cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgFor a change of mood and style, let’s go to the opera. Alexander Borodin was a doctor and chemistry professor at the St Petersburg Academy of Medicine. This left him with little time for composition, and though he worked on his vibrant opera, Prince Igor, for 18 years, he was unable to complete it before his death in 1887, aged 54. Thankfully, his composer friends Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov set to work on Borodin’s manuscript.

Borodin_by_Repin-2‘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 …’ (from Rimsky-Korskov’s Chronicle of My Musical Life, 1909)

From the LBSO programme notesPrince Igor is based on a Russian epic from the twelfth century. It recounts the story of the heroic Russian warrior, Prince Igor, who goes to war with the Polovtsi, a Tatar warrior tribe. When a sudden eclipse of the sun foreshadows the defeat of Igor’s army, the Prince is captured by the Polovtsi’s Khan, who attempts to seduce Igor into joining forces with him by means of the sensuous dancing of the Polovtsian slave maidens. Igor, however, manages to escape and rejoin his faithful wife.

We’ll be singing two choruses from the Act that includes the Polovtsian slaves – so up to 5mins 45seconds in the video, but enjoy the rest if you have time to. Might there be dancing on Saturday? Who knows!


The first adult workshop event is Simply Romantic on Saturday 3rd October at the Bluecoat P1110367Academy, Aspley Lane, Nottingham. It’s a day of singing just for the joy of it, no concert. We’ll be writing a few blog posts before then to introduce you to the rich variety of pieces Angela and Alex will be exploring with the singers during the workshop.

Now we hope this doesn’t come as a disappointment, but when we say Romantic music we don’t mean we’ll be singing love songs all day, rather music by composers from the Romantic era of Western classical music. This pretty much encompassed the 19th century and gave rise to music full of emotion and passion, often rich in melody. (We like a good tune.) Old forms were discarded or modified and new ones created. More percussion instruments were added to orchestras, rhythms and variation in time signatures became more adventurous, as did changes of key and harmonies.

So who are the famous composers of the Romantic era? Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Berlioz, Chopin, Schumann, Bruckner, Lizst, Borodin and Wagner to name but a few.

Click here to book for the Simply Romantic workshop. While you’re on the site, take a look at all the music making opportunities for 2105/16. There are new groups for adult instrumentalists, and plenty going on for music makers of all ages.