Music is one of the most effective and most beautiful means of communication between peoples. However characteristically national the music may be, it will penetrate to the hearts of all receptive listeners regardless of outlook, provided that it has real beauty.

Russian music stems from the genius of Glinka and reaches its full development in the works of the 'Kuchka' (the mighty Handful); it has long since become well known all over the world. It is only fitting therefore that a book on Borodin by a Russian musicologist should appear in English translation.

It was my good fortune to be born in the flat where Borodin spent most of his life, and into a family who had been intimately associated with him, though not in any way related to him by birth. My father studied chemistry under Borodin, and became one of his close friends; he succeeded him as Professor of Chemistry, and sorted out Borodin's affairs after his death in accordance with Borodin's own wishes and those of his friends. My mother was Borodin's adopted daughter and had grown up in his family; a second adopted daughter, Elena Guseva, also lived in our house. They were all passionate devotees of Borodin, both as a man and as a composer.

From my earliest years I have been used to hearing anecdotes about Borodin himself and about his various friends and acquaintances, and the various opinions he had on different topics. I was brought up in a home environment which was not very different from Borodin's own.

Luckily, I have managed to remember from my childhood days a vast assortment of hitherto unpublished facts relating to Borodin. I have long been wanting to publish this material, especially as I am keenly interested in music, but work on my other speciality, mathematics, and various other complications have so far prevented me from doing so.

I was finally persuaded to begin work on preparing this material for publication by the late Andrey Rimsky-Korsakov, who was much my senior as a musicologist and actually taught me a great deal about the history of music. When he learnt (sometime in 1922) that I had . . .

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