Op 35 No 1 opens in ceremonial style with the velvety sonority of a brass ensemble. What follows is a hymn of faith, doubt and salvation: a ‘Hosanna’ was the terse description of the religious and political philosopher Ivan Ilyin. The prancing whimsicality of Op 35 No 2 is enlivened by choleric interjections in its middle section and, while Op 35 No 3 may not be among the finest tales, its evocation of a time beyond memory is entirely Medtnerian and, by virtue of its modal austerity and evolving narrante style, far removed from the numerous confections ‘in ancient style’ of more sentimental romantics. A quotation from the storm scene in Shakespeare’s King Lear
heads the score of Op 35 No 4 and says all that needs to be said (‘Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!’), its tumultuous rise and fall evoking both the fury of the storm and the rage of the demented monarch.
from notes by Hamish Milne © 2007