DMITRY STEPANOVICH BORTNIANSKY (1751 - 1825)
Dmitry Bortniansky was born in Ukraine, grew up singing in the choir of the Russian Imperial court, studied composition in Italy, and later became the first native Slavic Kapellmeister to the czars. He was, by all accounts, a consummate choral director and highly successful composer. During his directorship of the Imperial Court Chapel, the choir performed not only his music and that of his contemporaries in St Petersburg but also Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, and, most notably, the world première of Beethoven’s virtuosic Missa solemnis. Because his singers were trained to sing a cappella motets, large-scale choral-orchestral works, and opera alike, Bortniansky’s choir had a varied sound unique to all of Europe. In his own music for the Orthodox church, which forbids the use of instruments, Bortniansky incorporated a symphonic approach to the a cappella choral medium. The flexible grouping and alternation of solo and tutti voices that he developed in the choral concertos influenced the works of all later Slavic composers.
© Naxos Rights US, Inc. — Marika Kuzma (BORTNIANSKY Sacred Concertos Nos 1, 6, 9, 15, 18, 21, 27, 32)