Hyperion Records

Sonata in F minor, Op 5
composer
1901 to 1903

Recordings
'Medtner: The Complete Piano Sonatas' (CDA67221/4)
Medtner: The Complete Piano Sonatas
MP3 £23.99FLAC £23.99ALAC £23.99Buy by post £30.00 CDA67221/4  4CDs for the price of 3  
Details
Movement 1: Allegro
Track 1 on CDA67221/4 CD1 [12'25] 4CDs for the price of 3
Movement 2: Intermezzo: Allegro
Track 2 on CDA67221/4 CD1 [3'22] 4CDs for the price of 3
Movement 3: Largo divoto
Track 3 on CDA67221/4 CD1 [8'08] 4CDs for the price of 3
Movement 4: Finale: Allegro risoluto
Track 4 on CDA67221/4 CD1 [7'34] 4CDs for the price of 3

Sonata in F minor, Op 5
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Medtner’s first published sonata dates from 1901–1903, though the Intermezzo is a reworking of a Moment musical written in his student years, and overall the work is not yet fully representative of the mature composer. Even so, when in November 1902 Medtner played the first of its four movements to Josef Hofmann, the famous pianist went so far as to describe the work as the most important of all the contemporary piano compositions known to him, ‘a perfect whole’.

As elsewhere in Medtner’s work, the music’s formal design also has a spiritual dimension, here hinted at by the composer’s expression marks. Thus the turbulent soul-searching of the first movement, neither resolved by its end nor relieved by the ensuing quietly menacing Intermezzo, is followed by a Largo divoto, which, as the heading suggests, is a kind of prayerful meditation, a spiritual struggle from uncertainty to hope in prayer (a passage marked pietoso), through further uncertainty to a fervent climax in further prayer (con entusiasmo). At the end of the movement confidence ebbs, but the consequent agitation of the first theme of the Finale is assuaged by the measured and pious tones of the second, marked religioso, which proves to be a major-key version of the second theme of the first movement. The material is worked out at length in the development, where the composer’s contrapuntal and fugal skills are given full rein. In the recapitulation a final interlude of uncertainty and dejection is swept away by the affirmative restatement of both themes and the pealing of bells in jubilant celebration. The struggle has been won.

from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998

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