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Track(s) taken from CDA67491/2

Skazka '1915'


Hamish Milne (piano)
Recording details: October 2006
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: April 2007
Total duration: 2 minutes 12 seconds


'They're among [Medtner's] characteristic utterances and include many of his finest inspirations. Some are simply masterpieces … it's excellent to have a complete collection from Hamish Milne, one of our leading Medtnerians, as a welcome counterpart to Marc-André Hamelin's complete Sonatas, also on Hyperion. Milne is in complete technical and expressive command, bringing to them the fleetness and rhythmic spring, the varied character and wit, that all Medtner's music needs. He crests the summists of their virtuosity with such ease one can concentrate throughout on the music, not the pianist, as Medtner intended … he expounds the composer's thought with complete identification and sympathy' (BBC Music Magazine)

'From the very first of these skazki ('tales'), I was hooked. Much of this is to do with the advocacy of Hamish Milne, who has already recorded some of this repertoire for the CRD label, is regarded by many as the composer's greatest living champion and, as his booklet note emphasises, is determined to see through the prejudice that has dogged the composer's reputation since his death in 1951. His playing has the muscularity to cope with Medtner's often challenging rhythmic writing—listen to the bracing 'Dance Tale' from Op 48 of 1925—while this vigour is counterbalanced by a sensitivity to the music's poetry and lyricism. Indeed, his sympathy for Medtner's ever-amenable style—echoing Rachmaninov and Debussy at times—ensures that the ear is constantly engaged' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This is a major, important release … Milne has been recording Medtner for quite some time now … and his detailed and very well written booklet notes are on the same high level as his pianism … no-one plays these musical Tales as well as Hamish Milne' (American Record Guide)

'Hamish Milne's performances maintain a high level of consistency, presenting Medtner's ideas with great clarity. His playing has a crispness and rhythmic vitality that serves the music well. Medtner's various moods are all capably handled … an impressive achievement and eminently recommendable recording … recorded sound is up to Hyperion's usual excellent standards' (International Record Review)

'The 38 Skazki are the most important piano miniatures that Nikolay Medtner composed … there's something discursive and fantastical about these pieces; intensely conservative, Medtner's musical language was always rooted in late 19th-century romanticism, the world that his contemporary and friend Rachmaninov fashioned into a distinctive personal style, but which Medtner preserved almost intact. Yet his piano writing is vivid and superbly idiomatic; there are wonderful things in these Skazki, which are inspired by a wide range of literary sources, from Goethe and Shakespeare (King Lear and Hamlet) to Pushkin and Russian folklore … Hamish Milne is a wonderful guide to this world—his performances are both technically outstanding and musically penetrating' (The Guardian)

'Each one a unique gem of beguiling invention. Notoriously difficult to bring off, Hamish Milne makes some of the most exacting pages in the repertoire sound glorious' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Medtner was sometimes chided for lacking focus, but there's nothing diffuse in these clean-cut and formally lucid readings, which manage to present a wealth of boldly delineated detail without ever obscuring the music's overall trajectories. We're certainly unlikely to get a better complete run of the Skazki in the foreseeable future. Strongly recommended … a revelation: music of fantasy and individuality, and played by Milne with devotion' (Fanfare, USA)

'Milne has recorded many epoch-making Medtner discs and his new collection of the complete Skazki stands out as his finest to date. The richness of ideas and the overwhelming range of expression is Medtner at his finest. Milne eclipses Geoffrey Tozer in his otherwise brilliant Chandos recording and I cannot think of a pianist today who can better this' (Pianist)

'Milne's is a sincere and personal journey, as Medtner's undoubtedly was; the sound is fresh and unfussy, and Milne's own notes perspicuous and heartfelt' (International Piano)

'Completed by flawless recording quality—immediate, vivid and truthful, but never oppressive (dynamics are faithfully captured)—this is a quite outstanding and revelatory issue' (Classical Source)
Between the two sets Opp 26 and 34 come two isolated Skazki: the enigmatic and bi-polar Op 31 No 3 which oscillates disturbingly between lassitude and manic energy, even anger; and then the only Skazka without opus number, now known as ‘1915’, the year of its publication. When asked why he had assigned no opus number to this enigmatic miniature, Medtner replied: ‘It is of no importance.’ There are ample grounds for disagreement since it represents in its compression and organization a kind of microcosm of Medtner’s art. Its thirty-four bars encompass two double-barrelled themes, a thoroughly worked development, a clearly defined climax and coda.

from notes by Hamish Milne © 2007

Entre les opp. 26 et 34 s’intercalent deux Skazki isolés: l’énigmatique et bipolaire op. 31 no 3, qui oscille de manière inquiétante entre lassitude et énergie folle, voire colère; et l’unique Skazka sans numéro d’opus, dit aujourd’hui «1915» (année de sa publication). Quand on lui demandait pourquoi cette énigmatique miniature était ainsi dépourvue, Medtner répondait: «C’est sans importance.» Ce qui est loin d’être vrai, cette œuvre incarnant, dans sa compression et dans son organisation, comme un microcosme de l’art medtnerien avec, en trente-quatre mesures, deux thèmes équivoques, un développement minutieusement ouvragé, un apogée bien défini et une coda.

extrait des notes rédigées par Hamish Milne © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Zwischen den beiden Heften op. 26 und op. 34 finden sich zwei alleinstehende Skazki: das rätselhafte und bipolare op. 31, Nr. 3, das verstörend zwischen Trägheit und manischer Energie, sogar Zorn schwankt sowie die einzige Skazka ohne Opuszahl, die heute als „1915“ nach dem Jahr ihrer Veröffentlichung bekannt ist. Auf die Frage, warum er dieser mysteriösen Miniatur keine Opuszahl gegeben hatte, antwortete Medtner: „Das ist nicht wichtig.“ Es gibt viele Gründe, dem zu widersprechen, denn in ihrer Verknappung und Organisation stellt sie praktisch einen Mikrokosmos von Medtners Kunst dar. Ihre 34 Takte enthalten zwei doppelläufige Themen, eine voll verarbeitete Durchführung, einen deutlich definierten Höhepunkt und Coda.

aus dem Begleittext von Hamish Milne © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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