Works of the month February 2015 – Nicolas Medtner: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3

In December 2014, the second CD of “Medtner Plays Medtner” has been released by the label Melodiya. The focus is on the own interpretation of the composer and pianist, so it is a new edition of his own recordings. Medtner was a fine pianist and his patronizer, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, the last Maharaja of Mysore, afforded him recordings from 1948 on, including the piano concertos.

In 1928 appeared Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 50 with music publisher Zimmermann, which he dedicated to his friend Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is extremely rhythmic and dynamic, and in the slower part full of poetry and emotion. It is a masterpiece and Medtner’s performance is terrific.
The 3rd Piano Concerto, Op. 60, dedicated to the Maharaja, is one of his last works. He finished it in the early 1940s and it has been published by Zimmerman in 1951. Nicolas Medtner performed it in the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 19, 1944. He called the work a “concert ballad” and linked it with Mikhail Lermontov’s artistic ballad “The Mermaid”.

The pianist Mike Spring once said of Medtner’s music: “Concerts by Nicolas Medtner, which I truly believe in, have depth. That’s interesting music that has been neglected so far.”
The Moscow born pianist Boris Berezovsky declared to be addicted to Medtner’s music: “I appreciate the diversity in his music […], it takes a special technique to play it. […] Medtner’s music is archaic and late romantic at the same time, without this combination is ever contrived. It also has a very aristocratic expression, in the best sense of the word. It takes at least a month to understand Medtner’s notes.” (Piano 1-08)

Works of the month February 2015 – Nicolas Medtner: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3