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 Dmytro Bortniansky

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Dmytro Bortniansky

  • Birth 28 Oct 1751
  • Death 10 Oct 1825
  • Burial Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia
  • Memorial ID 22202508

Composer, Conductor. Considered Russia's first important Classical musician. His fame today rests on his liturgical compositions. Dmytro Stepanovic Bortniansky was born in what is now Hlukhiv, Ukraine. At age seven he joined the Imperial Chapel Choir in St. Petersburg, then under the direction of Baldassare Galuppi, who accepted him as a private pupil. He showed such promise that in 1769 Galuppi persuaded Empress Catherine II to sponsor his further education abroad. Bortniansky spent 10 years in Italy, where he immersed himself in European Baroque and Renaissance music and wrote his first significant works, the operas "Creonte" (1776), "Alicide" (1778), and "Quinto Fabio" (1779). Back in St. Petersburg he dazzled audiences with his music dramas "Le Faucon" (1786), "Don Carlos" (1786) and "Le Fils-Rival ou La Moderne Stratonice" (1787), set to French texts and composed in the latest Italian manner. In 1796 he was appointed director of the Imperial Chapel Choir, the first Russian subject to hold that important post, and built it into one of the greatest on the continent; by 1824 Beethoven could entrust the world premiere of his great "Missa Solemnis" to Bortniansky's ensemble by reputation alone. The bulk of his own 100 religious pieces were created for this choir. Chief among them are 45 Sacred Concertos, which blend Western techniques and Russian Orthodox idioms with an inherently theatrical style. They include "I Lift Up My Eyes to the Mountains", "With My Voice I Cried Out to the Lord", and "Lord, Make Me to Know My End". The melody of his "Tantum Ergo" took on a life of its own, being adapted as a Slavic Christmas carol ("Kol slaven") and a German military march. In 1882 Tchaikovsky edited a 10-volume edition of his sacred works. Bortniansky's reputation in his homeland suffered under Communism (because of his international and religious associations), but came back with a vengeance after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, especially in the newly-independent Ukraine.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 14 Oct 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22202508
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dmytro Bortniansky (28 Oct 1751–10 Oct 1825), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22202508, citing Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .