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Sonata in B major, Op 9
1909; Berlin

'Bortkiewicz: Piano Music' (CDD22054)
Bortkiewicz: Piano Music
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Movement 1: Allegro ma non troppo
Track 11 on CDD22054 CD2 [12'01] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 2: Andante mesto e molto espressivo
Track 12 on CDD22054 CD2 [6'09] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 3: Presto
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Sonata in B major, Op 9
Written in 1909 while living in Berlin, the Sonata in B major, Op 9, is Bortkiewicz’s first large-scale work. Although never a very successful concert pianist, Bortkiewicz was at this time giving concerts throughout Europe including tours in Germany, Italy and Russia and appearances in the cities of Vienna, Budapest and Paris. It would seem likely that this sonata was written with these concerts in mind.

The work has a conventional structure with the first movement providing a suitably dramatic opening full of passion, virtuosity and soaring melody—the hallmarks of Bortkiewicz’s piano-writing. The second movement is perhaps the most successful, with a haunting opening melody which is later embellished with great simplicity and elegance—proof that he was more than just a barnstormer. The last movement is a ‘no holds barred’ study of virtuosity suitable for impressing even the most jaded audience in an era of great piano virtuosos. This sonata (as with so many other works by Bortkiewicz) leaves one wondering what fame and fortune the composer might have enjoyed had fate later brought him into contact with Hollywood.

from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2000

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