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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: 23 minutes 40 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)

Sonata in B flat minor 'Sonata Romantica', Op 53 No 1
1930, Paris; first performed by Medtner in Glasgow in 1931

Scherzo: Allegro  [4'27]

Other recordings available for download
Steven Osborne (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
One of Medtner’s projects that remained unrealized at the time of his death was to record the 'Sonata Romantica', Op 53 No 1. Composed in 1930 in Paris, and first performed by the composer in Glasgow the following year, this 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. Cast in B flat minor—a favourite key for Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Balakirev, as well as being adopted by Rachmaninov for his second sonata—the opening Romanza soon engulfs its lyrical impulse in troubled swirls of figuration (the score is peppered with agitato and tranquillo markings). Following the pattern of Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’ Sonata, the scherzo then goes another step flatwards, to E flat minor. Here the commonest marking is leggiero (lightly), offsetting the pesante opening and the tumultuoso climax. The Meditazione is no less exacting in its demands—espressivo ma semplice, legatissimo, sordamente (muted) as well as una corda all appear in the first bar. The main character of this slow movement is the gentle lilt imparted by dotted rhythmic figures, making it a close cousin to the second theme in the first movement of Rachmaninov’s second sonata. If Medtner’s finale at first seems rather less personal in its thematic invention, that is partly because its strategy will be to combine its own material with recalls of the previous movements, in an almost obsessive-compulsive tying together of threads.

from notes by David Fanning © 2014

Other albums featuring this work
'Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas' (CDA67936)
Medtner & Rachmaninov: Piano Sonatas
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00ALAC 24-bit 88.2 kHz £12.00 CDA67936  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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