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Polovetsian Dances (tr Hindsley)

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Alexander Borodin

Alexander Borodin (tr. Mark Hindsley)

Subtitle: From Prince Igor

General Info

Year: 1879 / 197-?
Duration: c. 17:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hindsley Transcriptions
Cost: Score and Parts - $176.00   |   Score Only - $385.00


1. Dance of the Young Polovetsian Maidens
2. Introduction; Dance of the Young Slave Maidens; Dance of the Wild Men
3. General Dance; Dance of the Polovetsian Slaves
4. Dance of the Little Boys; Dance of the Men; Dance of the Young Maidens
5. Dance of the Little Boys; Dance of the Men; General Dance


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute I
Flute II
Oboe I
Oboe II/English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Harp or Piano/Celeste
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Borodin's opera Prince Igor is at once the most deeply Russian and the most popular of his works. The source of the story is a 14th-century prose poem entitled Song of the Army of Prince Igor, which deals with a 12th-century military expedition undertaken by the prince and his son Vladimir against the Polovetsians of Central Asia. Suffering defeat, they are prisoners in the camp of the Khan Kontchak. The second act of the opera centers around Vladimir and the Khan's daughter Kontchakovana falling in love, and the discontent of Igor over the loss of his army and the certain loneliness of his far-away wife Yaroslavna.

Good nature and respect for its noble prisoners seem to characterize the Kontchak family. The Khan most graciously offers Igor practically anything he might want in return for a non-aggression pact, or even an alliance. Igor refuses, vowing a future return and victory. His is an attitude the Khan understands and respects, and he invites Igor to be his personal guest at the entertainment to follow.

Earlier in the act there occurs a dance of the young Polovetsian maidens. The formal entertainment witnessed by Prince Igor is by the tribal slaves – the young boys and maidens, the older men and barbaric warriors, and the general assemblage. Borodin's music is notable for its abundant use of native material, both rhythmic and melodic. The arias are remarkable for their breadth and richness, and the dances are sweeping in their color and vigor, developing to a climax of the most turbulent, almost savage, excitement.

- Program Note from score

The concert premiere of Polovetsian Dances occurred in 1879 – in 1953 the Andantino was recreated in the musical Kismet as Stranger in Paradise. The opera Prince Igor (completely posthumously by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov) deals with the medieval cross-pollination of Occidental and Oriental attitudes that underlies the Russian civilization.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: VI
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. "Alexander Borodin." Accessed 9 September 2015.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 78-79.
  • Borodin, A.; Hindsley, M. [197-?]. Polovetsian Dances: From Prince Igor [score]. [Concert Band Transcriptions]: [Urbana, Ill.]