Prince Igor (includes Polovtsian Dances)
Alexander Borodin


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The second of 3 entries for Borodin in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has been in every Hall of Fame, peaking in the first chart in 1996 at number 101.

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.

Giuseppe Bonfiglio and Rosina Galli in the Meteropolitan Opera's 1915 production.