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[1833 - 1887]

Serenata alla spagnola (on the name Be-la-ieff)
arranged by Mark Starr for symphony orchestra
from Borodin's original movement for string quartet

19th C. caricature of Borodin

link to biography of Borodin

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


The Serenata alla spagnola is a remarkable miniature that Borodin composed in homage to his philanthropist music publisher and benefactor, Mitrofan Belyayev (usually mis-transliterated as Belaieff.) Originally, it was the third movement of a collaborative string quartet offered as a 50th birthday tribute to the music publisher by four of Belyavev's composers (and friends.) The first movement was composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; the second by Anatoly Liadov; and the fourth by Alexander Glazunov.





Belyayev by Repin


The germinal motive for the themes in all four movements of the string quartet were the three notes B-A-F, which spells the publishers name (B-la-ef.)  Borodin's short third movement is one of the great -- and most succinct -- portraits of a noted personality in music. His noble theme consists of six notes: B-LA-F repeated twice, with the F up an octave the second time. The theme is repeated until the end. It becomes surrounded by swirls of exotic music of the kind of Russian works that Belyayev published, such as Rimsky's Scheharazade, Borodin's Second Symphony, and Liadov's Enchanted Lake.


In Mark Starr's orchestration of this movement, he has given the noble B-LA-F theme to each of the solo instruments in the orchestra, thus giving them an oppotunity to give a tip-of-the-hat to the publisher, who by his generosity and commitment to Russian music, so greatly enriched the standard musical repertiore.


Serenade of a Court Jester
Frans Hals


The full score of this arrangement is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website of www.sibeliusmusic.com.  Here is a link to the score online:

link to full score for symphony orchestra on www.sibeliusmusic.com

To display the score on your computer screen -- while listening to a MIDI performance of the music -- one must first download Sibelius' web music viewer, called Scorch.  Scorch is available free-of-charge on the sibeliusmusic.com website. (Just click on the sibeliusmusic.com website's green button marked Get Scorch)


The orchestral parts are available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions for public performances and/or commercial recordings.