Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nikolai Medtner - Piano Concertos; Sonata-Ballade (Geoffrey Tozer)


Information

Composer: Nikolai Medtner

CD1:
  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33: Allegro -
  2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33: Tranquillo, dolce (Variations) -
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33: Coda. Allegro molto
  4. Sonata-Ballade in F sharp major, Op. 27: Allegretto -
  5. Sonata-Ballade in F sharp major, Op. 27: Introduzione. Mesto -
  6. Sonata-Ballade in F sharp major, Op. 27: Finale. Allegro
CD2:
  1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50: 1. Toccata. Allegro risoluto
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50: 2. Romanza. Andante con moto
  3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50: 3. Divertimento. Allegro risoluto e molto vivace
  4. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade", Op. 60: 1. Con moto largamento - Allegretto con moto
  5. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade", Op. 60: 2. Interludium. Allegro, molto sostenuto, misterioso
  6. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade", Op. 60: 3. Finale. Allegro molto

Geoffrey Tozer, piano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor
Date: 1991
Label: Chandos
http://chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHAN%209040

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Review

ARTISTIC QUALITY: 9 / SOUND QUALITY: 9

Nikolai Medtner’s three piano concertos, like those of his close friend and countryman Sergei Rachmaninov, call upon soloist and orchestra to be equal partners rather than virtuoso pianist and accompanist. For this reason, the cycle recorded in 1991 by pianist Geoffrey Tozer and the London Philharmonic with Neemi Järvi conducting continues to be your best overall choice, especially since Chandos now reissues it at budget price. Tozer’s full-bodied sonority, long-lined instincts, and marvelously assured fingers favorably compare to Geoffrey Douglas Madge’s heavier, more emphatic traversals, although the litheness and flexibility distinguishing the aged Medtner’s keyboard prowess remains unique.

However, I wouldn’t want to be without Hyperion’s edition of the Second and Third Concertos. While the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra doesn’t quite match its London colleagues’ dynamic heft and pulsating strings, pianist Nikolai Demidenko takes the composer’s frequent expressive and articulation directives closer to heart, and with more volatile, heated results all around. Tozer’s excellent, insightful performance of the Op. 27 Sonate-Ballade (previously reissued in Chandos’ complete Medtner Sonata boxed set) fills out Disc 2 and matches Marc-André Hamelin’s staggering proficiency with a wider degree of harmonic inflection. To sum up, buy Tozer/Chandos for the music, but for the pianism, keep Demidenko/Hyperion in mind.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/medtner-piano-concertos-etc-0
http://www.amazon.com/Medtner-Complete-Piano-Concertos-Nikolay/dp/B000000AOY

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Nikolai Medtner (5 January 1880 [O.S. 24 December 1879] – 13 November 1951) was a Russian composer and pianist, a younger contemporary of Scriabin and Rachmaninov. He wrote a substantial number of compositions, include fourteen piano sonatas, three violin sonatas, three piano concerti, a piano quintet, etc., all of which include the piano.

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Geoffrey Tozer (5 November 1954 – 21 August 2009) was an Australian classical pianist and composer. He was a child prodigy, composed an opera at the age of eight. Tozer recorded for the Chandos label, beginning with the works of Medtner. A noted improviser, he won numerous awards and much recognition worldwide, but suffered comparative neglect in Australia, during the last years of his life.

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