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Piano Music Vol.1 ('Fairy Tales' and short pieces)
Hamish Milne (piano)
CRD 3338 (ADD, 54.56)
Crotchet  (mid-price re-issue)

This reissue from 1977 gives an opportunity to hear an important Medtner pioneer, playing a well selected sequence of Medtner's shorter pieces, to put alongside the highly rated set of all the piano sonatas  by Marc-Andre Hamelin, (Hyperion CDA67221/4 *****). Medtner has never been as popular as his devoted friend Rachmaninoff and he does not wear his heart on his sleeve. He was unapologetically conservative during a time of musical ferment, holding onto the primacy of consonance and tonality as the centre of his thinking. He was a prodigious pianist (I saw him once in the Albert Hall during his last years, when he lived in relative obscurity in Golders Green, and will never forget his wildly inventive cadenza in a Beethoven concerto) and there are subtleties of harmony and rhythm under the teeming surface of his demanding music - virtuosic in demands, not always so in effect.

Hamish Milne is an authoritative guide and has 7 CDs of Medtner for CRD. The recording is by the highly respected Bob Auger, who I remember for his painstaking setting up and balancing microphones, after which he didn't twiddle the knobs. Well worth collecting.
Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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