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Hyperion Records

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Illuminations at the Arsenal (1865) by V S Sadovnikov
Track(s) taken from CDD22054
Recording details: December 1998
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: September 2000
Total duration: 19 minutes 38 seconds

'Abundance of melodic appeal and inventiveness. Bortkiewicz seems incapable of writing unattractive music so one is able to derive pleasure from the pieces here. I shall certainly look forward to further volumes in this series' (Gramophone)

'The hand of a master melodist and tone painter is manifest throughout this beguiling recital. A recital to delight the connoisseur of forgotten late 19th-century romantic piano music' (Classic CD)

'Stephen Coombs provides suave performances … artfully phrased and scrupulously colored. Warmly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Une irrésistible joliesse pianistique qui ruisselle ici sous les doigts de Stephen Coombs' (Diapason, France)

Quatre morceaux, Op 3
published in Leipzig by Daniel Rahter in 1906; probably written the same year; No 1 dedicated to Alfred Reisenauer, No 2 to Countess d'Osten-Sacken, No 3 to Madame Sophie Bortkiewicz

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Quatre Morceaux, Op 3, are Bortkiewicz’s earliest published works to have survived and were probably written in 1906. The dedications of the first three pieces are a clear acknowledgement of the individuals whose influence was most important to Bortkiewicz in his early career. The first is dedicated to the pianist Alfred Reisenauer, Bortkiewicz’s teacher and mentor, and the second to the Countess d’Osten-Sacken, the wife of the Russian Ambassador in Berlin. The Countess had studied with Chopin and was an influential admirer of Bortkiewicz, though his acquaintance with such high-ranking members of Berlin society seems to have come through his wife (whose uncle, Nicolaus von Bulatzel, was the Ambassador’s advisor) rather than through his own fame. The third piece is dedicated to Madame Sophie Bortkiewicz, presumably the composer’s mother, to whom Bortkiewicz, in his memoirs, attributed his musical talent.

from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2000

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