I challenge long-term happily married couples to top this romantic gesture. According to Alexander Borodin’s biographer Serge Dianin, this quartet was composed as Borodin’s 20th Anniversary gift to his wife Ekaterina Protopova. Not only was he a Russian music composer (of Georgian heritage) but also a doctor and chemist. Romantic chemistry would appear to be one of his fortes but he regarded his musical composition as just a spare time pursuit although he is better known these days as a composer.
This chemist in his day was best known in his profession for his work concerning organic synthesis, and co-discoverer of the aldol reaction. Borodin was a promoter of education in Russia and founded the School of Medicine for Women in Saint Petersburg, where he taught until 1885. Borodin was born in Saint Petersburg as an illegitimate son of a 62-year-old Georgian nobleman and a married 25-year-old Russian woman. The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his Russian serfs, Porfiry Borodin, hence the composer’s Russian last name. Thankfully Borodin was well provided for by his Georgian father.
The third movement below Notturno is the most popular of the 4 movements he wrote. According to wikipedia Borodin was one of the prominent 19th-century composers known as “The Mighty Handful”, a group dedicated to producing a uniquely Russian kind of classical music, rather than imitating earlier Western European models. The third movement also serves as the score to Disney’s 2006 short The Little Matchgirl and as an excerpt of the piece played in the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery. His music is noted for its strong lyricism and rich harmonies.
1. Alexander Borodin – wikipedia