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This is the first movement of BORODINIANA, a suite of six diverse, unfamiliar pieces by the 19th Century Romantic composer Alexander Borodin, arranged for orchestra in 2009 by Mark Starr. The Allegro in D minor is one of of two movements from an unfinished string sextet, salvaged from Borodin’s papers after his untimely death at the age of 54. Borodin composed the two movements in 1861, when he was 28. The influence of Mendelssohn is apparent, but so is Borodin’s nationalism and his use of themes that sound like Russian folk songs. Most striking of all is the complete mastery with which the young composer handled the dense polyphony and large-scale form. It is not known why Borodin abandoned this exhuberhant sextet in mid-stream. Perhaps he realized that a string sextet was too small an instrumental ensemble to contain the explosive musical energy of this music. In my opinion, here is music that cries out for an orchestra.
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