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Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951)

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Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos

Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos


Medtner:

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50

Rachmaninov:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30


A typical release—in so far as there can ever be such a thing—from Marc-André Hamelin, combining a stimulating, unexpected coupling; brilliant new light shed on the familiar; and pianism of the very highest calibre. Not to be missed.

“Rachmaninov-lite [the Medtner] may be, but it is certainly worth investigating when played as well as this.” The Guardian, 22nd March 2017 ****

“…no pianist past or present understands Medtner's idiom better…Obviously in vastly superior sound, this is a recording which stands beside the composer's classic account.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2017

“Expectations are inevitably high as Marc-Andre Hamelin, who marries phenomenal technique with sensitive musicianship, joins Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonia Orchestra, now truly a world-class ensemble….Hamelin’s playing soon takes flight, and the Concerto works its charm, sparkling with virtuosity and – particularly in the finale – with wit. It also receives the most polished orchestral playing it has enjoyed on any recording.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ****

“Hamelin and Jurowski offer imposing but unsentimentalised Rachmaninov and persuasive advocacy for Medtner's Second Concerto, which appears to best advantage in this lean, rhythmically vital performance thanks to the unflagging momentum generated by soloist and conductor alike.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, April 2017

“Hamelin’s performance [of the Rachmaninov is] notable for its breadth and nobility…in the Medtner, the pianist surpasses alternative recordings by Demidenko and even by the composer himself, taking the composer’s outwardly discursive idiom by the scruff of the neck yet never at the expense of musical quality.” International Piano, July 2017 *****

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Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas

Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas


Medtner:

Skazki (Fairy Tales), Op. 20

Sonata romantica in B flat minor, Op. 53 No. 1

Rachmaninov:

Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42

Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36


Steven Osborne has become increasingly admired for his performances and recordings of Russian Romantic piano music, playing with a remarkable level of authority and a rare combination of technical ease, tonal lustre and idiomatic identification. Here he presents an impressive selection from two masters who lived and worked contemporaneously. Both were renowned concert pianists, and both wrote superbly for their instrument. Yet their reputations could not be more divergent. Rachmaninov utterly loved; Medtner only now becoming rehabilitated.

Medtner’s ‘Sonata Romantica’ was composed in 1930 in Paris, and first performed by the composer in Glasgow the following year. It was the twelfth of his fourteen piano sonatas. Not only its title but also the expressive content of its four movements, played without a break, make it virtually a manifesto for Medtner’s art. Apart from sonatas, Medtner’s favourite genre was the Skazka (‘Tale’). It has been pointed out that the usual English translation of ‘Fairy tale’ does not do justice to the power and depth of many of these pieces, some of which almost approach Chopin’s Ballades in their expressive scope. The two Skazki of Op 20 recorded here were composed in 1909.

In a recent performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No 2, a great Romantic showpiece, Osborne was described by the Washington Post as ‘a master of momentum and color, a wielder of power and a sure navigator through huge landscapes: his Rachmaninov was both coherent and daringly free’.

“[The Sonata Romantica is] not easy to love (unlike his short, charming Skazki which opens this disc) but Steven Osborne puts a persuasive case. In contrast, Rachmaninov's Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, majestic and lyrical, is immediately rewarding... and Osborne's imaginative playing makes [the Variations on a theme of Corelli] seem only too short.” The Observer, 1st September 2014 ****

“Medtner’s harmonic palette and ways of working out the material are his alone. Osborne’s performance is a true wonder of power, clear definition, sensibility and structural sureness. His ability to immerse himself in Medtner’s musical language is outstanding.” The Telegraph, 15th September 2014 *****

“Osborne has made his performing edition out of love for the [Second Sonata], one of his favourite pieces to play, and has created a fantastically thrilling and ultimately enjoyable version of which one feels that Rachmaninov would have thoroughly approved...While the music speaks for itself Osborne plays everything on the disc magnificently” MusicWeb International, 10th October 2014

“What comes across most winningly is the ebb and flow of the work: the more inward passages are allowed to breathe; the extrovert ones are absolutely fiery. It's not a work that could ever be summed up by a single interpretation...But this is another terrific addition to the shelves, and if it helps the continuing rediscovery of Medtner, so much the better.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Instrumental Choice - November 2014

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Medtner: Arabesques, Dithyrambs, Elegies

Medtner: Arabesques, Dithyrambs, Elegies

and other short piano works


Medtner:

Stimmungsbilder Op.1

Improvisations (3), Op. 2

Morceaux (4), Op. 4

3 Arabesques, Op. 7

Dithyramben (3), Op. 10

Three Novelles, Op.17

Four Lyric Fragments, Op. 23

Etude in C minor

Morceaux Op.31

Three Hymns in Praise of Toil, Op. 49

Theme and Variations, Op. 55

Two Elegies, Op. 59


Hamish Milne (piano)

‘Write one such piece and one can die.’ So pronounced Rachmaninov, no less, after hearing the second of Medtner’s Arabesques. This is just one of the delights in the enticing selection box offered by Hamish Milne, a long-standing and ardent champion of Medtner’s music. These two discs explore the many miniatures—in size though not in ambition—that he wrote throughout his life. The very opening of his Mood Pictures shows a remarkable sophistication for a man barely out of his teens, while the magnificent pair of Elegies forms a fitting conclusion to a set that reminds us that it is sometimes among the ‘miscellaneous’ works that the greatest gems are to be found.

“As Milne's forthright, utterly secure performances make clear, much of this is strongly characterised music...Milne is a wonderfully persuasive advocate for this distinctive and generally underrated music” The Guardian, 14th March 2012 ****

“Here is a declaration of musical faith if ever there was one. No pianist has done more for Medtner's reputation than Hamish Milne...[His] playing will surely make Russians, in particular, listen in awe to such magisterial command and poetic empathy...Milne writes his own superb notes, and this is surely in the running for instrumental issue of the year.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

“The humorous Dithyramb No. 2 is surely a masterpiece, and Milne happily strides its Olympian terrain with unforced richness of tone. Medtner's expressive range grows on the second disc...The official set of Op. 55 is perhaps the most conventional work here, though Milne's articulates that as beautifully as the rest.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2012

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Medtner: Forgotten Melodies

Medtner: Forgotten Melodies


Medtner:

Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38

Forgotten Melodies, Op. 39

Skazki (Fairy Tales), Op. 8


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Medtner - The Complete Piano Sonatas

Medtner - The Complete Piano Sonatas


Medtner:

Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 5

Skazki (Fairy Tales), Op. 8

Sonata Triad, Op. 11

Piano Sonata in G minor, Op. 22

Fairy Tale Sonata (Sonate-Conte), Op. 25 No. 1

Sonata in E minor, Op. 25 No. 2 'Night Wind'

Sonata-Ballada in F sharp major, Op. 27

Piano Sonata in A minor, Op. 30

Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38

Forgotten Melodies, Op. 39

Sonata romantica in B flat minor, Op. 53 No. 1

Sonata minacciosa in F minor, Op. 53 No. 2

Sonate-Idylle, Op. 56


“Superlatively played and presented. Such writing positively demands a transcendental technique and a burning poetic commitment, a magical amalgam achieved with delicacy, drama and finesse by Marc-André Hamelin” Gramophone Magazine

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Medtner: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 3

Medtner: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 3


Medtner:

Violin Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 21

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E minor ‘Epica', Op. 57


Chloë Hanslip (violin) & Igor Tchetuev (piano)

The great composer of piano music Nikolai Medtner also wrote three violin sonatas (and other works for the instrument), two of which are recorded here.

The ‘Sonata Epica’ is, as its title suggests, one of the most ambitious and colossal works in the repertoire, and without doubt one of the most important violin sonatas of the twentieth century. It draws deeply on Medtner’s Russian heritage, with intimations of orthodox chant and folk dances. Its continual syncopations show why Medtner was fleetingly regarded as one of Russia’s most progressive composers during the first decade of the twentieth century, yet also contrast with an essentially conservative harmonic idiom. The Sonata No 1 is more understated and reminiscent of Fauré.

Chloë Hanslip has proved herself an eloquent performer of the lesser-known Romantic violin repertoire, displaying rare commitment and resonant vitality.

“Chloe Hanslip and Igor Tchetuev certainly have the measure of these voluble and passionate yet always disciplined works, turning in performances of the first rank. The bubbling rhythmic liveliness of Hanslip's playing in the fast movements never compromises beauty of tone...this is a very competitive new recordings of both [works].” BBC Music Magazine, October 2013 ****

“Hanslip and Tchetuev are impressive as interpreters: his fine touch and beautifully balanced chordal playing is matched by her lovely tone and phrasing - her singing legato lines are an especial delight.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2013

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Demidenko plays Medtner

Demidenko plays Medtner


Medtner:

Canzona Serenata in F minor, Op. 38 No. 6

Skazka (Fairy Tale), Op. 20 No 1 in B flat minor

Sonata Elegia In D Minor Op. 11 No. 2

Canzona matinata in G major, Op. 39 No. 4

Sonata tragica in C minor, Op. 39 No. 5

Theme and Variations, Op. 55

Dithyramb in E flat major, Op. 10 No. 2

Sonata reminiscenza in A minor, Op. 38 No. 1


“I must be careful not to make this sound like an indiscriminate rave review, but what do you do when a disc of this calibre drops through your letterbox? An exceptionally fine disc indeed” Gramophone Magazine

“Few can touch this stunning Demidenko programme, excellently recorded and featuring playing of the highest order” BBC Music Magazine

“More of the masterful pianism we have come to expect from this artist … delectable sounds and exquisite sensibility” Classic CD

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Pushkin Romances

Pushkin Romances


Cui:

The Fountain Statue at Tsarskoye Selo, Op. 57 No. 17

Tï I vï, Op. 57, No. 11

Zhelaniye, Op. 57, No. 25 (Desire)

Dargomïzhsky:

K druz’yam (To his friends)

Yunosha I deva (A girl and a boy)

Glinka:

Priznaniye (Confession)

Adel’

Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne (Do not sing to me, fair maiden)

Ya pomnyu chudnoye mgnoven’ye (I remember the wonderful moment)

I am here, Inezilla

Medtner:

Muza, Op. 29, No. 1

Roza, Op. 29, No. 6

Lish’ rozï uvyadayut, Op. 36, No. 3

Vals, Op. 32, No. 5

Mussorgsky:

Noch'

Strekotun’ya beloboka (The magpie)

Rachmaninov:

The Muse, Op. 34 No. 1

Sing not, O lovely one (Ne poi, krasavitsa, pri mne), Op. 4 No. 4

Rimsky Korsakov:

The clouds begin to scatter (Elegy), Op. 42 No. 3

Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne, Op. 51, No. 2 (Do not sing to me, fair maiden)

Chto v imeni tebe moyem? Op. 4, No. 1 (What does my name mean to you?)

On the hills of Georgia, Op. 3 No. 4

Moy golos dlya tebya, Op. 7, No. 1 (My voice, calling you)

Ekho, Op. 45, No. 1

Tï I vï, Op. 27, No. 3

Rubinstein:

Pevets, Op. 36, No. 7

Romance in E flat major, Op. 44 No. 1 'The Night'

Shostakovich:

Yunoshu, gorku rïdaya, Op. 46, No. 2 (A girl, sobbing bitterly)

Tchaikovsky:

Pesn' Zemfiri (Zemfira's song)

with Sergey Rybin

The Nightingale Op. 60 No. 4

Vlasov:

The Fountain of Bakhchisarai


Joan Rodgers (soprano) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Few Russian composers could resist setting verses by Alexander Pushkin, and his influence on the development of Russian music was indirectly as great as his influence on literature. This collection demonstrates the compelling power of the poet, and the beauty of the music he inspired. It is performed by Joan Rodgers, herself an acknowledged master of Russian repertoire, and Malcolm Martineau.

“To the gentlest songs… Rodgers brings as much gracefulness and subtlety as ever, and timbre as exquisitely fragrant and fine-grained.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2009 ****

“A treasure trove of Russian song that will reward repeated listening for years.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2009

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Russian Images - 1

Russian Images - 1


Arensky:

Autumn, Op. 27 No. 2

Balakirev:

Embrace, kiss

Borodin:

Dlya beregov otchizni dal'noy (For the Shores of thy Far Native Land)

Cui:

The Fountain Statue at Tsarskoye Selo, Op. 57 No. 17

Dargomïzhsky:

The Night Zephyr

The Miller

I remember

Glinka:

How sweet it is for me to be with you

Bolero (No 3 of A Farewell to St Petersburg)

Grechaninov:

The Prisoner, Op. 20 No. 4

Lyatoshinsky:

Dawn, Op. 37 No. 1

Supreme Happiness, Op. 37 No. 2

Medtner:

I have outlived my aspirations, Op. 3 No. 2

Spring Solace, Op. 28 No. 5

Mussorgsky:

Forgotten

Mephistopheles' Song of the Flea

Rachmaninov:

She is as beautiful as midday, Op.14 No. 9

It is time, Op. 14 No. 12

Rimsky Korsakov:

On the hills of Georgia, Op. 3 No. 4

Tchaikovsky:

Blagoslavlyayu vas, lesa (I Bless you, Forests), Op. 47 No. 5

Sred' shumnogo bala (Amid the din of the ball), Op. 38 No. 3

Serenada Don-Zhuana (Don Juan's Serenade), Op. 38 No. 1


Vassily Savenko (bass-baritone), Alexander Blok (piano)

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Russian Images - 2

Russian Images - 2


Arensky:

A Dream (Snovideniye) (Pushkin) Op. 17 No. 3

I have seen death (Ya videl smert') (Pushkin) Op. 27 No. 6

Was it so long ago to enchanting strains (Davno l' pod volshebnye zvuki) (Fet) Op. 49 No. 5

Glinka:

Travel Song (Poputnaya pesnya) (Kukol'nik) from A Farewell to St Petersburg 1840

Stanzas (Stansy) (Kukol'nik) 1837

Doubt (Somneniye)

Medtner:

Twilight (Sumerki) (Tyutchev) Op. 24 No. 4

Unexpected Rain (Nezhdannyi dozhd') (Fet) Op. 28 No. 1

Invocation (The Call) (Zaklinaniye) (Pushkin) Op. 29 No. 7

Mosolov:

Three Romances (Pushkin) 1949

Rachmaninov:

Sing not, O lovely one (Ne poi, krasavitsa, pri mne), Op. 4 No. 4

The Muse, Op. 34 No. 1

Arion, Op. 34 No. 5

Taneyev, S:

Dense Forests (Lesa dremuchiye) (after Baudelaire) Op. 26 No. 5

And the foes stood trembling (I drognuli vragi) (after Heredia) Op. 26 No. 8

Winter Journey (Zimni put') (Polonsky) Op. 32 No. 4

Tchaikovsky:

A tear trembles, Op. 6 No. 4

Moy geni, moy angel, moy drug (My genius, my angel, my friend)

Nochy bezumnïye, Op. 60 No. 6


Vassily Savenko (bass-baritone), Alexander Blok (piano)

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