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Concerten voor klavier - Verschenen op 2 februari 2018 | Piano Classics

Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
Indeed, Sergei Bortkiewicz’ (1877-1952) works are rarely to be found on record: welcome to a new album with the last two of his piano concertos, played by Romanian pianist Stefan Doniga. Bortkiewicz was born in Ukraine, and received his musical training in St Petersburg from Liadov. In 1900 he continued his study at the Leipzig Conservatory. From 1904 until 1914, he lived in Berlin where he started his career as a composer. A piano concerto opus 1 was premiered in Berlin in 1906 but later destroyed by the composer. At the outbreak of the First World War he was forced to leave Germany, and returned to Kharkov but with the end of the war came new horrors, with the Russian civil war. In 1920 he had to flee to Turkey but despite the good living conditions there, Bortkiewicz pined for Central Europe – it would be Austria as from 1922. That same year he was commissioned by the famous one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein to write a Piano Concerto for the left hand. As part of the deal he had to grant Wittgenstein exclusive rights of performance during the pianist’s lifetime. Because of this stipulation, Bortkiewicz’ concerto was never published and fell into oblivion after the deaths of Bortkiewicz in 1952 and Wittgenstein in 1961. In Vienna, where he had eventually obtained Austrian citizenship, Bortkiewicz composed his Piano Concerto no. 3 opus 32 “Per aspera ad astra” – ‘through resistance into light’. The melodic gifts, the instrumentation and the different functions of the piano reflect the solid workmanship of Bortkiewicz, embodied with that same pathos as the concertos of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. Bortkowicz had an aversion for what he called modern, atonal and cacophonous music: his work reflects little innovation compared to many of his contemporary composers, he covered no new ground, but built on the structures and sounds of Chopin and Liszt, with the unmistakable influences of early Scriabin and Rachmaninov. With unerring flair and a huge talent! © SM/Qobuz