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 Post subject: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:39 pm 
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I recently became acquainted with the work of the above-mentioned composer though the recordings to be found on the Piano Society site ass well as some on You Tube. I have managed to acquire a certain number of his piano works but I cannot find his 7 Preludes op 40. These have been recorded on this site by David April and there are two or three recordings to be found on You Tube, all by different pianists. There seems to be no printed version available. I have contacted the Netherlands Music Institute, but they do not have a printed copy, but only the manuscript, which they can supply against payment. The IMSLP does list a number of works by Bortkiewicz, all of them old editions, dating from the 30s and 40s. There is a scan of these Preludes, but, as these are not in the public domain in the EU, access to them has been blocked, I suppose to protect the author (dead) and his heirs (which are dead too, for all I know), which is all very well, except that in this case it is not possible to purchase the printed score!

I might end up buying a copy of the manuscript, but before I do that, does anyone know how I could obtain a legal copy of the printed score?

How did David April get one, does anyone know?

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:03 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
It's legal until you get caught! :wink: Besides copyright law is more like a mere guideline than absolute.

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:01 pm 
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The problem is it is not to be found.

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:04 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
How did David April get one, does anyone know?

If you drop him a PM I am sure he will tell you - as well as be delighted to find another Bortkiewicz aficionado. His forum name is "Rachfan".

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:12 pm 
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Thank you; I shall try.

I found these recording also on You Tube. It is funny how even on the Internet one comes meets people in two different places!

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:55 pm 
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Location: Texas,USA
I sure love Bortkiewicz piano concerto #1
And here is his page on IMSLP http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Bortkiew ... duardovich
One can find lots of scores of his there.
As far as legality, given the recent issues IMSLP had with Universal and other publishers(back in 2006 or was it 2007), I don't think they would be posting music not in the public domain. Also, IMSLP is posting the following disclaimer:

"Works of this composer are most likely not public domain within the EU and in those countries where the copyright term is life+70 years. They may also be protected by copyright in the USA, unless published before 1923, in which case they are PD there as well. However, this composer's works are public domain in Canada (where IMSLP is hosted), and in other countries where the copyright term is life+50 years.
IMSLP does not assume any sort of legal responsibility or liability for the consequences of downloading files that are not in the public domain in your country."

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:51 pm 
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I'm just noticing this thread now. Don't know how I missed it :oops: Anyway, I took care of richard66 when he contacted me by PM, so problem solved. :)

David

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 12:36 pm 
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And I am very grateful to you too and have been meaning to send you a message in the next few days.

Let me go a little off topic, but not so much.

Minor pianist as I am I am almost winning the technnical battle with the Prelude in f sharp minor (No 6) and am now attempting No 4. I have also bought his preludes op 33 and "From Andersen's Tales". The latter are much simpler, but at least two of them are exquisite: The Angel and The Butterfly. Those are also cooking (Simrock, available from Boosey and Hawkes). I am also attempting the Etude op 15/8. I do not know, but of all the versions I have heard they all seem too fast to appreciate the middle section. The only one I liked has been pillored as being "almost coming to a standstill"

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Hi richard66,

Sounds like you're working hard on the Bortkiewicz pieces! The Prelude 40/6 is an extraordinary piece, is it not? Bringing out the voices in the duet is the key to it. No. 4 is a lush piece, much like a nocturne. You'll enjoy working on it too.

I agree with you that the Etude 15/8 needs to be a bit leisurely. There is no tempo marking as such (nor any surviving performance practices for that matter), but rather a descriptive direction from the composer: "Mournful with much expression"--so how can that possibly be rushed??? In this etude I believe that Bortkiewicz gives you some leeway to make choices.

It's always gratifying to hear that others are taking up this beautiful music!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:54 am 
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Hello David,

Yes, hard, but now I need to take a break from some of these pieces so they can "consolidate". It is amazing how this works: stay a week away from something and you need to be prepared for the results, which can seen so incredible that you wonder if it is really you playing and lead you to miss a note!

Having studied Bach extensively I have learnt to bring out the voices in most pieces I play but it does at times make me a bit impatient with composers who know little counterpoint and fail to mark the voices clearly. In his way Bortkiewicz avoids this either by writing out the voice or by placing tenuto signs over the "hidden" voice. I have also learnt to play as if the sustaining pedal were out of order (mine actually is: at times it squeaks when depressed) and it is a challenge to sustain the voice without the pedal. I often find out that with Bortkiewicz that I can connect notes without relying on the pedal, which means not always following his fingerings (thumb followed by thumb, for example).

Maybe playng these pieces has improved my technique, I do not know, or maybe it is having read "Fundamentals of Piano Practice", which echoes so many of the principles I was taught by my one and only teacher back in the 1980s. One thing it has done is to boost confidence so that when I make a mess of the piece I do not get frustrated because I am a poor pianist, but because I am not concentrated and the fingers are not relaxed. Or maybe it was my daughter, who, one day, when I was nervous while playing, pulled my arm and cried. When I stopped and relaxed and began again, she smiled and went back to playing with her toys and singing. She is only 1.

There are varous versions of the Etude on You Tube, one of them by Moritz Rosenthal, who must have heard Bortkiewicz play it. This one I consider too fast, but nowhere as fast as Koji Atwood's! The slowest version is by a Brazilian, Alexandre Dias, that lasts 1 minute longer than Koji's, which is a lot if you consider the whole piece lasts an average of 5 minutes. Dias brings out the "Rachmaninoff" character of the middle section, whereas with Koji all you can hear is a wall of sound. I notice also that his version of Prelude op 40/6 is also very much faster than yours.

No metronome markings are ever used by Bortkiewicz anywhere. Maybe this says something?

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Sergei Bortkiewicz
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:04 pm 
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Hi Richard,

Yes, I've experienced that phenomenon as well, that when you leave a piece for awhile and later return to it, many technical aspects seem to have taken care of themselves. Probably during the absence, the subconscious continues to work on the piece without our being aware of it and allowing it to gel better in our minds.

I agree that you have to follow and etch the melodies in Bortkiewicz, which are sometimes not readily apparent until you analyze the pieces a bit. And he sometimes hands off the melody to the left hand as well. And in Prelude 40/6, you actually have two active voices there, sometimes completing one another's sentences. He is very helpful with t