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#1750851 - 09/11/11 06:37 PM Medtner's incredible lyricism
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19443
Loc: New York City
I'm learning this beautiful Fairy Tale Op. 26 No.3:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHYk_kxABwQ

For years I mostly knew only his perhaps most famous work, the Sonata Reminiscenza, with its incredibly lyrical opening theme(I heard Gilels play this live at Carnegie Hall ages ago):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT6zEFxKhfE

Some other Fairy Tales that I think show Medtner's ability to write an opening melody so beautiful that it immediately captures your attention:

Op.51 No.2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jobOuAkKvGo&feature=related

(Op.42 No.1.The theme sounds Hebraic to my ears)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAhVqzgzSVo

Op.20 No.1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Qez1WB4hQ






Edited by pianoloverus (09/11/11 08:29 PM)

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#1750854 - 09/11/11 06:45 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
juliantoha624 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/09
Posts: 41
Loc: London, UK
Medtner is an exciting composer. This is for sure. For me, his music has the ability to take audiences on a emotional roller coaster if they choose to trust the performer and come along for the ride. Both pieces of Op. 20 are prime examples. thumb
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#1750855 - 09/11/11 06:45 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2625
Loc: Not in Texas
I love just about anything by Medtner but find his Fairy Tails to be among his most compelling writing. Sure, they're not the most difficult or most recognized pieces he wrote but they're beautiful, lyrical pieces each of which with its own unique characteristics. I particularly like the Fairy Tale Op. 51, No. 2.

I also like his Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38.
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Greg

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#1750869 - 09/11/11 07:10 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1067
I've always had a special fondness for the entire Op 51 Skazki set -- the pieces are so full of wit and charm, and so Russian in character. I agree with the assessment of the two Op 20 Skazki, although those are both daunting technically. The Op 34 set is also very strong, No 2 being particularly lyrical. The Op 26 No 1 Skazka is especially beautiful; Chris Keys has just posted a very nice rendition of this piece in the Recordings section of the Pianist Corner.
I believe the reason Medtner isn't more appreciated is that he thinks in quite long melodic arches, and it takes a couple of listenings to sense the flow; i.e, he needs to "grow on you".
Although his thinking is resolutely tonal, his music is subtle and IMO not easy to fully realize musically -- but it's worth it to do so.

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#1750881 - 09/11/11 07:37 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
I do enjoy the Fairy Tales, really cool stuff!

But otherwise, Medtner remains rather a hard sell for me. One evening I plowed through the sonatas with the Dover score (Hamelin playing), and I was in awe of the technical demands, but was at a loss to find anything particularly memorable otherwise. A certain sameness set in which I found rather distressing.

More seriously damaging to me, however, is the 1st piano concerto. A great barn-storming Russian concerto, but in following the score I had a very uneasy feeling that so many of its nasty difficulties were there for their own sake, and not really contributing anything solid to the musical argument.

I fully realize this opinion is not shared by everyone, and one day I hope I may feel differently.
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Jason

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#1750933 - 09/11/11 09:26 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2625
Loc: Not in Texas
Jason,

As much as I am a died-in-the-wool Medtner fan, I have to agree with you about his larger scale works. Unfortunately, I think he was trying too hard to compose something significant and let his natural lyricism go in favor of being momentous. The result is technically challenging but not as emotionally satisfying as his smaller works, at least to me. IMHO, he's at his best in the smaller scale works but I do enjoy his sonatas (the late Geoffrey Tozer performing) very much.
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Greg

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#1750939 - 09/11/11 09:46 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3809
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Well, I don't agree with the "other" other Jason. smile Not on the sonatas.

I too spent some time with a recording and the sonata scores, and in a few days, I only digested the earlier sonatas-- the prototypical op.5, the three single-movement op.11 sonatas, and the big g minor op.22 sonata.

I loved them all. I thought his melodies, especially the exposition lyrical melodies, were piercing and unforgettable. And he has a fascinating rhythmic sense, far more innovative (to my ears) than Rachmaninoff and Scriabin-- listen to the rhythms of the second movement of that op.5 sonata, for example. It was all very eye-opening to me.

The single-movement Ab sonata (op.11/1) has made it to my "will play some day" list.

-Jason
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#1750940 - 09/11/11 09:52 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: BB Player]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: BB Player

As much as I am a died-in-the-wool Medtner fan, I have to agree with you about his larger scale works. Unfortunately, I think he was trying too hard to compose something significant and let his natural lyricism go in favor of being momentous. The result is technically challenging but not as emotionally satisfying as his smaller works, at least to me. IMHO, he's at his best in the smaller scale works but I do enjoy his sonatas (the late Geoffrey Tozer performing) very much.

Thanks, Greg, I think you summed that up very well. But I suppose the sophisticates on the board will have us for lunch! Medtner will always have a certain snobbish appeal, and good on them.

I'm sort of reminded of Charles Stanford. He wrote music of unparalleled quality for the Anglican Rite (and a fair amount of it is still regularly sung in the UK), but his six symphonies are very problematic.

All the motions are there in spades, he practically approaches Brahms in the handling of sonata-allegro and orchestration (he was a great teacher), but at the end of the day, his music simply lacks the 'spark' of genius. He develops climaxes on the level of Beethoven's 7th, but the material never measures up.

IMO.
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Jason

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#1750944 - 09/11/11 09:56 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: beet31425]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Well, I don't agree with the "other" other Jason. smile Not on the sonatas.

Which is to say I may still have work to do here. Horowitz certainly wondered why Medtner was not more frequently played, 'in some ways more deeper than Rachmaninov' as he said.

But with due respect, it is not a done deal.
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#1750992 - 09/11/11 11:07 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: argerichfan]
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2625
Loc: Not in Texas
Originally Posted By: argerichfan

But with due respect, it is not a done deal.

That's the beauty of music, to me.

There are some pieces that grab me right away.

There are some that take me a while to warm up to.

There are some that I "hate" or "have to work at" but become my all time favorites with repeated listening

There are some that I still don't "get" and perhaps never will. That doesn't mean I'll stop trying. In most cases, the "limiting factor" is the listener, not the composer. Sure, there's junk out there not worth anyone's time but I think anyone who has listened to music seriously for any length of time recognizes substance when they hear it whether the particular piece touches them or not.
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#1750999 - 09/11/11 11:13 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: BB Player]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: BB Player
Sure, there's junk out there not worth anyone's time but I think anyone who has listened to music seriously for any length of time recognizes substance when they hear it whether the particular piece touches them or not.

I recognize A GREAT DEAL of substance in Medtner -how could I not?- but, so far at least, it does not touch me.

But things do change. I well remember as a lad being totally unmoved by Beethoven's Op 27/1. Now I think it one of his greatest sonatas, and most definitely a favourite.

I absolutely adore that piece.
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#1751013 - 09/11/11 11:42 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2358
Loc: San Jose, CA
I just want to pipe up and say that Medtner's playing makes a better case for him than anything else. Tozer and Hamelin tend to make his music sound blocky, monotonous, and repetitive. Medtner played his own music with such glorious, restrained, liquid phrasing that I don't have a choice but to be convinced. If it's not played by a superlative artist like Medtner, Moiseiwitsch or Gilels, though, it doesn't sound special. And then, of course, there's the issue that you need nerves of steel.

- Rachmaninoff called this piece "a miracle"

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#1751021 - 09/12/11 12:02 AM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
jeffreyjones Offline
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Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2358
Loc: San Jose, CA
Also, Horowitz's only released recording of Medtner, who he loved but never programmed. Magical!


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#1751495 - 09/12/11 05:49 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2649
Loc: Netherlands
just to all of you who play with the thought of ever trying to start to play/perform some of Medtner's pieces, here are my first ventures: sonata- triade op.11/3, Primavera and Danza Festiva, very short and wellwrought, melodious pieces that don't sound like Rachmaninoff or Scriabin at all, have a real fresh new-romantic glow and prepare you for some of the more ambitious pieces like the 5th sonata in g, a masterpiece, alas overshadowed by (mostly) the first tune of the ever-so-overplayed Reminiscenza, and will never prepare us for the ultimate Medtner: op.27/2, Night Wind, his masterpiece.
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#1751502 - 09/12/11 06:06 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
I am a BIG Medtner fan. I love his Sonata Romantica, especially the first movement; one of the greatest pieces ever composed in my opinion.
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#1751522 - 09/12/11 07:21 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
Arctic_Mama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 379
Loc: Alaska
I'd never even heard of this composer before this thread, but those Fairy Tales are beautiful! Very intriguing and compelling. Thanks for sharing!
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#1751530 - 09/12/11 07:37 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I have downloaded the Fairy Tales from IMSLP and can't wait to play them! smile
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Music is my best friend.


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#1751548 - 09/12/11 08:12 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Do check out Rachfan's recordings in the member recording forum.

fantastico
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#1751560 - 09/12/11 08:39 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Some interesting recommendations above. Tomorrow evening I intend to give 'Sonata Romantica' and 'Night Wind' another outing. Thanks, all!
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Jason

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#1751957 - 09/13/11 03:44 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
Melissa Morgan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 10
Loc: Dallas, TX
I wasn't familiar with Medtner until I read a thread here last year. At first the pieces each sounded like a bit of fluff, but the more I listened, the more I heard. I'm working on the Fairy Tale Op. 51 #2. He's really growing on me. I wonder why he isn't played more often?

Thanks for this thread!

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#1752083 - 09/13/11 07:48 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
mrferguson12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/11
Posts: 141
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Medtner is my favorite composer right now. I love the second movement of sonata-skazka, played by evgeny svetlanov (recording on youtube) wink
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#1752181 - 09/13/11 11:17 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
This evening I returned to Medtner after an approximate 6 year hiatus. With the recommendation of the 'other' Jason I listened to the Ab sonata Op 11 and TheCannibalHaddock's recommendation of 'Sonata romantica' Op 53/1. All with assistance from my Dover scores. (I'll save 'Night Wind' for another evening.)

I certainly heard a lot more substance after my initial encounters, and this could be the beginning of a new discovery. But most interestingly, after 'Sonata romantica', I went on to 'Sonata minacciosa' and 'Sonate-Idylle'. Those were wonderful, I need to hear them again!

I apologize if the occasional heretical thought crossed my mind 'well, didn't Rachmaninov say this before, a lot more directly?', but more troubling was the nagging feeling that the Medtner sonatas as a whole, for all their technical and formal mastery are somewhat less than the sum of their parts.

One reads here, and in various music periodicals, that Medtner was the equal of Rachmaninov and Scriabin, but why is it that their music is so much more popular? Is this due to ignorance or laziness, or is there something else going on? Just wondering.
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#1752234 - 09/14/11 01:14 AM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
Arctic_Mama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 379
Loc: Alaska
Huh, good question Jason. I have wondered that with more than one composer whose work I really loved, when a much more famous composer impressed me less. Some of it seems be be mythos or prestige behind some of the names, and some could just be that a rube like me doesn't have the ears or brain to discern what apparent awesomeness these 'lesser' composers lack wink

In the end, much of it seems to come down to taste (popular tastes, to be specific), a little bit is decided by the exposure of the musician and still a bit more comes down the the uniqueness, creativity, or exceptional example of a style in a particular piece of music. But I have found that simply because a work isn't exemplary, singularly spectacular, or iconic doesn't mean it can't offer a lovely aural escape nonetheless - and that creativity and catch is exactly what I heard in those Medtner works smile
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#1753105 - 09/15/11 05:47 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I am going to start Op.51 No.2 today. smile
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#1753123 - 09/15/11 06:21 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
mrferguson12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/11
Posts: 141
Loc: North Carolina, USA
hey chopin addict, I'm learning op. 51 no. 2 also. Please keep me updated with your progress smile
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#1753327 - 09/16/11 03:08 AM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: mrferguson12]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I enjoyed it very much so far! 3hearts
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Music is my best friend.


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#1753691 - 09/16/11 05:36 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: ChopinAddict]
mrferguson12 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/11
Posts: 141
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I enjoyed it very much so far! 3hearts

do you sometimes have trouble working out fingerings in Medtner? It seems like I can never bring his music off of the page and onto the keys without a few wonky fingerings.
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"A person of any mental quality has ideas of his own. This is common sense."
- Franz Liszt

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#1753719 - 09/16/11 06:31 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: pianoloverus]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2649
Loc: Netherlands
ceterum censeo Rachmaninoff's 1st better than any of the 15 Medtner's esse...
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Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!

Mussorgski tableaux d'une exposition/Ravel miroirs

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#1753744 - 09/16/11 07:07 PM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8898
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
ceterum censeo Rachmaninoff's 1st better than any of the 15 Medtner's esse...

So far no case has been made to the contrary...
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Jason

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#1753907 - 09/17/11 01:32 AM Re: Medtner's incredible lyricism [Re: mrferguson12]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6109
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: mrferguson12
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I enjoyed it very much so far! 3hearts

do you sometimes have trouble working out fingerings in Medtner? It seems like I can never bring his music off of the page and onto the keys without a few wonky fingerings.


Are you thinking of any particular measures? By the way, are you using the IMSLP version too?

I am looking at it again tomorrow. I went through it twice yesterday on my tablet PC. Today I went to Sydney for a book sale and am terribly tired... I hoped I would find some Medtner at the book sale, but I didn't find much, let alone Medtner! cry
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