Hyperion Records

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

'Medtner: Forgotten Melodies' (CDA67578)
Medtner: Forgotten Melodies
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67578 
'Medtner: The Complete Piano Sonatas' (CDA67221/4)
Medtner: The Complete Piano Sonatas
Buy by post £30.00 CDA67221/4  4CDs for the price of 3  
'Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner' (CDH55315)
Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner
Buy 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
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66765 
No 1: Sonata-Reminiscenza in A minor: Allegretto tranquillo
Track 8 on CDH55315 [18'39] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [16'04] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 1 on CDA67578 [16'04]
No 2: Danza graziosa: Con moto leggiero
Track 6 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [2'57] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 2 on CDA67578 [2'57]
No 3: Danza festiva: Presto
No 4: Canzona fluviala: Allegretto con moto
Track 8 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [2'40] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 4 on CDA67578 [2'40]
No 5: Danza rustica: Allegro commodo
Track 9 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [2'01] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 5 on CDA67578 [2'01]
No 6: Canzona serenata in F minor: Moderato
Track 1 on CDH55315 [5'08] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 10 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [4'17] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 6 on CDA67578 [4'17]
No 7: Danza silvestra
Track 11 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [3'40] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 7 on CDA67578 [3'40]
No 8: Alla Reminiscenza: Quasi coda
Track 12 on CDA67221/4 CD3 [2'53] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 8 on CDA67578 [2'53]

Vergessene Weisen 'Forgotten Melodies', Op 38
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

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA67221/4 disc 3 track 7
Danza festiva: Presto
Recording date
1 August 1996
Recording venue
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Medtner: The Complete Piano Sonatas (CDA67221/4)
    Disc 3 Track 7
    Release date: September 1998
    4CDs for the price of 3
  2. Medtner: Forgotten Melodies (CDA67578)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: May 2006
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