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Music with Ease > Classical Music > Concert Guide: Nationalist Era > Symphony No. 2 in B Minor (Borodin)


Symphony No. 2 in B Minor

Alexander Porfirevich Borodin
(1833-87)



1. Allegro.
2. Scherzo.
3. Andante.
4. Allegro.

Borodin's Second Symphony was begun in 1871, finished in 1876, and was first heard in Petrograd in 1877. The first movement opens with a vigorous unison in the strings, reinforced by basoons and horns, the theme forming the foundation of the whole movement. The second division is announced by the woodwinds, the two alternating and leading to the second subject, presented by the 'cellos and subsequently by the woodwinds. After the first theme is repeated by full orchestra, development begins, leading to the recapitulation fortissimo. A Coda, constructed on the theme, closes the movement.

The second movement opens with a theme for first and second horn followed by a passage in the strings in unison, which alternates with the first theme until the Trio is reached. A melody follows for the clarinet with harp and triangle accompaniment and a Coda closes the movement pianissimo.

A solo for clarinet opens the third movement, followed by a plaintive folk song for the horn, passing in modified form to the woodwinds. A new passage follows, leading up to a climax and the clarinet solo, with which the movement began, closes the movement. The third leads directly into the fourth movement, the opening theme being announced by full orchestra. The second subject appears in the clarinet, followed by flute and oboe, with accompaniment of harp and strings. The first theme is then developed by the three trombones and tuba, followed by the strings and woodwinds. The second subject follows the recapitulation of the opening material closes the movement.





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