DMITRY BORTNYANSKY: The Russian Album = March in C Major for 2 oboes, 2 horns & bassoon; Sinfonie concertante 1790 in B flat Major; Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 & 3 for Cembalo; Quintet in C Major; Harpsichord Concerto in D Major (Caro Mitis SACD)

by | Jun 9, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

DMITRY BORTNYANSKY: The Russian Album = March in C Major for 2
oboes, 2 horns & bassoon; Sinfonie concertante 1790 in B flat
Major; Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 & 3 for Cembalo; Quintet in C Major;
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major – Pratum Integrum Orchestra (historial
instruments) – Caro Mitis Multichannel SACD CM 0052003, 69:10 ****:

Bortnyansky, although born about the same time as Berezovsky (on the
other Caro Mitis SACD reviewed this time) and similarly starting as a
choirboy at the court chapel in St. Petersburg and then being sent to
Italy for study, lived a much longer life than his follow composer – to
1825.  Upon his return to the Russian court he became director of
vocal music at the court chapel and improved singing standards as well
as composing many sacred choral works and three comic operas in French.

Manuscripts of Bortnyansky’s many secular works were lost until a
festival of his music in l901, and more have been recently brought to
light. This disc samples some of them. The prince and his wife who
Bortnyansky served at the Russian ‘minor court” played harpsichord and
harp, so the harpsichord concerto and solo sonatas were probably for
them to perform. Both the Sinfonie concertante and the Quintet in C
Major include both harp and fortepiano – the first considered one of
the best pieces of Russian instrumental music before Glinka. It also
was scored for two violins, viola da gamba, bassoon and cello. The
Baroque violins in this ensemble sound rather steely and wiry to me,
and it is certainly not a fault of the audio engineering. 
Bertnyansky’s music is mostly in the style of early Mozart and
enjoyable, but he is no Mozart.  The surrounds are used strictly
for hall ambience.

– John Sunier
 

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