A treasure island of piano music — Spiegel Online
The Grand Piano label continues to uncover gems of the piano repertoire. — Fanfare

MEDTNER, NIKOLAY (1880–1951)

Complete Piano Sonatas • 2

  • Paul Stewart, piano

Nikolay Medtner’s 14 piano sonatas are considered among the most significant achievement in this genre by any composer since Beethoven. After the success of his First Piano Sonata (GP617) he turned to Goethe for inspiration, and the life and loveaffirming Sonata-Triad Op. 11 translates the poet’s words of passion, suffering and redemption into sound. The capricious, mysterious and beautiful Sonata-Skazka is a masterpiece in miniature and was once Medtner’s most performed work. Dating from his years of exile, the Sonata-Idyll, Medtner’s fourteenth and final Sonata, is notable for its eloquent themes that linger long in the memory.

This recording was made on a modern instrument: Fazioli, F2780681


Sonaten-Triade, Op. 11 (1907) (00:22:00 )
No. 1 in A-Flat Major (00:11:04)
No. 2 in D Minor, "Sonata-Elegy" (00:07:22)
No. 3 in C Major (00:10:05)
Sonata-Skazka in C Minor, Op. 25, No. 1, "Märchen-Sonate" (1911) (00:12:35 )
I. Allegro abbandonamente (00:05:54)
II. Andantino con moto (00:03:43)
III. Allegro con spirito (00:04:02)
Sonata-Idylle in G Major, Op. 56 (1937) (00:13:00 )
I. Pastorale: Allegretto cantabile (00:04:18)
II. Allegro moderato e cantabile (sempre al rigore di tempo) (00:08:55)
Total Time: 00:55:23

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.


“Paul Stewart’s love and admiration for Medtner’s music come through strongly in these performances, which require a great range of treatment from the gentlest of touches, sometimes merely brushing the keys, whilst at others displaying a towering emotional intensity. His ability to bring out the poetry in Medtner is impressive and the recording is crisp, which combination makes for a hugely satisfying experience. ” – MusicWeb International

“Paul Stewart has a poetic sensibility that seems perfect for these works. His technique, though considerable, is not worn on his sleeve but instead directed toward the most musical of readings. …Medtner is Medtner and how ever that stacks up, this is very worthwhile piano music.” – Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

“All three [pieces] call for a pianist well versed and technically able to project the big romantic gestures, the Canadian pianist, Paul Stewart, well able to meet any virtuoso challenge, his highly detailed programme notes that come with the disc, evidence of his knowledge and belief in the composer. ” – David Denton