Scherzo in A-flat major (Borodin)

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The first 6 bars of Borodin's Scherzo in A-flat major About this sound Play 

Alexander Borodin's Scherzo in A-flat major is a lively piece written in 1885, while Borodin was in Belgium for an early performance of his then incomplete opera Prince Igor.[1] It was originally written for solo piano but in 1889 Alexander Glazunov orchestrated it, along with the Petite Suite.[2] Borodin dedicated the piece to Théodore Jadoul, who made a four-hand piano arrangement of it.[3]

Style[edit]

The Scherzo can be recognized as one of Borodin's compositions instantaneously because of its bright tone, pounding rhythms and exciting melodies. In the main theme of the piece a constant rhythm is used, giving it a clear beat, but unfortunately this also makes it very challenging for the pianist due to the constant jumps required. The piece often modulates, making it more interesting and varied. Played at correct speed, the piece only lasts around three minutes. However this "miniature" offers an admirable summary of its composer's style.[1][4]

Recordings[edit]

Alexander Borodin

The following pianists have recorded the piece:

Pianist Duration Record Label Recording Date
Vladimir Ashkenazy[5] 02:48 Philips Records 1983
Margaret Fingerhut[6] 02:58 Chandos Records 1985
Philip Edward Fisher[7] 03:22 Chandos Records 2011
Roberto Giordano[8] 03:12 Cypress Records 2004
Dirk Joeres[9] 02:59 Largo Records 1986
Vladimir Leyetchkiss[10] 03:15 Centaur Records 1991
Sergei Rachmaninoff[11] 02:57 RCA Victor[12] 1935
Marco Rapetti[13] 03:21[14] Brilliant Classics 2008
Victor Ryabchikov[15] 03:04 Olympia Records 1999
Joseph Villa[16] 02:49 Dante Records 1980
Alexander Glazunov

Orchestration[edit]

In 1889, just two years after Borodin's Death, Alexander Glazunov orchestrated the Petite Suite.[2] Glazunov's orchestration of the Suite makes the 7th movement (Finale) the Scherzo, with the Nocturne inserted inside it as a trio section. The total length of the movement is around eight minutes.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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