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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67221/4
Recording details: August 1996
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: September 1998
Total duration: 39 minutes 19 seconds

'A set that does deserve celebration. Indispensable to all lovers of Medtner's subtle and enriching art … 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)

'Hamelin and everyone involved with the production of this release deserves the highest praise' (Fanfare, USA)

'I was breathless with admiration' (Hi-Fi News)

'Merci de contribuer aussi magistralement à la redécouverte de Nikolai Medtner' (Répertoire, France)

'Ce coffret est un monument de l'histoire du disque, comme il n'en pas eu beaucoup depuis une décennie' (The Samedi Culturel)

Vergessene Weisen 'Forgotten Melodies', Op 38
composer
June 1919 to October 1920

Danza silvestra  [3'40]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The eight pieces of the first cycle of Forgotten Melodies are given a certain coherence as a group by a number of thematic cross-references, particularly to the cycle’s motto, the melodically memorable opening paragraph of the single-movement Sonata-Reminiscenza. The ‘recollection’ of the work’s title, perhaps Medtner’s reflection on his own difficult life and imminent departure from his homeland, is a melancholy one. After the exposition of the sonata’s two main subjects, rounded off by the motto theme, the development intensifies the mood of haunted anguish, culminating in two arpeggiate cries of despair. The prevailing gloom is only briefly lifted by a brighter new theme unexpectedly introduced into the recapitulation, after which the motto of recollection is heard once more, bringing the work to a pensive close.

Two dances follow: Danza graziosa, in which the high spirits of the syncopated dance melody are unexpectedly dampened by the stern and very Russian theme of the middle section; and the smiling Danza festiva, said to be an impression of a village festival and possibly inspired by a painting by the Flemish artist Teniers. The same bells that ring out in the opening bars also launch the fourth piece, the plaintive Canzona fluviala (‘River song’), in which there is no obvious connection between content and title beyond the flowing accompaniment.

Danza rustica, with its simple melody over a hypnotic drone bass, seems to evoke a country scene on a lazy summer’s day, while Canzona serenata (‘Night song’), opened and closed by the motto of recollection, is a plangent song, whose vaguely Latin air and consecutive thirds in the harmonization of its melody make it a distant cousin of Mendelssohn’s Venetian gondola song.

In the penultimate piece, Danza silvestra (‘Forest dance’), the gnarled syncopation of the first theme, perhaps conjuring up a picture of malevolent wood-sprites, gives way in the central section to a lyrical dance. At the end, another passing reference to the motto of recollection leads without a pause to Alla Reminiscenza, which rounds off the cycle in a mood of calm detachment with the theme with which it began, now at last in the major key.

from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998

Other albums featuring this work
'Medtner: Forgotten Melodies' (CDA67578)
Medtner: Forgotten Melodies
'Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner' (CDH55315)
Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55315  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall' (CDA66765)
Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall
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