Table of contents of the page
A brief biography of the composer Bortniansky (Dmitro Bortnjanskij, Dmitri Bortnjansky) see below
Text of the book about Bortniansky (by Konstantin Kovalev) - in Russian see below
Some stories about this book, its creation and around publication of the book for the first time
in the USSR (why it was impossible long time for the "Soviet Youth") ›››
All about Bortniansky's famous hymn "Kol slaven" ("How Glorious is Our Lord") see below
Some articles about Bortniansky (and his epoch) by Konstantin Kovalev - in English ›››
* * *
"Bortniansky": book in a series "Life of outstanding people"
A biography of one of the most prominent of Russian composers of church music. This is a readable account of the composer's life, based on scholarly research but intended for the general reader as well as those who are already connoisseurs of Russian choral music.
Russian church music has always aroused
interest in the West, and in the nineteenth century Russian choirs travelled
all over Europe and America. But until recently, comparatively little has
been known of the music of the eighteenth century. The most notable composer
of this period was Dmitry Bortniansky (1751-1825), the author of a
well-known "Liturgy", of the "All Night Vigil" and of the famous hymn "How
Glorious is Our Lord" which was for a long time the Russian national anthem,
played the chimes of the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower.
The author many years worked in domestic, foreign archives and libraries for collecting materials for a spelling of the books about brilliant Russian composer Dmitry Bortniansky, about starting point and development of Russian musical culture of 18th centuries. These books were published in different time. The book about Bortniansky and his epoch was published in a series "Life of outstanding people" (ZSL) by two editions (mass editions), translated into on foreign languages (unfortunately it’s not translated yet to the English). Now it is one of the main and capital works about the composer. Life of Russian of 18th century composer introducing Bortniansky and the achievement. Hiding in the shade of the masters of 19 centuries, it approaches to the real image of the musician who is not known excessively, searches the music circumstance of that time and the source of the Russian theology. However even earlier the manuscript ready for printing some years was not resolved for the edition in series ZSL (a special mass series for the Soviet youth). Composer’s creativity was considered dangerous to the Soviet readers because was too "spiritual". Even well-known spiritual church chanting of the composer the children's chorus sang with new "secular" words (not about the God, and about "the clear sun in the sky...", and so on).
On this page the information on Bortniansky and around his name, also a history of preparation and issue of the K.Kovalev’s book and its subsequent destiny is collected.
Text of the book: "Bortniansky" (by Konstantin Kovalev)
Russian - HERE
Reproduced under edition:
Konstantin Kovalev. Bortniansky. Second edition. - Moskva: "Molodaia gvardiia"; "Russkoe slovo", 1998. - 271 p., illustr. - [Zhizn zamechatelnykh liudei (Life of outstanding people). Vol. 748 (701)]. ISBN 5-235-02308-0.
See also: Konstantin Kovalev. Bortniansky. First edition. - Moskva: "Molodaia gvardiia", 1989. - 304 p., illustr. - [Zhizn zamechatelnykh liudei (Life of outstanding people). Vol. 748 (701)]. ISBN 5-235-00681-X.
A brief biography of the Bortniansky (Bortnjanskij, Bortnjansky)
Bortniansky Dmitry Stepanovich (1751-1825)
Russian composer, studied with Galuppi in St. Petersburg and Venice. After producing two operas in Italy, in 1779 he returned to St. Petersburg. There, in 1796, he became director of the Imperial Chapel Choir, for which he set a high standard. He wrote mainly church music, combining Russian church style and Italian style. In 1881, Tchaikovsky completed an edition of his church music, published in 10 volumes.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.
A wealth of glorious treasures, a magnificent bounty was left to us by the
exuberantly generous, incredibly talented Russian musical 18th century.
St.Petersburg… The glittering capital of 18th century Russia… The first
Russian operas, small, but priceless gems – “Russian songs”, published in
St.Petersburg in the mid-18th century, destined to speedily enchant all of
Europe with their artless beauty, the birth of powerful instrumental music –
a sensation, worthy of being entered into the Guinness Book of Records! The
18th century became an acknowledged summit in the evolution of Russian
church music, the result of eight centuries of existence of this most
ancient music genre in Russia.
The Voice of Russia
All about Bortniansky's hymn "Kol slaven" ("How Glorious is Our Lord")
The well-known hymn - "Êîëü ñëàâåí" ("Kol slaven" or "How Glorious is Our Lord in Zion"; considered up to now as the Hymn of Russian emigration) was written by the composer with the text of poet M.M. Heraskov - at the end of XVIII century (version - 1822). Printed notes of this hymn are known.
Some time was considered as formal national hymn of the Russian state (served for a considerable time as the national anthem of the Russian empire). It was frequently executed in public places and at assemblies.
The hymn also was very popular outside Russia.
In XX century the Hymn was
executed with choruses of Russian emigration. Sometimes the melody sounded
in performance of orchestras. Record of Russian emigrants (the rare
edition), execution of the Hymn by an orchestra under A.A.
Skrjabin's management and under protection of Association
Russian Imperial Horse Guards and Horse Artillery in Paris (1950-th) is
Original German text:
Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe,
the October revolution in 1917, the tune was played by the Moscow Kremlin
carillon (in bell tower) every day at 15 o'clock and at 21 o'clock exactly.
(The text is written for publication)
• • •
of the printed libretto of Bortniansky's opera "Creonte".
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