Revival of Bortkiewicz’ music

Revival of Bortkiewicz’ music


In 1919, in a country torn by both civil war and and the aftermath of the First World War, Sergei Bortkiewicz and his wife Elisabeth fled the horrors engulfing their homeland to seek a new life in Western Europe. After witnessing the death of family and friends, they left Ukraine, first for Turkey and later to settle in Austria. The composer was to remain in exile until his death in 1952 but his spirit and thoughts remained purely Ukrainian and this was reflected throughout all his music culminating in his Symphony no. 1 opus 52 which the composer dedicated to the people of his homeland.


Fifty years after the composer’s death his music was brought back to Ukraine. Return to Ukraine was presented in Chernihiv on May 15, 2002 and at the National Philharmonic Society in Kyiv the next day. Chernihiv “Philharmonia” Symphony Orchestra performed Bortkiewicz’ Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Major (op. 16) and Symphony No. 1 in D Major (Aus meiner Heimat).



Mykola Sukach works tirelessly to rekindle interest in the composer and seeks wherever possible to enthusiastically promote his music. It is Mykola Sukach life’s work to make the music of Bortkiewicz famous in Ukraine and all over the world and dreams of recording this music with his own orchestra. His orchestra have worked very hard to learn and perform new works and bring back to the Ukrainian people a composer most had never heard of – but which many are now enjoying and appreciating his beautiful music. To the people of Ukraine, Bortkiewicz is as much part of their culture and history as composers like Liatioshinsky, Kosenko or Lysenko. As Mykola Sukach said: “Bortkevych has his roots in Ukraine, his music is permeated with Ukrainian themes, profound intellectuality, and culture. This music deserves it to become standard repertoire in our music programs.”


2 thoughts on “Revival of Bortkiewicz’ music

  1. Also, it is very good to see so many of Sukach’s recording efforts on Youtube. Although I did notice that he still plays the First Symphony without God Save the Tsar in the coda. Does anyone know whether that is out of political motives, or that he is just using a Soviet-era score?


    • Ilja, if the “Soviet-era” score was printed not in USSR why should they cut the coda? And printing the score of Bortkiewicz’ symphony in USSR is unbelievable…


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