Friday, September 23, 2011

Borodin - In The Steppes Of Central Asia

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was a Russian composer who also had a career as a highly respected chemist. He wrote music for orchestra, piano and chamber music.  He belonged to a group of progressive Russian composers called The Five or The Mighty Handful who were interested in creating modern Russian music.

The symphonic poem In The Steppes Of Central Asia was written in 1880 and is dedicated to Franz Liszt who admired and promoted Borodin's music. Liszt was a big factor in getting Borodin's music heard and recognized. 

This poem paints in music the interacting between Russians and Asians in the steppe lands. A caravan of Central Asians is crossing the desert under the protection of Russian soldiers. The opening theme represents the Russians while the ornamented melody on English horn represents the Asians. These two melodies are finally heard together along with a theme in pizzicato strings that represents the plodding hoofs of camels and horses.  At the end only the Russian theme is heard.


  1. In the Steppes of Central Asia is probably my favorite piece of music.

  2. Inspired by "Der nächtliche Zug" by Liszt.