This is an article published in the Summer 2018 newsletter ….
During the year we have looked at the life and works of composers such as Scarlatti, Elgar, Swiss composers, Handel, Shubert, the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan and Bortniansky.
Bortniansky was a new name for us and we spent a pleasant afternoon listening to pieces from his full and varied range of music. Born in the Ukraine in 1751 he was regarded as one of the most prominent Russian composers of church music producing over 100 religious works, sacred concertos, cantatas and hymns. He spent 10 years in Venice where he wrote a number of instrumental works including operas, symphonies, chamber music and piano sonatas. He is known for the famous hymn ‘How Glorious is our Lord’ which for a long time was the Russian National Anthem. In 1881, Tchaikovsky, at the request of his music publisher, edited and made piano solo arrangements of Bortniansky’s complete church music, which was published in ten volumes. When asked to arrange more of Bortniansky’s choral works in 1883, it is reputed that Tchaikovsky declined complaining that he found the works poor in content and monotonous, which caused him from time to time to sink into profound despair. Tchaikovsky might have been a great musician but the Group thought his opinion of Bortniansky’s music flawed as we found his music most enjoyable and entertaining.
The Group meets on the 4th Friday of the month at 2.00 p.m.