Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Prťalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallť
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

Buy through MusicWeb
for £17.95 postage paid World-wide.

Musicweb Purchase button

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952)
Piano Works:-
Vol. 8: Impressions Op.4 (1905) [21:08]; Ein Roman fŁr Klavier Op.35 (1928) [29:12]
Vol. 9: Trois Morceaux Op.6 (1906), nos. 2 and 3 [7:04]; Kindheit (From a story by Leo Tolstoi) Op.39 (1930) [31:14]
Jouni Somero (piano)
rec. Kuusaa Hall, Kuusankoski, Finland, 22-23 November, 2011.
FINNCONCERT FCRCD-9742 [52:23 + 38:18]

Experience Classicsonline



 
See article on this composer by Bhagwan Thadani.
 
Previous volumes in this valuable series: first (review), second (review), third (review), fourth (review), fifth (review), sixth (FCRCD 9740) in 2011, seventh (review)
 
Iím on a roll at present with the discs Iíve recently had to review. Iíve chosen a lot by composers Iíd either never come across before or knew of vaguely so my musical knowledge is being stretched more than somewhat and I just love it. The list has included Goldmark, GŠl, Zemlinsky, Tcherepnin, Tubin, Maria Szymanowska, Salmanov, Koszewski, Szeligowski, Panufnik, Feld, Tansman, Alla Borzova, Leschetitzky and a disc with works by 11 Argentinean composers none of whom I knew! Now here is yet another whose name was unknown to me just two weeks ago, Sergei Bortkiewicz. What it emphasises to me is just how little I really know Ė a salutary lesson. Why it is that some composers get under my radar I donít know. The same goes for performers too, such as the pianist on these discs Jouni Somero. I read that he has given more than 2500 concerts around the world and has made over 70 CDs for numerous labels. Iíve got a lot more to learn before I try going on a music quiz show!
 
The other very lucky thing for me has been that Iíve really enjoyed the music on every one of these discs. It makes me ask myself whether Iím too easily pleased and Iíve decided that that is not the case it is simply that I do enjoy someone who has something interesting to say and who knows how to say it. Bortkiewicz certainly did. On the evidence of the music on this disc he was a composer who was clearly most at home working within the romantic tradition and was not one who felt driven to explore new methods of expression. I had a quick look at who was born around the same time and within a period of twenty years or so between 1871 and 1899 the list included Scriabin, Rachmaninov, Medtner, Bartůk, Szymanowski, Prokofiev and Tcherepnin, while Brahms died in 1897. Bortkiewicz certainly had more in common with Brahms and Szymanowski than most of the others, apart perhaps from Scriabin and Medtner, and for some Szymanowski, born five years after Bortkiewicz, was ďthe last RomanticĒ.
 
Bortkiewiczís piano works show the influence of Tchaikovsky and Chopin. In fact I donít think it would be going too far to describe him as a Ukrainian Chopin despite the wide gap between them in terms of dates. While no one would claim that his music is anything like as unique or inventive as that of Chopin, nevertheless it has a charm of its own and a host of good tunes well set. He had a facility for representing moods extremely accurately as can be heard clearly in TempÍte and AprŤs la pluie (tracks 3 and 4, from Impressions op.4, 1905). Chopinesque melodies abound in Begegnung (Encounter), Plauderei (Conversation), Erwachende Liebe (Reawakened Love) and Auf dem Ball (At the ball), (tracks 8-11 from Ein Roman fŁr Klavier, A story for piano) which date from as late as 1928 when Bartůkís 4th String Quartet was written.
 
Itís interesting to note while listening to this music that is so full of lush romantic melody that 15 years before this work was composed Stravinskyís The Rite of Spring was premiŤred during which there was the famous riot, and about which Leonard Bernstein wrote "... it's ... got the best dissonances anyone ever thought up, and the best asymmetries and polytonalities and polyrhythms and whatever else you care to name." Thatís the endlessly fascinating thing about music; things donít change completely all of a sudden but gradually. While there are plenty of people wanting to, even driven to, push the boundaries, there are others happy to stay in the same groove where they feel most at home; thereís something for everyone at every stage. Since itís all subjective thereís no right or wrong way to express oneself just different ways.
 
In 1930 Bortkiewicz still found his romantic style his favourite way of expression and composed Kindheit (Infancy) from a story by Tolstoi. This is a delightful set of fourteen snapshots from childhood that include teacher, mother, father, wet nurse, the hunt and finally motherís death, the latter an achingly heartfelt piece. In the pantheon of great composers Bortkiewicz would not find a place itís true but that goes for a myriad other composers. What of it because, what counts surely is, can you relate to it, was it written honestly and with genuine feeling and does it get its message across. On all those counts this undemanding music does exactly that and gives pleasure while doing so. What more could or should you ask? Jouni Somero must certainly feel that way as these two discs are part of his survey of the complete piano works of Bortkiewicz. He has also taken on the role of champion in respect of many otherwise neglected composers such as Alkan, Arensky, Godard, Henselt, Thalberg, Blumenfeld, Rebikov and Reinhold. Congratulations are due him for this as there will undoubtedly be plenty to enjoy amongst all those and we should get the chance to hear them. Ploughing the same furrow is not only confined to those, like Bortkiewicz whose heart was stuck in the romantic tradition but also those performers who seem only to be interested in recording yet another disc of Chopin or another Beethoven piano concerto when there are already dozens of versions. People like Somero give us a valuable opportunity to hear other works and further our musical knowledge. He is doing a great job, as he has here, so thank you Mr Somero, thank you very much!
 
Steve Arloff
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.