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Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943): Six Preludes; Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951): Piano Works / Yevgeny Sudbin, piano

Album Summary

>Medtner, Nikolai : Stimmungsbilder, Op. 1
>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale, Op. 51
>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies (8) for Piano, Op. 38
>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale Op. 20
>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale, Op. 26
>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies, second cycle, Op. 39
>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies (5) for Piano, Op. 39
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 5 in D major, Op. 23/4
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 6 in G minor, Op. 23/5
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 16 in G major, Op. 32/5
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 17 in F minor, Op. 32/6
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 23 in G sharp minor, Op. 32/12
>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 24 in D flat major, Op. 32/13
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Having previously released recordings of Medtner's three piano concertos as well as three of Rachmaninov's five concertante works, Yevgeny Sudbin on the present recording combines solo pieces by the two friends and fellow-composers. From Sergei Rachmaninov's rich and varied production he has chosen six of the celebrated preludes, including the celebrated 'Alla marcia' in G minor (Op.23 No.5) as well as the much-loved Prelude No.12 in G sharp minor from the Op.32 set. But Sudbin, who is a great admirer of Nikolai Medtner, opens his new release with a generous selection of that composer's solo piano music. This section begins with the Prologue from Stimmungsbilder, the eighteen-year-old composer's Opus 1, and closes with Sonata tragica, composed shortly before Medtner left Russia in 1921, never to return. It also includes three of the thirty-some Fairy Tales that Medtner composed throughout his life. 'No one tells such tales as Kolya', Rachmaninov used to joke affectionately, and with these pieces Medtner created his own, unique genre. He himself used the Russian word skazka or German Märchen to describe them, and in his liner notes Yevgeny Sudbin suggests that the creative impulse came not only from folklore but also from such diverse sources as Push­kin, Shakespeare and even the Bible. As an interpreter of both these composers, Sudbin has proven himself both in concert and on disc, with previous recordings being named Disc of the Month in Gramophone, 'Essential Recording' in BBC Music Magazine and '10/10' on ClassicsToday.com, to mention just a few of the distinctions awarded them.

Gramophone Magazine, February 2016
A wondrous disc... [Sudbin] seems to have an exceptional affinity with Medtner's language. He brings both his heart and his head into play when performing these pieces. His head tackles and illuminates textures and harmonies that might seem opaque and knotty on a first study of the scores; his heart is then harnessed to convey the extraordinary sensibility, passion and thoroughly individual cast of melody that courses through the music.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014).



Reviews

"Mood Pictures"
A perusal of Mr. Sudbin’s discography reveals that both Medtner and Rachmaninoff figure prominently. The playing on this lovely new collection is characterized by a well-judged balance between poetry and muscularity. The evocation of color is subtle, never garish. The lush harmonies and dense textures favored by both composers are elegantly navigated by the pianist. Mr. Sudbin’s shaping of the lyrical/dramatic arc of each piece, whether the miniatures or more extended compositions, is wholly compelling. Articulation and rhythmic precision are executed at a consistently high level. Mr. Sudbin’s affection for this late Romantic material shines through in every measure and is clearly verbalized in his enthusiastic liner notes. The sound pickup attained by the engineers is a perfect synthesis of detail and ambience. This is especially true of the Super Audio format.
Submitted on 04/01/16 by Allen Cohen 
Unbelievable performances of 7 Medtner works and 6 Rachmaninov Preludes
This SACD consists of 7 primarily short works of Nikolai Medtner and 6 short preludes by Sergei Rachmaninov. Those of us that gravitate toward Medtner’s piano pieces simply can’t get enough of them, and it is rare indeed to hear any of them performed well live. And while nothing can replace the magic of a live performance, Yevgeny Sudbin’s work recorded herein is a wonderful substitute. His Medtner *sings*, each beautiful melody pouring forth from the speakers. The prologue from Stimmungsbilder (track 1) is just captivating, and each of the 3 Fairy Tale works (Op. 51 No. 3, Op. 20 No. 1, and Op. 26 No. 1) is a thing of beauty unto itself. In the extremely well written liner notes, Mr. Sudbin describes the polyrhythms that are a hallmark of Medtner’s music, and the way in which they interact to create the central melodies of some of the pieces. It is clear that Mr. Sudbin loves these works, and that he takes great care in bringing them to life. And the results are glorious.

The 6 Rachmaninov Preludes featured here (Op 23 No. 4 and No. 5, Op. 32 No. 5, No. 6, No. 12, and No. 13) are equally challenging, the musical material being more dense and less ethereal sounding – for lack of a better way to describe it. Mr. Sudbin uses the term “celestial”, which is also quite accurate. The first in D Major is gorgeous and flowing, while the second presented in G minor is particularly well known and exceptionally well played, the rum-pa-pa-pum rhythm feeling natural with Mr. Sudbin at the helm. The prelude in G Major, a short 2 minute and 48 second work, is just one of the most gorgeous things ever written for the piano, and the presentation here is simply stunning. The last three preludes here, in F minor, G sharp minor (the bell-like sounds here are unbelievably gripping) and D flat major, are also extremely well played, but for me the G Major prelude is a highlight of this CD.

This is an amazing recording, each work challenging even for a virtuoso as talented as Mr. Sudbin and played with care and the knowledge that the music must be brought to life. And Mr. Sudbin gives us everything he has toward that end. This is a must-have SACD. Very Highly Recommended!

Submitted on 04/19/16 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Medtner, Nikolai : Stimmungsbilder, Op. 1 :: Prologue
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: circa 1895-1902

>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale, Op. 51 :: no 3
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1928

>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies (8) for Piano, Op. 38
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: ?1919-22

>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale Op. 20 :: no 1
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1909

>Medtner, Nikolai : Fairy Tale, Op. 26 :: no 1
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: ?1910-12

>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies, second cycle, Op. 39 :: no 5
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: ?1919-20

>Medtner, Nikolai : Forgotten Melodies (5) for Piano, Op. 39
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: ?1919-20

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 5 in D major, Op. 23/4
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1903

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 6 in G minor, Op. 23/5
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1901

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 16 in G major, Op. 32/5
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1910

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 17 in F minor, Op. 32/6
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1910

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 23 in G sharp minor, Op. 32/12
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1910

>Rachmaninov, Sergey : Prelude for piano no 24 in D flat major, Op. 32/13
  • Performer: Yevgeny Sudbin (Piano)
  • Notes: St George's Bristol, England (02/2009); St George's Bristol, England (04/2012); St George's Bristol, England (06/2009); St George's Bristol, England (07/2014); St George's Bristol, England (10/2014); St George's Bristol, England (11/2014)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1910