Medtner: Violin Sonata No. 3; Three Nocturnes; Fairy Tale

Medtner: Violin Sonata No. 3; Three Nocturnes; Fairy Tale

by Laurence Kayaleh
     
 

With the exception of a piano quintet, the only chamber music that Medtner composed was for violin and piano. Most of his compositional energy was spent on solo piano works and songs. He didn't write much for it, but the violin and piano were an ideal combination for him. He could write lyrical melodies for the violin, but also use it as a newSee more details below

Overview

With the exception of a piano quintet, the only chamber music that Medtner composed was for violin and piano. Most of his compositional energy was spent on solo piano works and songs. He didn't write much for it, but the violin and piano were an ideal combination for him. He could write lyrical melodies for the violin, but also use it as a new texture to contrast the piano in his polyphonic writing. The three "Nocturnes, Op. 16," represent this best. They are mainly songlike and poetic, yet are more active than a nocturne is usually expected to be, almost narrative in a way. Each is overcast by pessimism or regret, with the last one showing a little hopefulness as well. The "Sonata No. 3" and Heifetz's arrangement of one of the piano Fairy Tales are even more narrative, firmly rooted in the Romantic ideal, although the sonata is highly structured. The way Medtner can manipulate motives so intricately and yet create moods that could be almost as complex and tell a good story is the key to his style. There was plenty of personal history behind the sonata, reflected in sounds of Russian folk tunes and Orthodox chants. Violinist Laurence Kayaleh, who has a warm, rich tone in every register, and pianist Paul Stewart work toward an equilibrium between the formal structural elements and the Romantic feelings so that both are evident, but neither overwhelms the other. On the other hand, Kayaleh could have even brought more fire to the very end of the sonata nicknamed "Epic" because she is in danger of being overshadowed by Stewart's energy. It's partly because the two performers recognize that this music is closer to true duets between the instruments than just a piano accompanying the violin and partly because the recording's sound is so well balanced between the violin and piano that there is the impression of poise throughout. The sound, although not ringing through a vast hall, could be more welcoming and intimate to increase the emotional impact of their playing, especially in the "Nocturnes." Regardless, for fans of Medtner this is a welcome addition to the small collection of recordings of his chamber music.

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Editorial Reviews

Dallas Morning News - Scott Cantrell
[Grade: A-] This is music beautifully and often dazzlingly written for both instruments, and it's played with sympathy and élan by violinist Laurence Kayaleh and pianist Paul Stewart. Bottom line: Unjustly neglected music, splendidly played and recorded.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/28/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313029877
catalogNumber:
8570298
Rank:
354267

Tracks

  1. Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in E minor ("Epic"), Op. 57  - Nikolay Medtner  - Laurence Kayaleh  - Paul Stewart
  2. Nocturnes (3) for violin & piano, Op. 16  - Nikolay Medtner  - Laurence Kayaleh  - Paul Stewart
  3. Fairy Tales (Skazki) (2) for piano, Op. 20: No. 1, in B flat minor  - Nikolay Medtner  - Laurence Kayaleh  - Paul Stewart

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