November 12, 1833: Alyeksandr Porfiryevich Borodin is born in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire, the illegitimate son of Prince Luka Stepanovich Gedianov (Gedianishvili) by Avdotya Konstantinovna Antonova, daughter of a soldier from Narva. According to common practice, the child is registered as the son of one of the Prince’s serfs, Porfiry Ionovich Borodin.
December 7, 1849: Alyeksandr Borodin (16) receives his first review, a favorable one in Northern Bee, on two piano pieces: Fantasia per il piano sopra un motivo de J.N. Hummel and Le Courant.
April 6, 1856: After graduating from the Academy of Physicians, Alyeksandr Borodin (22) is appointed “medical practitioner” at the Second Military Hospital, St. Petersburg. In this capacity he will meet a young duty officer assigned to the hospital from the Preobrazhensky Regiment: Modest Musorgsky (17).
March 17, 1858: Alyeksandr Borodin (24) reads his first published work to the Russian Academy of Sciences, “On the Action of Ethyl-iodide on Hydrobenzamide and Amarine.”
May 15, 1858: Alyeksandr Borodin (24) successfully defends his dissertation “On the like action of arsenic and phosphoric acids on the human organism” for the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
November 8, 1859: Alyeksandr Borodin (25) leaves St. Petersburg to travel abroad as a delegate of the Academy of Physicians and to gain experience for the position of Adjunct-Professor of Chemistry, recently offered to him.
November 13, 1859: Alyeksandr Borodin (26) crosses the frontier at Taurogen and leaves Russia for the first time.
November 17, 1859: Alyeksandr Borodin (26) arrives in Heidelberg where he is “directed to work in the laboratory of the German chemist Bunsen.” He finds the arrangements unsuitable and decides to work elsewhere.
September 3, 1860: Alyeksandr Borodin (26) arrives in Karlsruhe for a four-day stay attending an international meeting of chemists.
March 23, 1861: The Senate of the Academy of Physicians, St. Petersburg, votes to extend Alyeksandr Borodin’s (27) period of study abroad until August 1862.
May 20, 1861: Alyeksandr Borodin (27) arrives in Heidelberg from Italy, where he was on scientific business.
May 27, 1861: Alyeksandr Borodin (27) meets Yekaterina Sergeevna Protopopova, a talented Russian pianist now in Heidelberg being treated for tuberculosis.
August 22, 1861: Alyeksandr Borodin (27), in Baden-Baden, becomes engaged to Yekaterina Sergeyevna Protopopova whom he met on 27 May in Heidelberg.
April 19, 1862: While the laboratory in Pisa (where he is working) is closed for the Easter holidays, Alyeksandr Borodin (28) and his fiancee spend five days in Florence taking in art, theatre, and music.
October 2, 1862: Alyeksandr Borodin (28) and his fiancee cross the border into Russia at Verzhbolova (Virbalis, Lithuania).
December 20, 1862: Alyeksandr Borodin (29) is appointed to the post of adjunct professor in chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg.
April 29, 1863: Alyeksandr Borodin (29) marries Yekaterina Sergeyevna Protopopova, daughter of the staff doctor at Moscow’s Golitsyn Hospital, and an excellent pianist. The ceremony takes place in the chapel of the agricultural college in the Udelnaya, St. Petersburg.
April 28, 1864: Alyeksandr Borodin (30) is appointed full professor of chemistry at the Medico-Surgical Academy in St. Petersburg.
November 18, 1867: The Bogatirs, an opera by Alyeksandr Borodin (34) to words of Krilov, is performed for the first time, at the Bolshoy Theatre, Moscow. Negative criticism and lack of understanding on the part of the public limits the work to one performance.
November 6, 1868: Alyeksandr Borodin (34) writes to his wife in St. Petersburg, telling her of his summer affair with Anna Nikolayevna Kalinina. “My feelings toward her do not alter the way I feel towards you, and I am giving only that which I cannot give to you; it is nothing more than that ‘feeling of mine towards children,’ in her words, towards weakness, youth, hopes, and the future.”
January 16, 1869: Symphony no.1 by Alyeksandr Borodin (35) is performed publicly for the first time, in St. Petersburg, conducted by Mily Balakirev (32). The first movement elicits a cold response, the second receives an encore and the rest creates a sensation. The composer is repeatedly called on stage. See 7 March 1868.
May 2, 1869: Vladimir Stasov sends to Alyeksandr Borodin (35) an opera scenario based on the historical epic The Lay of Igor’s Campaign and The Ipatyevsky Chronicle. The composer is delighted.
June 13, 1876: Alyeksandr Borodin (42) writes from Moscow about the Kuchka, “We are drifting apart...it seems, more from a superficial standpoint than on fundamental issues...I find such a break-up natural...It always happens in all fields of human activity.”
March 10, 1877: Symphony no.2 by Alyeksandr Borodin (43) is performed for the first time, by the Russian Musical Society, St. Petersburg.
November 25, 1879: Three scenes from Alyeksandr Borodin’s (46) unperformed opera Prince Igor are performed for the first time, at the Free School of Music, St. Petersburg.
April 20, 1880: New works from the Kuchka are performed for the first time, in Kononov Hall, St. Petersburg: In Central Asia, a symphonic poem by Alyeksandr Borodin (46) composed for the silver jubilee of Tsar Alyeksandr II, conducted by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (36), the closing scene from Modest Musorgsky’s (41) opera Khovanshchina, and Musorgsky’s Mephistopheles’ Song of the Flea for solo voice and piano to words of Goethe (tr. Strugovshchikov).
May 8, 1880: Alyeksandr Borodin’s (46) E flat Symphony is performed outside Russia for the first time, in Baden-Baden to a triumphant success.
October 21, 1880: Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (36) writes this day, “Owing to inadequate technique, Balakirev (43) writes...little, Borodin (47) with difficulty, Cui (45) in a slipshod way, Musorgsky (41) sloppily and often absurdly...and all this constitutes the regrettable specialty of the Russian school.” “I have absolutely no desire to mess with [the Free Music School] anymore. And even those whose works it would be a pleasure to perform, for example, Borodin, Musorgsky and Balakirev, aren’t writing much, and if they do write, they don’t orchestrate; you have to run after everyone like a nurse after a child.”
March 30, 1881: The earthly remains of Modest Musorgsky are laid to rest in the Nevsky Cemetery, St. Petersburg. Attending are the other members of the Kuchka, Alyeksandr Borodin (47), Cesar Cui (46), Mily Balakirev (44), and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (37), along with many musicians and music students.
January 3, 1882: Konchakovna’s arioso from Prince Igor, an opera by Alyeksandr Borodin (48) to his own words after Stasov, is performed for the first time, in the Hall of the City Credit Company, St. Petersburg.
February 5, 1882: String Quartet no.2 by Alyeksandr Borodin (48) is performed for the first time, by the Russian Musical Society, St. Petersburg.
December 13, 1885: Alyeksandr Borodin (52) makes a successful conducting debut with the amateur orchestra of the Medical Academy in St. Petersburg.
December 5, 1886: Today is the name day of Mitrofan Petrovich Belyayev for which a string quartet has been composed with the four movements by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (42), Alyeksandr Borodin (53), Anatol Konstantinovich Lyadov and Alyeksandr Glazunov (21) respectively. Each movement is based on the theme B flat-A-F.
February 27, 1887: Alyeksandr Porfiryevich Borodin attends a costume party with his two adopted daughters in the Sushchinsky lecture room of the Academy of Science, St. Petersburg, Russia. While conversing innocently he begins to slur his words and suddenly collapses to the floor. Every doctor and professor in the Academy try for an hour to revive him but to no avail. An autopsy will show a burst artery of the heart. The funeral will be attended by a large crowd and Borodin’s mortal remains will be laid to rest in the cemetery of the Alyeksandr Nevsky Monastery, St. Petersburg next to those of Modest Musorgsky (†5) and near those of Alyeksandr Dargomizhsky (†18). At the time of his death, Borodin is aged 53 years, three months, and 15 days.
November 9, 1893: The mortal remains of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky are carried in procession from the apartment of his brother Modest to the Mariinsky Theatre where a requiem is sung. At noon they reach the Kazan Cathedral. This is the main requiem of the day, on the order of Tsar Alyeksandr III, the first time that a civilian has been given this honor. At 14:00 they proceed down Nevsky Prospect to the cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky monastery, St. Petersburg. After another requiem and several orations and poems, the body is laid to rest not far from those of Modest Musorgsky (†12), Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (†36), and Alyeksandr Borodin (†6).
November 20, 1920: Three ballets arranged by Ottorino Respighi (41), to choreography of Leonidov, are performed for the first time, in Teatro Costanzi, Rome: La pentola magica, to Russian folk music, Fantasia Indiana, to music of Glinka and Rimsky-Korsakov, and Canzoni arabe, to music of Borodin (†33) and Rimsky-Korsakov.