Borodin transposing

Excerpts from Borodin’s Prince Igor were to be performed by the Free College of Music. Rimsky Korsakov recalled:

At this epoch, Prince Igor advanced slowly, but advanced nevertheless. How many prayers I addressed to dear Borodine that he might finally decide to orchestrate a few numbers for the concert! His numerous occupations at the Medical School and his advanced classes of women always greatly absorbed him. I have already described his home. His infinite bounty and absence of all egoism made of this interior an environment little propitious to composition. I renewed my visits, asking him always what he had done. It was usually one or two pages of the score or nothing at all. I asked him:

“Alexandre Porfirievitch, have you written something?”

“Yes, I’ve written.”

True, he had written many letters!

“Alexandre Porfirievitch, have you transposed this number?”

“I have transposed,” he replied with a serious air.

“At last, God be praised.”

“I transposed it from the piano to the table,” he added sedately.

L. Llewellyn, “Eccentric Home Life of Borodine”, Musical America, 29 April 1911, p. 16.




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