Russian Piano Music Volume 12 – Sergei Bortkiewicz


Catalogue No: DDA 25142
EAN/UPC: 809730514227
Release Date: October 2016
Genres: ,
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 69:39

It is quite puzzling why, until very recently, the music of Bortkiewicz has not been widely known and loved: his high Romantic style makes him a natural to the legacy of Tchaikovsky, and he was a close contemporary of Rachmaninov. Born of Polish parentage, and later an Austrian citizen, Bortkiewicz lived in many parts of Europe but always considered himself truly Russian. This recording gives a wide sample of his work and will surely whet the appetite for more. Performed by Alfonso Soldano in his CD debut for Divine Art, a professor at the Conservatorio G. Braga in Teramo, Italy; he is also the biographer of the composer, a role which has given him unique insight into the mind and spirit of Bortkiewicz.

Track Listing

    Sergei Bortkiewicz:

  1. I. Lyrica Nova, Op. 59 − I. Con moto affettuoso (3:30)
  2. II. Lyrica Nova, Op. 59 − II. Andantino (3:11)
  3. III. Lyrica Nova, Op. 59 − III. Andantino (3:18)
  4. IV. Lyrica Nova, Op. 59 − IV. Con slancio (1:07)
  5. Etude in D flat major, Op. 15 No. 8 (5:12)
  6. Trois Morceaux, Op. 24 – No. 1 Nocturne (4:52)
  7. I. Esquisses de Crimée, Op. 8 − I. Les rochers d’outche-coche (6:46)
  8. II. Esquisses de Crimée, Op. 8 − II. Caprices de la mer (3:46)
  9. III. Esquisses de Crimée, Op. 8 − III. Les promenades des d’Aloupka: Idylle orientale (3:34)
  10. IV. Esquisses de Crimée, Op. 8 − IV. Les promenades des d’Aloupka: Chaos (2:49)
  11. Prelude, Op. 13 No. 5 (4:42)
  12. Prelude, Op. 40 No. 4 (2:51)
  13. Prelude, Op. 66 No. 3 (2:31)
  14. I. Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 60 − I. Allegro ma non troppo (7:29)
  15. II. Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 60 − II. Allegretto (5:35)
  16. III. Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 60 − III. Andante misericordioso (5:27)
  17. IV. Piano Sonata No. 2 in C sharp minor, Op. 60 − IV. Agitato (2:52)



This material is exceptionally well written, lushly conceived in an unabashed neo-Romantic style. There is also a strong flavor of Liszt’s tone painting. Alfonso Soldano plays this music beautifully, revealing a rich sense of texture and tonal shading.

” —Peter Burwasser
Musical Opinion

All of these pieces are written superbly with myriad beautiful ideas emerging from the very capable fingers of Soldano who has accepted the challenge of bringing this composer’s music to a wider audience… anyone buying this disc will find many hours of pleasure. The Italian pianist Alfonso Soldano is a dedicated interpreter of this composer and there is a fine affinity with this music clearly apparent in his beautifully wrought melodies. The recording is excellent as are all of the CDs from this company. Recommended.

” —Gregor Tassie

“l’ve listened to this program twice through now and gone back to sample individual pieces, and l’ve come away feeling that if prejudices are left at the door and Bortkiewicz is given half a chance, his music will evoke strong emotions and cast a magic spell over you that will last long after it ends. Alfonso Soldano, who is new to this Divine Art series of Russian piano music, is a young, prize-winning Italian pianist blessed with Mediterranean good looks and a phenomenal technique. This is absolutely a fantastic disc. If you’re not already acquainted with Bortkiewicz… prepare to be transported to a place of spell-binding splendor. If I could, l’d buy up every copy of this album and send it to every Fanfare subscriber; that’s how much I love it. If you’re as susceptible to this music as I am, you will love it too; I promise.”

” —Jerry Dubins
The Chronicle

“This is an excellent CD from Divine Art, pianist Alfonso Soldano playing the work of UKranian Sergei Bortkiewicz to a high standard, and Bortkiewicz proving to be an interesting composer. As a whole the CD leans towards the romantic; very enjoyable, and accessible for the more casual listener.”

” —Jeremy Condliffe
The Whole Note

“Pianist Alfonso Soldano takes on this music for what it plainly is, a form that refused to budge with the changing currents of its time. What emerges is not an apology for the music but an argument for its credibility. Bortkiewicz had a voice of his own, that subtly reshaped the familiar late Romantic sound… applying his unique subtleties to show us that the late Romantics may have given up too soon.”

” —Alex Baran
The New Listener

“Now a CD has appeared, which presents an interpretation in which Bortkievicz’s music comes in an optimal way. This is thanks to the pianist Alfonso Soldano, who plays this music with so much devotion and heart blood that one can not be but charmed. The almost heart-warming emotionality that Soldano puts into his interpretation is simply disarming. Moreover, Soldano represents Bortkievicz exactly what he is: as a composer of the twentieth century, who might have been born 80 years earlier. A remarkably beautiful piano sound in a marvellous recording also makes this CD a reference recording of Bortkievicz. I’d say this beats pretty much anything else I’ve heard of this composer from other pianists on other labels.”

” —Grete Catus
Classical Modern Music

“The music sounds surprisingly fresh, somewhere between Rachmaninov and early Scriabin, yet continuously original in its thematic-melodic creativity. So the end result sounds not so much derivative as an integral voice, another pianistic force within the style-set. Soldano makes a convincing case for these works, with virtuoso dramatics, sparkle, shimmer and dash. I find in Bortkeiwicz as presented here a real discovery, not in some history-changing sense but in the quality and originality of the music. Bravo! “

” —Grego Applegate Edwards

“It would be hard to understand anyone who did not find his music to their taste, such are the rapturously gorgeous melodies that [the composer] weaves into these delightful compositions. They are totally satisfying and one wants to hear them again and again and it is quite impossible to single any out as being more attractive than any other. You cannot fail to be won over by Bortkiewicz’s facility in writing the most wonderfully attractive and deliciously satisfying tunes. . One can only shake one’s head in disbelief that this composer is not as equally well known or indeed equally popular as Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin, Rachmaninov, and Liadov. Alfonso Soldano certainly seems at home playing this music and his obvious enthusiasm for it comes through strongly.”

” —Steve Arloff
American Record Guide

“This is Volume 12 in Divine Art’s Russian Piano Music series, and it joins other fine recordings of this composer, whose music will appeal immediately to anyone who enjoys the music of Rachmaninoff. Soldano’s work here and the recording and booklet qualities all stand up fully to the other recordings. Bortkiewicz’s piano writ¬ing calls for a very secure technique. He is skillful at writing beautiful melodies, and I find his music generally positive and bright. Soldano clearly has an great affinity for this music and has also written a biography of Bortkiewicz. I have enjoyed this many times.”

” —James Harrington

In many ways Sergei Bortkiewicz’s music will remind the listener of Rachmaninov, however the stimuli are much wider. This is a fine introduction to Sergei Bortkiewicz’s piano music. The playing is impressive, technically assured and quite simply beautiful.

” —John France