Alexander Borodin's Scherzo in A-flat major is a lively piece written in 1885, while Borodin was in Belgium for an early performance of his then incomplete opera Prince Igor. It was originally written for solo piano but in 1889 Alexander Glazunov orchestrated it, along with the Petite Suite. Borodin dedicated the piece to Théodore Jadoul, who made a four-hand piano arrangement of it.
The Scherzo can be recognized as one of Borodin's compositions instantaneously because of its bright tone, pounding rhythms and exciting melodies. In the main theme of the piece a constant rhythm is used, giving it a clear beat, but unfortunately this also makes it very challenging for the pianist due to the constant jumps required. The piece often modulates, making it more interesting and varied. Played at correct speed, the piece only lasts around three minutes. However this "miniature" offers an admirable summary of its composer's style.
The following pianists have recorded the piece:
|Pianist||Duration||Record Label||Recording Date|
|Vladimir Ashkenazy||02:48||Philips Records||1983|
|Margaret Fingerhut||02:58||Chandos Records||1985|
|Philip Edward Fisher||03:22||Chandos Records||2011|
|Roberto Giordano||03:12||Cypress Records||2004|
|Dirk Joeres||02:59||Largo Records||1986|
|Vladimir Leyetchkiss||03:15||Centaur Records||1991|
|Sergei Rachmaninoff||02:57||RCA Victor||1935|
|Marco Rapetti||03:21||Brilliant Classics||2008|
|Victor Ryabchikov||03:04||Olympia Records||1999|
|Joseph Villa||02:49||Dante Records||1980|
In 1889, just two years after Borodin's Death, Alexander Glazunov orchestrated the Petite Suite. Glazunov's orchestration of the Suite makes the 7th movement (Finale) the Scherzo, with the Nocturne inserted inside it as a trio section. The total length of the movement is around eight minutes.