String Quartet No. 2 in D Major (1881)
Borodin Quartet (1980)
reviewed by Tom-Tom
Alexander Borodin was not, chiefly speaking, a composer. He was a chemistry professor at the Medical Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg. Composing was for him a special love which he tenderly nurtured on his few days off or sick days along with professing women’s rights. I imagine him whistling some tune of his while grading papers or conducting his famous chemical reaction experiments. A dyed in the wool Romantic composer, his melodies are almost all very lovely and memorable although natural and original. He composed a small but significant body of work from chamber works (leaving a few unfinished) to an unfinished opera he spent 18 years on. Without the concert season deadline stress of day job composers, he could tinker with his compositions until they met his satisfaction.
This well cared for aspect is very present in his two famous string quartets in A and D major. Written in the last 10 years of his life, they are pleasant, thoroughly composed works of interwoven melodies and tight knit harmony. Who knows how many semesters these golden melodies were floating around in Professor Borodin’s head.