Today marks the anniversary of Alexander Borodin, 12 November [O.S. 31 October] 1833to 27 February [O.S. 15 February] 1887. He was born as an illegitimate child form a Russian mother and Georgian Prince. He was given the surname of one of the mother's serfs, Porfiry Borodin.
Borodin received an excellent education, and became a Medical Doctor and Chemist.
Chemistry being his primary interest he did however study music and composition. As strange as it seems music was only his secondary interest. As a chemist he received accolades as the discoverer of certain chemical properties, for example his work with aldehyde's, and organic halogens. The Borodin Reaction is named for him
Borodin's music was made famous out side of Russia, where he obtained the displeasure of other composers particularly Modest Mussorgsky, by starting a quartet which repudiated the traditional "musique de chambre". His quartets evoke changes of mood and lyricism, especially his "Nocturne".
Borodin's music became famous throughout Europe through the auspices of Franz Lizte.
Also born today Jeanne Mance 1606, co-founder of Montreal; and Auguste Rodin sculptor.