Prince Igor (includes Polovtsian Dances)
A Russian masterpiece steps up one place this year
Many musical historians regard Prince Igor as Borodin's magnum opus. But, strictly speaking, it should really be considered as his 'magnum opus infectus' his great unfinished work. Despite spending some eighteen years working on it, by the time Borodin died, aged fifty-four, Prince Igor was still incomplete.
So, in 1887, when Borodin died and Rimsky-Korsakov, with Glazunov, began the hugely unenviable task of sifting through his belongings, the score of Prince Igor loomed large. As Rimsky-Korsakov later wrote in his memoirs, 'Glazunov was to fill in all the gaps in act III and write down from memory the Overture played so often by the composer, while I was to orchestrate, finish composing, and systematise all the rest that had been left.'
All things considered, they did a wonderful job.
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