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Medtner Concertos & piano pieces








Klavierkonzerte Nr.1 & 2, 8 Mood Pictures op.1 (Ausz.); Funeral March op.31 Nr.2; Song on the River op.38 Nr.4; Russian Fairy Tale op.42 Nr.1; Sonata-Reminiscence op.38 Nr.1; Sonata-Elegy op.11 Nr.2; Graceful Dance op.38 Nr.2 - T. Nikolaeva, Abram Schatzkes, USSR State Academic SO, E. Svetlanov

MEL CD 1001927

A valuable and interesting re-release of two Melodia discs, nicely packaged in double CD form. Best is No. 1, with Nikolaeva a commanding soloist in Medtner's 1st Concerto and with Svetlanov's splendid conducting (to have been expected). But I did not know that Evgeni Svetlanov was also a renowned pianist or indeed that he was a composer too...

The remastering of these 1959 & early 1980s recordings seems well done - only the second concerto is a bit spiky and harsh (Adam Schazkes, piano), but you may have another version of that one - recommmended: Concertos 2 & 3 The Romantic piano Concerto - 2 Demidenko/BBCSSO/Maksymiuk Hyperion CDA66580, which has excellent notes by Ates Orga and the pianist.

This close friend of Rachmaninoff's was an equally good and interesting composer, featured extensively in Musical Pointers.

I had been well aware of Medtner (1879-1951) since my schooldays: I was taught his early "Ein Idyll" at boarding school, from where my piano teacher later took a group of us up to London to hear the great composer/pianist play his own 3rd concerto and Beethoven's 4th (with an unforgettable Medtner cadenza) at the Royal Albert Hall. Later I acquired 78s of his music in the munificent Medtner Society recordings sponsored by the Maharajah of Mysore.

Nikolai Medtner used to be spoken of as "the Russian Brahms" and eschewed modernism. His music is completely individual and all the pieces reward hearing more than once.

Peter Grahame Woolf

A good background article `PGW