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Medtner: Piano Concerto No. 3; Scriabin: Piano Concerto, Op. 20 / Yevgeny Sudbin, piano; Bergen PO; Litton

Album Summary

>Scriabin, Alexander : Concerto for Piano in F sharp minor, Op. 20
>Medtner, Nikolai : Concerto for Piano no 3 in E minor ("Ballade"), Op. 60
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Yevgeny Sudbin has already demonstrated his great affinity with the music of the composers united here: in 2007, his Scriabin solo recital (BIS-1568) garnered universal acclaim - 'the most well-chosen, brilliantly played single-disc selection of Scriabin's piano music currently available' wrote ClassicsToday.com - and his recordings of Nikolai Medtner's first and second piano concertos (BIS-1588 and BIS-1728) were likewise widely admired, with the first disc receiving a Gramophone Award nomination and the second being dubbed an 'Essential Recording' in BBC Music Magazine. For the present disc, Sudbin has written his own liner notes, stating with conviction his opinion that both concertos are 'absolute masterworks - unjustly underperformed and constantly underappreciated'. He goes on to make a fascinating comparison of the two 'radically different' works, composed by near contemporaries, but 45 years apart: Scriabin wrote his one piano concerto in 1896 at the age of 24, while Medtner began his Third Concerto in 1940, at a ripe 60. As Sudbin points out, it would be natural to expect the later concerto to be more 'modern', especially given the radical advances that took place during this period. Nothing could be further from the truth, however: ever the visionary, the young Scriabin wrote a concerto which may appear relatively conventional compared to his later works, but still sounds more experimental than Medtner's Third. With great empathy for, and insights into each composer, Yevgeny Sudbin takes on the great challenges - musical as well as technical - posed by their two works, with the eminent support of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, which under chief conductor Andrew Litton has repeatedly proven itself in Russian repertoire by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.

The Guardian, 8th January 2015
Sudbin is wonderfully dashing in the Scriabin, where the rapturous, refined playing of the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton also really comes into its own, especially in the finale, but he makes heavier weather of the much darker, almost gruff Medtner; the performance never really takes wing.

The Telegraph, 18th January 2015
In Litton and the Bergen orchestra, Sudbin has found like-minded partners who are willing to follow him in the music's liquid flow, and the result is a performance that is an exultantly truthful tribute to Scriabin's individuality.

BBC Music Magazine, February 2015
These are superb performances of two underestimated concertos...this is unquestionably an engaging account, Sudbin's glistening and expressive virtuosity matched by Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic's idiomatic playing...Even more revelatory is their performance of Medtner's Third...[Sudbin] seems alert to its every note and creates a compelling journey.

MusicWeb International, 13th February 2015
In the Scriabin Concerto, Sudbin displays formidable technical virtuosity, in a performance contrasting emotional intensity with melancholy and tranquillity...I cannot understand why this melodious concerto is not taken up by more pianists...On the evidence here, there is no doubt in my mind that Sudbin's discographical legacy is going from strength to strength.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2015
Sudbin has found in Andrew Litton a wonderful comrade-in-arms and the characterisation offered by his Bergen Philharmonic is one of the pleasures of this recording. The interplay between pianist and orchestra is unfailingly chamber-musical and reactive.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
Young Sudbin is up to every technical and interpretive demand. Litton, called one of the best orchestral accompanists on the planet, continues an impressive and extensive track record with piano concertos. Bursting with energy, broad melodic lines, and perfect ensemble, these lesser-known Russian works will find favor with people who regularly enjoy Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofieff.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (11/2013).



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Works Details

>Scriabin, Alexander : Concerto for Piano in F sharp minor, Op. 20
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Conductor: Andrew Litton
  • Running Time: 26 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1896

>Medtner, Nikolai : Concerto for Piano no 3 in E minor ("Ballade"), Op. 60
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Conductor: Andrew Litton
  • Running Time: 35 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: circa 1940-1943