Hyperion Records

Theme and variations in C sharp minor, Op 55
The Theme and variations in C sharp minor Op 55 is a kind of pendant to the Romantic Sketches for the Young, Op 54, which the publisher Zimmermann had requested in the hope of generating increased sales for his aloof and recondite protégé. Although Medtner undertook the task with some reluctance, he didn’t stint on his skills of craftsmanship in its execution. The theme is a slightly prim minuet in ‘ancient style’ albeit with a few of the composer’s subtle harmonic twists. The variations follow the classical mould in as much as they clearly trace the melodic and harmonic outline of the theme as a template (as opposed to the more free variations in the two Improvisations, Op 31 No 1 and Op 47). This fastidious approach does not preclude the introduction of a deeper and more philosophical note in an eloquent passacaglia (Variation 5), redolent of the hymns of the Russian Orthodox church which are increasingly evident in Medtner’s later works.

from notes by Hamish Milne © 2012

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Details for CDH55315 track 6
Recording date
4 September 1992
Recording venue
Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ates Orga
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner (CDA66636)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: May 1993
    Deletion date: December 2006
    Superseded by CDH55315
  2. Medtner: Demidenko plays Medtner (CDH55315)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: February 2009
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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