SOMM Recordings announces Medtner in England, a revelatory new recording exploring the musical life of Nikolai Medtner, featuring violinist Natalia Lomeiko, pianist Alexander Karpeyev and baritone Theodore Platt.
Born in Moscow, Medtner was to adopt England as his home, dying in London, aged 70, in 1951. The English capital seemed to provide him with a liberating creative space as the three featured works here eloquently suggest.
Simultaneously composed between 1935 and 1938 were the two-movement Op. 56 Sonata-Idylle in G major – which moves from its ‘Pastorale’ opening to, as composer and pianist Francis Pott comments in his authoritative booklet notes, “a valedictory late-summer haze” – and its immediate successor, the four-part, symphony-sized Epica Violin Sonata No. 3, “an act of remembrance” for Medtner’s brother, Emil.
Both works are the product of a period in which Medtner was attempting to “pare down the virtuosity of his piano writing”. And both, in their intricate design and execution, illustrate his productive struggle with the ambition.
From his more than 100 songs, the posthumously assembled miscellany of the Op. 61 Eight Songs span the near quarter-century from 1927 to the year of Medtner’s death. Employing poems by Pushkin, Lermontov, Eichendorff and Fyodor Tyutchev, they are variegated exercises in temperament and mood that look back towards Schubert and forwards to Medtner’s own distinctive way in setting words and conveying emotions.
Natalia Lomeiko and Theodore Platt are making their debuts on SOMM Recordings, Alexander Karpeyev’s previous SOMM release, Composers at the Savile Club(SOMMCD 0601), was “a recital eminently worth investigating” said BBC Music Magazine in its five-star review, while MusicWeb International declared it “will be greatly enjoyed”.
SOMM’s previous Medtner release, three Piano Sonatas performed by Alessandro Taverna (SOMMCD 0142), received a four-star review from The Guardian, with Gramophone insisting “Make no mistake… this first-class recording… is well worth hearing”.
On This Recording
- I. Introduzione: Andante meditamente – Allegro
- II. Scherzo: Allegro molto vivace e leggiero
- III. Andante con moto
- IV. Finale: Allegro molto
- I. Pastorale: Allegro cantabile
- II. Allegro moderato e cantabile
- No. 1 Reiselied
- No. 2 Nachtgruß
- No. 3 What is my name to you?
- No. 4 If life deceives you
- No. 5 Prayer*
- No. 6 Noon
- No. 7 Oh my foreboding soul
- No. 8 Repose
bAlexander Karpeyev, piano
cTheodore Platt, baritone