Tchaikovsky – Rimsky-Korsakov – Mussorgsky


The Kipchak Turks were a nomadic tribe during the early Middle Ages that were roaming the steppes of Eurasia from Rumania to the edge of what is now China. They were first mentioned by a Persian geographer in his book of travels from the ninth century. They existed earlier as part of the second Turkic Khaganate, and later formed confederations with other Turkic peoples and the Cumans. If all those terms mean anything to you I say kudos to you.

For purposes of this blog however, it is more interesting that in the time of Borodin they were referred to as Polovtsy, and they were very exotic. The dances form an instrumental ballet part of the opera Prince Igor. The opera recounts the tale of Twelfth century Prince Igor fighting the incoming hordes of Cuman tribes in 1185.

These Polovtsian dances are the second track of a four part collection of Russian orchestral works on this recording. I don’t have that many recordings of George Szell, but I am quite impressed by this one.

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