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MEDTNER, NIKOLAY (1880–1951)

Complete Piano Sonatas • 1

  • Paul Stewart, piano

Like his near-contemporary Rachmaninov, who called him ‘the greatest composer of our time’, Nikolay Medtner was a composer, pianist and an exile from his native Russia. His portfolio of works includes a remarkable series of pieces for his own instrument, including fourteen sonatas and some hugely evocative, deeply poetic miniatures. Medtner’s gift for melody is immediately discerned in the early Sonatina in G minor. The Sonata No. 1, Op. 5, his first large-scale work, enshrines autobiographical elements and is both intense and spiritually charged. Poetry and nostalgia flood the beautiful Sonata-Reminiscenza in A minor. This is the first volume of a complete cycle of the Medtner Piano Sonatas.


Sonatina in G Minor (1898) (00:07:23 )
I. Allegretto, ma non troppo (00:02:42)
II. Scherzo: Allegro (00:04:47)
Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5 (1903) (00:31:00 )
I. Allegro (00:13:50)
II. Intermezzo: Allegro - (00:03:41)
III. Largo - (00:08:43)
IV. Finale: Allegro risoluto (00:09:12)
Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38: No. 1. Sonata reminiscenza (1922) (00:15:27)
Total Time: 00:58:22

The Artist(s)

Paul Stewart Canadian pianist Paul Stewart launched his career in 1981 with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with the Toronto Symphony. Since then he has appeared frequently in concert throughout Canada, the USA (including Carnegie Hall, New York and the Kennedy Center, Washington), Mexico, South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa and Asia. He is often invited as guest-soloist with major orchestras in Canada and abroad, and has collaborated with such artists as James Ehnes, Maureen Forrester, Ben Heppner, Jessye Norman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, and the Leipzig, Prague and Moscow String Quartets. In 1995, his British début at Wigmore Hall, London was broadcast by the BBC, and a performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 4 with the Moscow State Radio Orchestra was broadcast throughout Russia and subsequently released on a bestselling CD. Other recordings include works by Beethoven, Britten, Honegger, Liszt, Prokofiev, Ravel, Schubert and Strauss. For Grand Piano he is currently recording the complete piano sonatas of Nikolay Medtner, a composer he has championed and performed on four continents. Paul Stewart has been a Professor of Piano at the Université de Montréal, Canada since 2002.

The Composer(s)

Nikolay Karlovich Medtner was Moscow born-and-bred, although his ancestry was German. As a child he showed musical promise, and studied piano with his mother until his acceptance into the Moscow Conservatory at the age of twelve. Medtner’s teachers during these years included Vasily Safonov for piano, Anton Arensky for harmony and Sergey Taneyev for counterpoint, the latter having a particularly strong influence on his musical development. Taneyev instilled in all his students a respect for the old masters—Palestrina, Bach, Mozart and especially Beethoven—and stressed contrapuntal and structural command as essential to any composer’s craft.


“This is pianism at its pinnacle.” – Fanfare

“Paul Stewart adds a voice of exceptional distinction, finely presented and recorded.” – Gramophone

“It is all fresh and wonderfully alive.” – American Record Guide