Notes and Editorial Reviews
Nikolai Medtner's Sonata-Reminiscenza (Op. 38 No. 1) and Sonata Tragica (Op. 39 No. 5) are components of the composer's Op. 38 and Op. 39 "Forgotten Melodies". Accordingly, Marc-André Hamelin's complete Medtner sonata survey for Hyperion included these works in their cyclical contexts. Hyperion now couples both cycles, along with the two Marches from Op. 8, for a single-disc release that should attract collectors who wish to sample Hamelin's Medtner without having to invest in a multi-disc set.
Few pianists can negotiate Medtner's complex polyphony and labyrinthian textures with the same suppleness, ease, and utter transparency that Hamelin brings to this
repertoire. Notice the acute rhythmic verve with which he articulates the smallest note values, as in Op. 38 No. 7's Danza silvestra, or how the pianist's huge sonorities in the Sonata Tragica's pulverizing climaxes never lose definition. In Primavera (Op. 39 No. 3) the sparely pedaled cascading runs and trilled chords are uncommonly even and light, so much so that they make Geoffrey Tozer's accomplished pianism seem thick by comparison. On the other hand, you can argue that Tozer divines a wider range of melodic inflections and harmonic underpinnings in more lyrical selections (the Romanza Op. 39 No. 2, for example).
What matters most is that Hamelin realizes his conceptions with complete authority from top to bottom and proves that Medtner's phrasings, dynamics, and tempo indications need little intervention other than for one to play simply, clearly, and beautifully. That's easier said than done, unless you happen to be Marc-André Hamelin--the one and only! [6/28/2006]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title