More and more it seems to me that Borodin, with all his limitations, was one of the most perfect composers that ever lived. That’s not a eulogy by one of Borodin’s colleagues from the “Mighty Handful” (or Kuchka, to use the Russian term), but words written by the English composer Philip Heseltine, better known as Peter Warlock. Warlock’s views were far from exceptional in the early 20th century. When Vaughan Williams came to Paris in 1907 to take lessons with Ravel, the Frenchman made him study Borodin’s music to exorcise the Englishman’s Teutonic style and, as Vaughan Williams recalled, to show him “how to orchestrate in points of colour rather than in lines”.

Lived 1833-1887
Mostly inSaint Petersburg
Best known for Symphonies, String Quartet,  Prince IgorIn the steppes of Central...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now