"For several generations of performers and audiences, Medtner has lain overlooked somewhere between the genius of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin and the juggernaut of Prokofiev's 'modernist' masterpieces. But he is not just a quintessential Russian composer; he is a master for all, and now perhaps his time has come." — Eugene Istomin Faced with decades of shifting styles, compositional vogues, and musical trends that characterized the early 20th century, composer-pianist Nikolai Medtner (1880–1951) remained faithful to the standard of clarity of purpose he learned from a lifetime of active performance of the classical masters. Above all, he considered himself Beethoven's student in spirit, and with the principal meanings and "unwritten laws that are the foundation of musical language." In later years, Alexander Glazunov called Medtner "an artist guarding the eternal laws of art." Among Medtner's most popular pieces are the so-called "Fairy Tales" for piano: works he called skazki — the Russian term better translated as "tales" or "folktales." "No one tells such tales as Kolya!" exclaimed the delighted Rachmaninoff after Medtner had played his opus 51 pieces to a private gathering. With their rich keyboard textures, intense polyrhythms, and marvelous harmonies, these wonderfully colorful short works — composed over three decades — highlight the composer's innate gift for musical storytelling. Pianists and all music lovers will applaud this rare, handsome compilation of works by a modern master of the keyboard.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had first known of Medtner's music when my piano teacher played one of the fairy tales for me. I only thought it was okay, because my teacher was by no means a virtuoso. Then I saw a video of Marc-André Hamelin playing Fairy Tale op. 26 n.1 and I was hooked. I've learned that piece now, and I play it every day. The only thing about the book I don't really like is the binding. It's bound like a paperback book you'd buy in a store, which makes it difficult for the book to stay open on the stand when you're playing. In fact, I wish all music books could be bound like the Alfred Masterwork editions of Chopin's music. Those are easy to open, and they stay open. Anyway, I'd highly recommend this book, if only for the music.
I am so glad I found this book!! Nikolai Medtner is one of my favorite composers of all time. I will be playing from this selection of beautiful melodies and complex voices for a long long time!
It's extremely valuable to have all these pieces collected together in a fine edition. Ditto for the two-volume edition of Medtner's complete piano sonatas. Now all we lack is the three opuses of Forgotten Melodies and other miscellaneous piano pieces. On the way, I hope?
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