Hyperion Records

Vergessene Weisen 'Forgotten Melodies', Op 39
June 1919 to October 1920

'Medtner: Forgotten Melodies' (CDA67578)
Medtner: Forgotten Melodies
'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  
'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)  
No 1: Meditazione: Introduzione, quasi Cadenza – Meno mosso – Meditamente
Track 1 on CDA67221/4 CD4 [4'44] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 9 on CDA67578 [4'44]
No 2: Romanza: Meditamente
Track 2 on CDA67221/4 CD4 [4'19] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 10 on CDA67578 [4'19]
No 3: Primavera: Vivace
Track 3 on CDA67221/4 CD4 [3'31] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 11 on CDA67578 [3'31]
No 4: Canzona matinata in G major: Allegretto cantando, ma sempre con moto
Track 4 on CDH55315 [5'07] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 4 on CDA67221/4 CD4 [4'34] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 12 on CDA67578 [4'34]
No 5: Sonata tragica in C minor: Allegro risoluto
Track 5 on CDH55315 [11'44] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 5 on CDA67221/4 CD4 [9'00] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 13 on CDA67578 [9'00]

Vergessene Weisen 'Forgotten Melodies', Op 39
The second cycle of Forgotten Melodies consists of five pieces, the first and last pairs linked thematically. The opening Meditazione is one of Medtner’s most potent inventions, a disquieting study of tormented introspection in which tension is relieved only in the very last bars by an unexpected resolution into the major key. The following Romanza is no less disturbing, the same dark brooding transformed into a haunted waltz. Primavera (‘Spring’), on the other hand, proclaims the composer’s exultation in the year’s rebirth. It was completed in March 1920 under the stimulus of the arrival of a Russian spring with its dramatically rapid thaw of snow and bracing air, a time of year Medtner especially loved.

There are hints that Canzona matinata (‘Morning song’), carefree in its outer sections but melancholy in the middle, depicts the morn of life, youth, with its generally sunny but occasionally black moods, in contrast to the struggles and tragedies of later life. The latter theme is implicit in the final work of the cycle, the Sonata tragica, which the composer always insisted should be preceded by a performance of the Canzona matinata. A remarkable intensity of emotion is concentrated in its single movement. Typically for Medtner, the two apparently contrasting main themes, the first tragic and launched by what sounds like a blow of fate, the second consolatory, prove to be one and the same in different guises. In the development there is an almost literal restatement of the sombre central theme from the Canzona matinata but there is little relief. Tension mounts in the recapitulation, and the work moves inexorably towards a devastating coda, which concludes with the blow of fate with which the sonata began.

from notes by Barrie Martyn © 1998

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