Medtner: Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38; Fairy Tales, Op. 51; Sonata Triad, Op. 11

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Medtner
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38; Fairy Tales, Op. 51; Sonata Triad, Op. 11
PERFORMER: Geoffrey Tozer (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9153 DDD
The Russian composer Medtner (1880-1951) has his champions in each generation, but few have promoted this still undervalued composer more vigorously than the Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer. A second volume of Medtner’s complete piano works makes an ideal introduction to this unfailingly fascinating composer.

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Summing up the charms of Medtner’s style is no easy matter: Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky are part of the ancestry and, closer to the composer’s own time, Debussy and Rachmaninov. Despite his rich heritage, there is never a sense of Medtner being slavishly eclectic. The music is melodious, at times harmonically adventurous and technically brilliant. In short, this record of (for the most part) picturesque miniatures will prove a delight for anyone keen on Romantic survivors in the 20th century.

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Geoffrey Tozer’s excellent track record with Medtner is well known. The present CD has both virtuosity and an acute rhythmic sense – especially valuable in the occasional jazzy rhythms deployed by the composer. Some of the more lyrical lines might have been given more of a chance to ‘sing’, but this is a small point. A close and under-resonant piano sound proves to be somewhat more of a drawback. Jan Smaczny