Richard Nisley

Posthumous Tony
Music - Classical Released - Mar 29, 2013

It was such a blatant ripoff that in 1954 they gave the Tony Award to Alexander Borodin, rather than the writers of “And This Is My Beloved.” Borodin wasn’t present to accept the award as he had been dead for 67 years.

Borodin never heard “And This Is My beloved” or the hit musical that featured the song, “Kismet.” The creators of “Kismet” drew freely from Borodin’s music for a number of their songs, including “Stranger in Paradise”, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” as well as “And This Is My Beloved.”

This is another example of writers of popular song borrowing from the classics. Other examples include “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” (Chopin), “Tonight We Love” (Tchaikovsky), “Whiter Shade of Pale (Bach), “Don’t You Know” and “It’s Now or Never” (both drawn from the same aria by Puccini).

Borodin was a member of the Mighty Five, a group of uniquely Russian 19th-Century composers. Like everyone in the Mighty Five he had a day job and virtually no schooling in music composition. At his death he left a large body of unfinished work. Much of what he did finish was world-class and is performed in concert halls around the world today. His most famous works include an opera, “Prince Igor” from which the music for “Stranger in Paradise” was borrowed; String Quartet No. 2 in D, from which came the music for “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” and “And This Is My Beloved”; Symphony No. 2 in B Minor; and “In The Steppes of Central Asia.”

As “Mighty Five” music goes, Borodin’s is quite refined.

On the list of 50 greatest composers, Borodin just makes it under the wire, at 50th and last.
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