Borodin, Aleksandr Porfir′yevich
- Robert W. Oldani
(b St Petersburg, 31 Oct/Nov 12, 1833; d St Petersburg, 15/Feb 27, 1887). Russian composer, by profession a medical doctor and professor of chemistry.
Borodin was the illegitimate son of Prince Luka Stepanovich Gedianov (more correctly Gedianishvili) and his mistress Avdot′ya Konstantinovna Antonova. As was customary in such cases, he was registered and baptized as the son of one of his father’s serfs, Porfiry Ionovich Borodin. Thus in the eyes of the law he was born a serf himself, but thanks to Gedianov’s affection for his mother, the boy’s childhood was privileged nevertheless. He spent his first five years living with his parents in his father’s apartment in St Petersburg. Then in 1839, as a means of securing a respectable future for Avdot′ya and her son after his own death, the prince arranged a marriage for her with Christian Ivanovich Kleinecke, an elderly retired army physician, and even provided a dowry in the form of a four-storey house in St Petersburg. Kleinecke died within two years of the wedding; Borodin’s father died two years after that, at the age of 69, having first freed his son from serfdom....