Piano Music Vol.1 ('Fairy Tales' and short pieces)
Hamish Milne (piano)
CRD 3338 (ADD, 54.56)
This reissue from 1977 gives an opportunity to hear an important Medtner
pioneer, playing a well selected sequence of Medtner's shorter pieces, to
put alongside the highly rated set of all the piano sonatas by Marc-Andre
*****). Medtner has never
been as popular as his devoted friend Rachmaninoff and he does not wear his
heart on his sleeve. He was unapologetically conservative during a time of
musical ferment, holding onto the primacy of consonance and tonality as the
centre of his thinking. He was a prodigious pianist (I saw him once in the
Albert Hall during his last years, when he lived in relative obscurity in
Golders Green, and will never forget his wildly inventive cadenza in a Beethoven
concerto) and there are subtleties of harmony and rhythm under the teeming
surface of his demanding music - virtuosic in demands, not always so in effect.
Hamish Milne is an authoritative guide and has 7 CDs of Medtner for CRD.
The recording is by the highly respected Bob Auger, who I remember for his
painstaking setting up and balancing microphones, after which he didn't twiddle
the knobs. Well worth collecting.
Peter Grahame Woolf