful, whose goal was to capture the very soul of Russia’s culture. They gave Russian music its idiom. The Five are Mily Balakirev (the leader),  César Cui, Modest MussorgskyNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Borodin. All lived in Saint Petersburg.

Borodin is exceptional. He was a doctor and scientist. Music was not his profession, but who could tell? His lyricism is a major characteristic of Borodin’s compositions and these are numerous. In the Steppes of Central Asia has an exotic flavour. It is a tone poem, one continuous and rather short piece of music.

The piece I selected does not feature bells. It therefore differs from Modest Mussorgsky‘s Night on Bald Mountain, Une nuit sur le mont chauve, 🎶which is the very first piece of music I was introduced to. Among my early memories of the red brick house are my father’s late night gatherings with music lovers. Chauve means bald. We could see chauves-souris (bats) flying about.

So, we will not hear bells in Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia (Mongolia), composed in 1880. However, a wide range in volume is typical of the music of the Five, and Borodin’s.

My main source is Wiki2.org.’s entry on Borodin’s lovely piece and my own knowledge. I have studied music, every aspect, all my life.

Love to everyone 💕

Altan Khan (1507–1582) (Wiki2.org.)

© Micheline Walker
5 November 2018