Alexander Borodin (1833 - 1887)

Russian composer in many forms, including opera ("Prince Igor", 1887). Borodin was one of "The Mighty Five" Russians who wrote nationalist music: Borodin, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, César Cui, Mily Balakirev, and Modest Mussorgsky. The illegitimate son of a prince and a civil servant, he became an important research chemist and physical scientist. He wrote music of great originality and beauty -- bold orchestral tone poems on exotic lands and subjects, as well as Russian nationalist works influenced by folk melodies and featuring astonishing harmonic and rhythmic innovation (chords in fourths, harmonies with nonharmonic "added tones," quasi-jazz syncopation).