It is tempting to view the Ballade in C sharp minor
, Op 42, and the Élégie in C sharp major
, Op 46, as a pair. Though published separately in 1931 and 1932, they are strongly reminiscent of the pairs of pieces in Bortkiewicz’s earlier Lamentations and Consolations
. In the respective keys of C sharp minor and major (this major/minor pairing mirroring those in Opus 17) they both almost quote from Rachmaninov’s second Piano Concerto. Whether these echoes of Rachmaninov are intentional or not, it certainly gives ammunition to critics who see Bortkiewicz’s music as derivative. This is a pity as both pieces have that unmistakable Bortkiewicz soundscape and it is worth remembering that Rachmaninov’s now celebrated Concerto was largely unknown to concert audiences in the early 1930s.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2000