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