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MEDTNER, N.: Piano Sonatas (Complete), Vol. 1

MEDTNER, N.: Piano Sonatas (Complete), Vol. 1

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2013

Originally recorded in 2012


Paul Stewart



Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Record Label
Grand Piano




Total Time - 58:22
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MEDTNER, N.: Piano Sonatas (Complete), Vol. 1

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Sonatina in G minor

1 I. Allegretto, ma non troppo 2:42

Sonatina in G minor


Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 5

3 I. Allegro 13:50
4 II. Intermezzo: Allegro - 3:41
5 III. Largo - 8:43
6 IV. Finale: Allegro risoluto 9:12

Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38

 Paul Stewart Soloist

 Like his near-contemporary Rachmaninov, who called him ‘the greatest composer of our time’, Nikolay Medtner was a composer, pianist and an exile from his native Russia. His portfolio of works includes a remarkable series of pieces for his own instrument, including 14 sonatas and some hugely evocative, deeply poetic miniatures. Medtner’s gift for melody is immediately discerned in the early Sonatina in G minor. The Sonata No 1, Op 5, his first large-scale work, enshrines autobiographical elements and is both intense and spiritually charged. Poetry and nostalgia flood the beautiful Sonata-Reminiscenza in A minor. This is the first volume of a complete cycle of the Medtner Piano Sonatas.

"Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata-Reminiscenza is one of eight substantial pieces published as his opp.38, 39 and 40, with the overall title of Forgotten Melodies. That would almost make a pithy hic jacet for a composer whose deeply imaginative, poignantly beautiful piano works make his historical neglect as bizarre as it is scandalous. Canadian pianist Paul Stewart sets out to right some wrongs with this first of four volumes on Grand Piano dedicated to Medtner’s fourteen Piano Sonatas. In his informative, well researched notes he points up both the diminutive nature of the Medtner discography and the fact that some recordings “are based on editions that contain misprints and other errors”. For his recital Stewart, a long-time champion of Medtner’s music, plays a restored period Steinway actually performed on by the composer himself in 1929 in Montreal. Its tone is well worth hearing, especially in the fine audio on offer here, and Stewart’s even more so: he gives an authoritative, expressive and thoroughly listener-friendly reading of Medtner’s works, leaving a strong sense of anticipation for the remaining volumes. Though an early work, the First Piano Sonata in F minor is a glorious, passionate work of writhing melodies and wistful harmony, quite possibly an ode to his brother’s, and his own future, wife. The Sonata-Reminiscenza in A minor is Medtner’s Tenth Sonata, and his most performed. Rightly so too: like much of Medtner’s piano music, it calls to mind a less sombre, more emotionally ‘stable’ Rachmaninov—who referred to him, incidentally, as “the greatest composer of our time”. Flowingly imaginative, the nostalgia of the title morphs into haunting melancholy—no coincidence that Medtner was about to leave his native Russia for good. The brief Sonatina is a bagatelle by comparison, but very agreeable in a similar kind of way. It was not published until 1981, and its two-movement structure suggests that Medtner had not quite finished with it."
Byzantion - - January 2013

"The first of a projected four-disc set of Medtner’s piano sonatas performed by the Canadian pianist Paul Stewart launches a deeply personal and complex project with unfailing mastery and acute stylistic awareness... Paul Stewart adds a voice of exceptional distinction, finely presented and recorded."
Bryce Morrison - Gramophone magazine - March 2013

"...I was already quite pleased with these performances when I read the detailed booklet notes by Stewart, which are outstanding. When a pianist has Stewart’s analytical mind, it can get the performance bogged down in details, but not here. It is all fresh and wonderfully alive. Stewart clearly lacks none of the requisite technical skills to bring this music off. The results are superb ... This disc is a grand beginning to a cycle and I eagerly await the next installment."
James Harrington - American Record Guide, - January 2013

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