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NIKOLAI MEDTNER
Fairy Tales and Forgotten Melodies



The Nikolai Medtner Fairy Tales and Forgotten Melodies are performed here by a number of fine pianists, several of whom were contemporaries of the composer.  Alexander Goldenweiser, Benno Moiseiwitsch, and Maria Grinberg will give us a sense of the way in which the music was interpreted at the time of composition.  In addition Earl Wild (unfortunately there is a defect in the middle of his recording), Sviatoslav Richter, and Emil Gilels, and to a lesser extent, Leonid Brumberg, were mature pianists for much of Medtner's life and doubtless also knew his style of playing.  The pianists of today will give a different view, often exposing new facets of the music.

One of these, a young Hungarian pianist by the name of Mark Farago, brings Medtner's music to life in a very special way.  He understands Medtner as no one else quite seems to, and the music seems fresh and new and exciting.  In Farago's hands, this music shines on its own, not needing the historical context in which it was created to contribute to its meaning and value.

Nikolai Medtner's wonderful output for solo piano consists primarily of sonatas and pieces he called "Tales" or "Fairy Tales" and "Forgotten Melodies" (prophetic, perhaps?) with no specific formal implication.  A number of the sonatas, he composed 14 of them, are found in collections of these smaller pieces.  There is no consistency of form to the Nikolai Medtner piano sonatas, some are in multiple movements, some in one, and they vary considerably in length.  All are excellent music.

The "Fairy Tales" and other short pieces are all worth hearing, but I would single out the Moiseiwitsch recordings of these as well as the one of the 5th sonata which he made after a visit to Nikolai Medtner to discuss the piece (you might have to give these videos a little time to warm up, they can load very slowly).  They are splendid examples of the way this music should be played.

While some of the more recent performances of the Fairy Tales benefit from a panoramic hindsight of the work of Medtner, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and their time and influences, they can encourage you to hear the music in terms of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin.  This great music on its own terms and should be appreciated as such.



from Eight Mood Pictures, Op 1
Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist

recorded live in 1995


1 Prologue



4




3 Arabesques, Op 7
Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist


1 Idyll in B minor



2 Tragedy Fragment in A minor



3 Tragedy Fragment in G minor




Fairy Tale in C minor, Op 8~1
Marc-André Hamelin (b 1961), Canadian pianist




Fairy Tale in C minor, Op 8~2
Sandro Russo, contemporary Italian pianist




"Dithyramb" in E major, Op 10~2
Leonid Brumberg (b 1925)




"Novella" in C minor, Op 17~2
Alexander Goldenweiser (1875-1961)
recorded in 1955




Fairy Tales, Op 20
1 in B minor - 2 in B minor "Campanella"
Maria Grinberg (1908-1978) Ukranian (Russian Empire) pianist




Fairy Tales, Op 20
1 in B minor - 2 in B minor "Campanella"
Marc-André Hamelin (b 1961), Canadian pianist




Fairy Tales
in B minor, Op 20~1
in F minor, Op 42~1 "Russian Tale"
in G minor, Op 48~2 "Tale of the Elves"
in B minor, Op 20~2 "Campanella"

Mark Farago (b 1976), Hungarian pianist
recorded live in 2007



Lyric Fragments for piano, Op 23
Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist




Fairy Tales
in D minor, Op 51~1
5:33 ➢ in A minor, Op 51~2
8:40 ➢ in E major, Op 26~2
10:00 ➢ B minor, Op 20~1

Daniil Trifonov (b 1991), Russian pianist




Fairy Tales, Op 26
1 in E major - 2 in E major - 3 in F minor
Inese Klotina (b 1979), Latvian pianist




Fairy Tales, Op 26
1 in E major - 2 in E major - 3 in F minor - 4 in F minor
Lilia Ugay (b 1990), Uzbek pianist




"Improvisation" Op 31~1
Yuri Logatchov, contemporary Russian-Israeli pianist
recorded in 2000




Fairy Tale in E minor, Op 34~2
Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963), Ukrainian-born British pianist
Recorded in 1928




Fairy Tales , Op 34~ 2, 3, 4

Pavel Nersessian (b 1964)), Russian pianist
Recorded in 2008




Fairy Tale in E minor, Op 35~4
Boris Berezovsky (b 1969), Russian pianist




Seven Forgotten Melodies, Op 38
Danza Graziosa - Danza Festiva - Canzona Fluviala - Danza Rustica - Canzona Serenata - Danza Silvestra - Alla Reminiscenza

Anastasiya Evsina (b 1987), Russian pianist




Forgotten Melodies, Op 38
Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist


2 "Danza Graziosa" in A major



3 "Danza Festiva" in D major




Forgotten Melodies, Idyll, Fairy Tale
Idyll, Op 7~1
03:30
➢ Forgotten Melody, Op 38~1 'Sonata-reminiscenza'
16:28 ➢ Forgotten Melody, Op 39~2 'Romanza'
20:57 ➢ Fairy Tale, Op 26~3
23:38 ➢ Forgotten Melody, Op 39~4 'Canzone matinata'

Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist




Forgotten Melodies, Op 39
1 Meditazione
05:442 Romanza
10:383 Primavera
14:524 Canzona matinata
19:085 Sonata tragica

Irina Mejoueva, contemporary Russian pianist




Fairy Tale in F minor, Op 42~1 "Russian Tale"
Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963), Ukrainian-born British pianist
recorded in 1944




"Fairy Tale of the Elves" in G minor, Op 48~2
Boris Berezovsky (b 1969), Russian pianist




Fairy Tale in A major, Op 51~3
Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989), Ukranian-born American pianist
recorded in 1963




Six Fairy Tales, Op 51
Geoffrey Tozer (1954-2009), Australian pianist


1 in D minor



2 in A minor



3 in A major



4 in F minor



5 in F minor



6 in G major (Allegro vivace)




Fairy Tale in G major (Allegro vivace), Op 51~6
Boris Berezovsky (b 1969), Russian pianist
recorded in 2012




Fairy Tale in G major (Allegro vivace), Op 51~6
Veronika Ilinskaya, contemporary Russian pianist










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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Or return to the Nikolai Medtner page



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