Nikolai Medtner

Biography

Born: January 5, 1880; Moscow, Russia   Died: November 13, 1951; London, England   Period: 20th Century
Russian composer Nikolai Karlovich Medtner (or Metner) was born to parents of German descent who had lived in Russia for several generations. The family background was musical; his mother's brother was Fedor Gedike (Theodore Goedicke), a minor Romantic composer and professional pianist. He received early piano lessons from his mother and was entered into the Moscow Conservatory's junior classes at the age of twelve, winning a gold medal when he Read more completed his keyboard training in 1900. He studied privately with Sergei Taneyev, but largely taught himself composition. Taneyev encouraged him to consider composition as a career.
Nevertheless he went on tour as a pianist and received the Rubinstein Medal in Vienna. He gradually devoted more time to composition, but still performed, and in 1909 he was invited to join the conservatory faculty as a piano professor. A quiet person, he did not enjoy teaching, and resigned after a year, partly for that reason and partly to have more time for composition. In 1910, the wealthy conductor Sergei Koussevitzky invited Medtner to join the editorial board of his new music publishing firm, Editions Russe. He also made the acquaintance of Sergei Rachmaninov the same year. The two composer-pianists became close friends.
Medtner moved to Germany, but was repatriated when World War I broke out, with Russia and Germany on opposite sides. He felt it necessary to accept another teaching post in Moscow. In 1919 he married Anna Medtner (née Bratenshi), who had been the wife of his brother; the two of them suffered during the civil war and repression that followed the Bolshevik coup of 1917. In 1921 they were granted permission to tour abroad. They landed in Germany; aside from a 1927 tour they would never see Russia again. After a tour of the United States in 1925, they settled in Paris, which had the most important Russian emigré colony in Europe.
Medtner's music was harmonically adventurous, but had a Romantic aesthetic that was out of fashion in trendy Paris. Other locales welcomed his music more readily: he was acclaimed in the United States and Canada, and especially in England. His 1935 book The Muse and Fashion, published by Rachmaninov in Paris, expressed his disillusionment with modern music. The same year, Medtner moved to England. Failing health compelled him to give up concertizing in 1944, but he was able to make some classic recordings of his piano music through an arrangement set up by a newly formed Medtner Society, supported by the Maharajah of Mysore. These are outstanding examples of his superb playing technique and of his compositional intentions. He also made recordings of his songs, accompanying soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Medtner died at the end of a series of the heart attacks that gradually incapacitated him.
His output includes a few pieces of chamber music, over a hundred songs, and a large quantity of piano music, including a "Concert-Piece" and three concertos for piano and orchestra, his only works with orchestra. While there is a Russian flavor to his music, it really falls into the line of Schumann and Brahms, and he adopted the latter's interest in thematic unity. His canons and other contrapuntal works were well-planned, with inventive rhythms distinguishing the different lines. His harmonies tend to be low in the keyboard, giving his music a dark, brooding quality. He had strong opinions about the role of art, assigning it an almost religious role, and there is perhaps a spiritual purity to his music.Medtner was largely overlooked during the largely anti-Romantic twentieth century, but his music has recently enjoyed a sudden resurgence of interest.
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Scriabin, Medtner: Piano Concertos / Sudbin, Litton
Release Date: 02/10/2015   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2088   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Medtner: Piano Concertos / Sudbin, Neschling, São Paulo State SO
Release Date: 03/27/2007   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1588   Number of Discs: 1
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Medtner: Piano Concerto No 2;  Rachmaninov / North Carolina Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 11/24/2009   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1728   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt, Scriabin, Medtner
Release Date: 08/14/2015   Label: Champs Hill Records  
Catalog: 104   Number of Discs: 1
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Medtner: Three Piano Concertos, Etc / Stupel, Madge, Et Al
Release Date: 09/25/2001   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1258   Number of Discs: 2
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There are 130 Nikolai Medtner recordings available.

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Works

Nikolai Medtner


MOST POPULAR WORKS
I. Allegro
II. Dolce tranquillo
III. Tempo risoluto (Allegro)
I. Toccata. Allegro risoluto
II. Romanza. Andante con moto
III. Divertissement. Allegro risoluto e molto vivace
I. Con moto largamento
II. Interludium
III. Finale
No. 1. Meditazione
No. 2. Romanza
No. 3. Primavera, "Fruhlingsmarchen"
No. 4. Canzon matinata -
No. 5. Sonata tragica
No. 1. Sonata reminiscenza
No. 2. Danza graziosa -
No. 3. Danza festiva
No. 4. Canzona fluviala
No. 5. Danza rustica
No. 6. Canzona serenata
No. 7. Danza silvestra
No. 8. Alla Reminiscenza
Theme: The Song of the Water Nymph: Andante -
Variation 1: Meditation: Poco con moto e al rigore di tempo -
Variation 2: Caprice: Capriccioso -
Variation 3: Feathered Ones: Allegro capriccioso - Allegro vivo e risoluto -
Variation 4: Charms: Allegretto con moto -
Variation 5: Humoresque: Allegretto sostenuto -
Variation 6: Among the Waves: Lesto -
Variation 7: The Roar of the Crowd: Poco a poco vivace - Vivace, risoluto - Vivo -
Variation 8: Into the Forest: Andante sognando - Andante -
Variation 9: The Wood Sprite: Allegro ritmico -
Variation 10: The Elves: Prestissimo -
Variation 11: The Gnomes: Allegro risoluto -
Variation 12: Invocation: Andante maestoso -
Variation 13: The Threat: Allegro tenebroso - Con moto instantamente - Tempo I
Variation 14: Song of the Water Nymph: Andantino con moto - Agitato -
Variation 15: The Storm: Tranquillo, ma poco a poco piu mosso e crescendo - Sempre allegro agitato -
Conclusion: Andante - Maestoso
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: I Molto placido
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: II Andantino con moto
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: III Finale.: Allegro vivace
I. Allegretto -
II. Introduzione: Mesto -
III. Finale: Allegro
I. Allegro abbandonamente
II. Andantino con moto
III. Allegro con spirito
I. Introduzione: Andante con moto -
II. Allegro -
III. Tempo dell'introduzione -
IV. Allegro molto sfrenatamente, presto -
V. Quasi cadenza
I. Allegro
II. Intermezzo: Allegro -
III. Largo -
IV. Finale: Allegro risoluto
I. Canzona: Canterellando. Con fluidezza
II. Danza: Allegro scherzando
III. Ditirambo: Festivamente
I. Pastorale: Allegretto cantabile
II. Allegro moderato e cantabile
I. Romanza: Andantino con moto, ma sempre espressivo -
II. Scherzo: Allegro -
III. Meditazione: Andante con moto -
IV. Finale: Allegro non troppo
No. 1 in A flat major
No. 2. in D minor
No. 3 in C major
WORKS
No. 1. Idyll: Allegretto tranquillo e dolce
No. 2. Tragedy Fragment: Andante con moto - Adagio
No. 3. Tragedy Fragment: Allegro inquieto ma al rigore di tempo
I. Allegro
II. Dolce tranquillo
III. Tempo risoluto (Allegro)
I. Toccata. Allegro risoluto
II. Romanza. Andante con moto
III. Divertissement. Allegro risoluto e molto vivace
I. Con moto largamento
II. Interludium
III. Finale
No. 1. Andante largamento - Tranquillo - Andante
No. 2. Andante con moto, sempre cantabile
No. 1. Andantino
No. 2. Recitato - Allegro agitato - Poco meno mosso - Tempo I - Allegro agitato - Meno mosso - Coda: Agitato assai - Meno mosso instantemento
No. 1. Allegro con espressione
No. 2. Pesante: Minaccioso, sempre al rigore di tempo e sostenuto
No. 1. Allegretto frescamente - Giocoso - Tempo primo
No. 2. Molto vivace
No. 3. Narrante a piacere - Piu mosso - Tempo primo
No. 4. Sostenuto
No. 1. Meditazione
No. 2. Romanza
No. 3. Primavera, "Fruhlingsmarchen"
No. 4. Canzon matinata -
No. 5. Sonata tragica
No. 1. Danza col canto
No. 2. Danza sinfonica
No. 3. Danza fiorata
No. 4. Danza jubilosa
No. 5. Danza ondulata
No. 6. Danza ditirambica
No. 1. Sonata reminiscenza
No. 2. Danza graziosa -
No. 3. Danza festiva
No. 4. Canzona fluviala
No. 5. Danza rustica
No. 6. Canzona serenata
No. 7. Danza silvestra
No. 8. Alla Reminiscenza
No. 1. Wandrers Nachtlied II
No. 2. Mailied
No. 3. Elfenliedchen
No. 4. Im Voruberghen
No. 5. Aus Claudine von Villa-Bella, "Liebliches Kind!"
No. 6. Aus Erwin und Elmire, "Inneres Wuhlen"
No. 7. Aus Erwin und Elmire, "Sieh mich, Heil'ger, wie ich bin"
No. 8. Erster Verlust
No. 9. Gefunden
I. Vor der Arbeit (Hymn before work)
II. Am Amboss (At the Anvil)
III. Nach der Arbeit (Hymn after work)
Theme: The Song of the Water Nymph: Andante -
Variation 1: Meditation: Poco con moto e al rigore di tempo -
Variation 2: Caprice: Capriccioso -
Variation 3: Feathered Ones: Allegro capriccioso - Allegro vivo e risoluto -
Variation 4: Charms: Allegretto con moto -
Variation 5: Humoresque: Allegretto sostenuto -
Variation 6: Among the Waves: Lesto -
Variation 7: The Roar of the Crowd: Poco a poco vivace - Vivace, risoluto - Vivo -
Variation 8: Into the Forest: Andante sognando - Andante -
Variation 9: The Wood Sprite: Allegro ritmico -
Variation 10: The Elves: Prestissimo -
Variation 11: The Gnomes: Allegro risoluto -
Variation 12: Invocation: Andante maestoso -
Variation 13: The Threat: Allegro tenebroso - Con moto instantamente - Tempo I
Variation 14: Song of the Water Nymph: Andantino con moto - Agitato -
Variation 15: The Storm: Tranquillo, ma poco a poco piu mosso e crescendo - Sempre allegro agitato -
Conclusion: Andante - Maestoso
No. 1. Nixe: Veloce
No. 2. Eine Ball - Reminiscenz: Schwarmend
No. 3. Scherzo infernale: Prestissimo possibile
No. 1. Allegro commodamente
No. 2. Andantino gracile
No. 3. Tempo di valse
No. 4. Andantino tenebroso - Animato
No. 1. Andante - Vivace
No. 2. Tempo giusto
No. 3. Allegro, poco sostenuto
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: I Molto placido
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: II Andantino con moto
Piano Quintet in C major Op.posth.: III Finale.: Allegro vivace
No. 1. Prelude [Pastorale]: Allegretto con moto abbandonamente
No. 2. Bird's Tale: Allegretto con moto capriccioso e sempre leggiero
No. 3. Prelude [Tempo di Sarabanda]: Andante mobile
No. 4. Tale [Scherzo]: Allegro vivace
No. 5. Prelude [ Tender Reproach]: Allegretto, molto tranquillo e commodo
No. 6. Tale [The Organ Grinder]: Allegro - Poco piu tranquillo - Tempo I - Coda: Con moto, ma poco rubato
No. 7. Prelude [Hymn]: Allegretto tranquillo
No. 8. Tale [The Beggar]: Narrante - Vivo - Con moto - Tempo I - Vivo, leggiero - Poco piu tranquillo - Vivo
I. Allegretto -
II. Introduzione: Mesto -
III. Finale: Allegro
I. Allegro abbandonamente
II. Andantino con moto
III. Allegro con spirito
I. Introduzione: Andante con moto -
II. Allegro -
III. Tempo dell'introduzione -
IV. Allegro molto sfrenatamente, presto -
V. Quasi cadenza
I. Allegro
II. Intermezzo: Allegro -
III. Largo -
IV. Finale: Allegro risoluto
I. Canzona: Canterellando. Con fluidezza
II. Danza: Allegro scherzando
III. Ditirambo: Festivamente
I. Introduzione: Maestoso (poco quasi cadenza) -
I. Allegro appassionato -
I. Cadenza I: Tranquillo cantabile
II. Theme and Variations: Theme: Andante con moto
II. Variation 1: Tranquillo cantabile, ma con moto
II. Variation 2: L'istesso tempo ma poco piu tranquillo
II. Variation 3: Allegretto tranquillo, grazioso
II. Variation 4: Allegro molto ritmico
II. Variation 5: Allegro molto
II. Variation 6: Allegro risoluto
II. Cadenza II: Tranquillo cantabile
III. Finale: Rondo: Allegro risoluto
I. Pastorale: Allegretto cantabile
II. Allegro moderato e cantabile
I. Allegro sostenuto, concentrando -
II. L'istesso tempo [ma con entusiasmo] -
III. [Fuga]: Sempre al rigore di tempo -
IV. Tempo I, concentrando -
V. A tempo [con entusiasmo] -
VI. Coda: Sempre animato [al rigore di tempo]
I. Romanza: Andantino con moto, ma sempre espressivo -
II. Scherzo: Allegro -
III. Meditazione: Andante con moto -
IV. Finale: Allegro non troppo
No. 1 in A flat major
No. 2. in D minor
No. 3 in C major
I. Prologue: Andante cantabile
II. Allegro con impeto
III. Maestoso freddo
IV. Andantino con moto
V. Andante
VI. Allegro con humore -
VII. Allegro con ira
VIII. Allegro con grazia (quasi valse)
Introduzione: Allegretto espressivo -
I. Gesang der Nymphen
II. Geheimnisse
III. Zug der Grazien
IV. Das der Dichter spricht
I. Motto Geweihter Platz
II. Sonate-Vocalise
Theme: Allegretto grazioso [tempo di minuetto]
Variation 1
Variation 2: Allegro
Variation 3: Allegro [al rigore di tempo]
Variation 4: Intermezzo: Allegro leggierissimo e giocoso - Meno mosso - Tempo primo
Variation 5: Largamento, lugubre, ma non ritardare
Variation 6: Allegro molto


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