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.
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.
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