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Track(s) taken from CDA67491/2

Skazki, Op 9

composer

Hamish Milne (piano)
Recording details: October 2006
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: April 2007
Total duration: 8 minutes 13 seconds
 
1
Allegro inquieto  [3'34]
2
3

Reviews

'They're among [Medtner's] characteristic utterances and include many of his finest inspirations. Some are simply masterpieces … it's excellent to have a complete collection from Hamish Milne, one of our leading Medtnerians, as a welcome counterpart to Marc-André Hamelin's complete Sonatas, also on Hyperion. Milne is in complete technical and expressive command, bringing to them the fleetness and rhythmic spring, the varied character and wit, that all Medtner's music needs. He crests the summists of their virtuosity with such ease one can concentrate throughout on the music, not the pianist, as Medtner intended … he expounds the composer's thought with complete identification and sympathy' (BBC Music Magazine)

'From the very first of these skazki ('tales'), I was hooked. Much of this is to do with the advocacy of Hamish Milne, who has already recorded some of this repertoire for the CRD label, is regarded by many as the composer's greatest living champion and, as his booklet note emphasises, is determined to see through the prejudice that has dogged the composer's reputation since his death in 1951. His playing has the muscularity to cope with Medtner's often challenging rhythmic writing—listen to the bracing 'Dance Tale' from Op 48 of 1925—while this vigour is counterbalanced by a sensitivity to the music's poetry and lyricism. Indeed, his sympathy for Medtner's ever-amenable style—echoing Rachmaninov and Debussy at times—ensures that the ear is constantly engaged' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This is a major, important release … Milne has been recording Medtner for quite some time now … and his detailed and very well written booklet notes are on the same high level as his pianism … no-one plays these musical Tales as well as Hamish Milne' (American Record Guide)

'Hamish Milne's performances maintain a high level of consistency, presenting Medtner's ideas with great clarity. His playing has a crispness and rhythmic vitality that serves the music well. Medtner's various moods are all capably handled … an impressive achievement and eminently recommendable recording … recorded sound is up to Hyperion's usual excellent standards' (International Record Review)

'The 38 Skazki are the most important piano miniatures that Nikolay Medtner composed … there's something discursive and fantastical about these pieces; intensely conservative, Medtner's musical language was always rooted in late 19th-century romanticism, the world that his contemporary and friend Rachmaninov fashioned into a distinctive personal style, but which Medtner preserved almost intact. Yet his piano writing is vivid and superbly idiomatic; there are wonderful things in these Skazki, which are inspired by a wide range of literary sources, from Goethe and Shakespeare (King Lear and Hamlet) to Pushkin and Russian folklore … Hamish Milne is a wonderful guide to this world—his performances are both technically outstanding and musically penetrating' (The Guardian)

'Each one a unique gem of beguiling invention. Notoriously difficult to bring off, Hamish Milne makes some of the most exacting pages in the repertoire sound glorious' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Medtner was sometimes chided for lacking focus, but there's nothing diffuse in these clean-cut and formally lucid readings, which manage to present a wealth of boldly delineated detail without ever obscuring the music's overall trajectories. We're certainly unlikely to get a better complete run of the Skazki in the foreseeable future. Strongly recommended … a revelation: music of fantasy and individuality, and played by Milne with devotion' (Fanfare, USA)

'Milne has recorded many epoch-making Medtner discs and his new collection of the complete Skazki stands out as his finest to date. The richness of ideas and the overwhelming range of expression is Medtner at his finest. Milne eclipses Geoffrey Tozer in his otherwise brilliant Chandos recording and I cannot think of a pianist today who can better this' (Pianist)

'Milne's is a sincere and personal journey, as Medtner's undoubtedly was; the sound is fresh and unfussy, and Milne's own notes perspicuous and heartfelt' (International Piano)

'Completed by flawless recording quality—immediate, vivid and truthful, but never oppressive (dynamics are faithfully captured)—this is a quite outstanding and revelatory issue' (ClassicalSource.com)
There is no literary clue as to what prompts the desperate anxiety of Op 9 No 1. Periodically, spiteful staccato interruptions with a rhythmically dislocated counterpoint seem more a prophetic tribute than a repudiation of his future nemesis Prokofiev. The second Skazka in this opus—alla serenata, Spanish with a Russian accent—has a restless air on account of its swaying accompaniment and displaced melodic accentuation, whereas the third, a brief pastoral idyll—Allegretto vivo, odoroso (odoroso meaning ‘fragrant’)—is explained by Medtner’s admission that he was inspired here by Goethe’s sentimental lyric Gleich und Gleich:

Ein Blumenglöckchen
Vom Boden hervor
War früh gesprosset
In lieblichem Flor;
Da kam ein Bienchen
Und naschte fein:—
Die müssen wohl beide
Für einander sein.
A little bud
with a lovely blossom
sprang early
from the ground;
along came a little bee
and sipped delicately:—
they must have been made
for each other.

from notes by Hamish Milne © 2007

Aucun indice littéraire ne vient éclairer l’angoisse désespérée de l’op. 9 no 1. Périodiquement, de malveillantes interruptions staccato, avec un contrepoint rythmiquement disloqué, semblent, par rapport à ce Prokofiev dont Medtner se vengera, tenir plus de l’hommage prophétique que de la répudiation. Le second Skazka de cet opus—alla serenata, espagnol avec un accent russe—paraît agité de par son accompagnement ondoyant et son accentuation mélodique déplacée; pour le troisième, une brève idylle pastorale—Allegretto vivo, odoroso («parfumé»)—, Medtner reconnut avoir été inspiré par le poème sentimental Gleich und Gleich, de Goethe:

Ein Blumenglöckchen
Vom Boden hervor
War früh gesprosset
In lieblichem Flor;
Da kam ein Bienchen
Und naschte fein:—
Die müssen wohl beide
Für einander sein.
Une clochette
Sortie de terre
Avait tôt éclos
En une charmante floraison;
Vint alors une petite abeille
Et elle la grignota délicatement:—
Elles devaient être faites
L’une pour l’autre.

extrait des notes rédigées par Hamish Milne © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Für die verzweifelte Angst in op. 9, Nr. 1 gibt es keine Hinweise für ein literarisches Vorbild. Regelmäßige boshafte Staccato-Unterbrechungen mit einem rhythmisch versetzten Kontrapunkt erscheinen eher als ein prophetisches Tribut an seine künftige Nemesis Prokofjew als eine Zurückweisung. Die zweite Skazka in diesem Opus—alla serenata, spanisch mit russischem Akzent—mit ihrer taumelnden Begleitung und versetzter melodischer Akzentuierung besitzt eine rastlose Aura, während die dritte, ein kurzes pastorales Idyll—Allegretto vivo, odoroso (odoroso bedeutet „duftend“)—lässt sich durch Medtners Eingeständnis erklären, dass er hier durch Goethes sentimentales Gedicht Gleich und Gleich inspiriert wurde:

Ein Blumenglöckchen
Vom Boden hervor
War früh gesprosset
In lieblichem Flor;
Da kam ein Bienchen
Und naschte fein:—
Die müssen wohl beide
Für einander sein.

aus dem Begleittext von Hamish Milne © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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