Born in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1877, Sergei Bortkiewicz studied with Liadov and Arek at the Imperial Conservatory in St. Petersburg and in Leipzig with Reisenauer. He toured Europe as a performing artist and also taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin. He gave many master classes and also composed primarily for piano solo as well as composing four piano concertos. Bortkiewicz’s musical style is late romantic with stylistic links to Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.
World War II brought severe hardships to Bortkiewicz and his wife then residing in Vienna. Much of his sheet music was destroyed by the Allied bombings in Germany, thereby cutting off his income. His friend Hugo van Dalen, a Dutch touring artist, helped Bortkiewicz financially, and was an exponent of the composer’s music. Bortkiewicz also taught at the Vienna City Conservatory at that time. After the war Bortkiewicz tried to rebuild his status as a composer and pianist, but after his death in 1952, he and his music were all but forgotten. There is now a renaissance of his music.
Very recently the Yugoslav Suite
, Op. 58 composed in 1940--but lost for decades--was discovered in the Rahter publishing archive. From the suite I’ve drawn No. 5, “Nocturne”, and have made the first recording of this “new music”. The piece is largely in E minor, however, the key of the coda becomes E major casting brilliant sunshine replacing an earlier dark mood.
Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open
Recorder: Roland R-44
Mics: Matched pair of Earthworks TC-20 small diaphragm, omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configurationBortkiewicz - Yugoslav Suite, Op. 58, No. 5 "Nocturne"