Nikolai Medtner

Nikolai Karlovich Medtner (Russian: Никола́й Ка́рлович Ме́тнер, Nikoláj Kárlovič Métner; 5 January 1880 [O.S. 24 December 1879] – 13 November 1951) was a Russian composer and pianist. After a period of comparative obscurity in the twenty-five years immediately after his death, he is now becoming recognized as one of the most significant Russian composers for the piano.

A younger contemporary of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin, he wrote a substantial number of compositions, all of which include the piano. His works include fourteen piano sonatas, three violin sonatas, three piano concerti, a piano quintet, two works for two pianos, many shorter piano pieces, a few shorter works for violin and piano, and 108 songs including two substantial works for vocalise. His 38 Skazki (generally known as "Fairy Tales" in English but more correctly translated as "Tales") for piano solo contain some of his most original music.

Metner N.K. Postcard-1910
Nikolai Medtner, postcard (1910)


The youngest of five children, Nikolai Medtner was born in Moscow on Christmas Eve 1879, according to the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. The Gregorian calendar, in use in the West at the time, and by which all dates are calculated today, gives his date of birth as 5 January 1880.

Medtner first took piano lessons from his mother until the age of ten. He also had lessons from his mother's brother Fyodor Goedicke (the father of his more famous cousin Alexander Goedicke).[1][2] Then he entered the Moscow Conservatory. He graduated in 1900 at the age of 20, taking the Anton Rubinstein prize, having studied under Pavel Pabst, Wassily Sapellnikoff, Vasily Safonov and Sergei Taneyev among others. Despite his conservative musical tastes, Medtner's compositions and his pianism were highly regarded by his contemporaries. To the consternation of his family, but with the support of his former teacher Taneyev, he soon rejected a career as a performer and turned to composition, partly inspired by the intellectual challenge of Ludwig van Beethoven's late piano sonatas and string quartets. Among his students in this period was Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov.

During the years leading up to the 1917 Russian Revolution, Medtner lived at home with his parents. During this time Medtner fell in love with Anna Mikhaylovna Bratenskaya (1877–1965), a respected violinist and the young wife of his older brother Emil. Later, when World War I broke out, Emil was interned in Germany where he had been studying. He generously gave Anna the freedom to marry his brother. Medtner and Anna were married in 1918.

Unlike his friend Rachmaninoff, Medtner did not leave Russia until well after the Revolution. Rachmaninoff secured Medtner a tour of the United States and Canada in 1924; his recitals were often all-Medtner evenings consisting of sonatas interspersed with songs and shorter pieces. Medtner never adapted himself to the commercial aspects of touring and his concerts became infrequent. Esteemed in England, he and Anna settled in London in 1936, modestly teaching, playing and composing to a strict daily routine.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Medtner's income from German publishers disappeared, and during this hardship ill-health became an increasing problem. His devoted pupil Edna Iles gave him shelter in Warwickshire where he completed his Third Piano Concerto, first performed in 1944.

In 1949 a Medtner Society was founded in London by His Highness Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, the Maharajah of Mysore (the princely state in southern India). The Maharajah was an honorary Fellow of Trinity College of Music, London, in 1945 and also the first president of the Philharmonia Concert Society, London. He founded the Medtner Society to record all of Medtner's works. Medtner, already in declining health, recorded his three Piano Concertos and some sonatas, chamber music, numerous songs and shorter works before his death in London in 1951. In one of these recordings he partnered Benno Moiseiwitsch in his two-piano work entitled "Russian Round-Dance", Op 58, No. 1; in another he accompanied Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in several of his lieder, including The Muse, a Pushkin setting from 1913. In gratitude to his patron, Medtner dedicated his Third Piano Concerto to the Maharajah of Mysore.

Medtner died at his home, 69 Wentworth Road, Golders Green, London in 1951, and is buried alongside his brother Emil in Hendon Cemetery.


Piano sonatas

The First Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 5, is a four-movement work from 1901–3[3] suggesting the style of Scriabin or Rachmaninoff, but nonetheless original. Medtner's craft gained subtlety and complexity in later years, but this work is already evidence of his mastery of musical structure. An opening Allegro, dramatic and imbued like much Russian music with a bell-like sonority, is separated by an Intermezzo from a Largo divoto that reaches a Maestoso climax before plunging into the headlong Allegro risoluto finale.

The Second, Third and Fourth piano sonatas are unrelated one-movement works. They were written during the period 1904–07 and published as the "Sonata-Triad", Op. 11. The first of the trio, in A-flat, is an ecstatic work with attractive, lyrical themes, prefaced by a poem by Goethe. The second, in D minor, is entitled "Sonate-Elegie". It opens slowly with one of Medtner's best-known themes and closes with an animated coda (Allegro molto doppio movimento, in D major) based on the second subject. The third, in C, returns to the lyricism of the first.

The Fifth and formerly the most popular of his sonatas is the G minor, Op. 22, written in 1909–1910. The piece alternates a slow introduction with a three-theme, propulsive sonata movement, one of whose themes was heard in the Introduction. The emotional center of this compact work (sixteen minutes in duration) is the Interludium: Andante lugubre: this comprises most of the development section and contains some of Medtner's loveliest harmonies. There are historic recordings by Moiseiwitch and Gilels.

The Sixth Sonata followed soon after, the first of two that comprise his Op. 25. It bears the title "Sonata-Skazka", usually translated as "Fairy Tale Sonata". This short work in C minor, written in 1910–11, is in three movements; the second and third are connected. The first movement is a compact sonata-form, the slow movement rondo-like (the similarity to one melody by Rachmaninoff is coincidental, as the latter was not written until some thirty years later). A minatory final march with variations ends with a Coda that revisits earlier material. This was the only Medtner sonata that Rachmaninoff performed.

The other half of Op. 25 is entirely different. The Seventh Sonata in E minor, Night Wind, after Fyodor Tyutchev's 1832 poem "Of what do you howl, night wind...?" (Russian: О чем ты воешь, ветр ночной...?, tr. O chem ty voesh', vetr nochnoy...?), an excerpt of which provides an epigraph, was completed in 1911 and dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninoff, who immediately recognised its greatness. It is a vast one-movement work, lasting almost 35 minutes, in two major parts: an Introduction and Allegro sonata-form, followed by a Fantasy capped by a shadowy but active Coda, the latter entirely and ingeniously based on material presented in the Introduction. Under the title "Sonata" Medtner added a note: "The whole piece is in an epic spirit" (Вся пьеса в эпическом духе). Geoffrey Tozer said: "it has the reputation of being a fearsomely difficult work of extraordinary length, exhausting to play and to hear, but of magnificent quality and marvelous invention."

The Eighth "Sonata-Ballade" in F-sharp, Op. 27, began as a one-movement work, and was expanded into its present form over the period 1912–14. It comprises a Ballade, Introduction and Finale. The tonality and some of the material make passing reference to Chopin's Barcarolle. The first movement opens with one of Medtner's lovely pastoral melodies. The finale, like the Piano Quintet, has a thematic connection with his Pushkin setting The Muse. Medtner himself recorded this work.[4]

The one-movement Ninth Sonata in A minor, Op. 30, was published without a title but was known as the "War Sonata" among Medtner's friends; a footnote "during the war 1914–1917" appeared in the 1959 Collected Edition.

The Tenth "Sonata-reminiscenza" in A minor, Op. 38, No. 1, commences a set of eight pieces entitled "Forgotten Melodies (First Cycle)". Two further cycles followed, published as Op. 39 and 40. Both this and the following sonata were completed in 1920, the year before Medtner emigrated. This single movement is one of Medtner's most poetic creations; as the title indicates, its character is nostalgic and wistful. Other pieces in opus 38 contain variants of the Sonata's opening theme, such as the concluding "Alla Reminiscenza". This sonata is nowadays the most often performed.

The Eleventh, "Sonata Tragica" in C minor, Op. 39, No. 5, concludes "Forgotten Melodies (Second Cycle)". There is some repetition of themes in this set as well—the piece which precedes the Sonata, "Canzona Matinata", contains a theme which recurs in the Sonata, and according to Medtner's wishes both pieces are to be played attacca—without pause. This is also a single movement sonata-allegro form, but Allegro, dramatic and ferocious, with three themes of which one (the reminiscence from "Canzona Matinata") does not return. A violent coda concludes. This sonata is well served by recordings, including one by Medtner in 1947.[5]

The Twelfth Sonata, entitled "Romantica" in B-flat minor, Op. 53, No. 1, was completed at the end of 1930, along with its twin. It was premièred in Glasgow in 1931. Returning to a four-movement form, it consists of a Romance (B-flat minor), Scherzo (E-flat minor), Meditazione (B minor), and Finale (B-flat minor). The ending quotes his Sonata-Skazka, Op. 25, No. 1.

The Thirteenth Sonata, the "Minacciosa"[6] ("menacing") in F minor, Op. 53, No. 2, is another one-movement work. It is highly chromatic, and contains a fugue. Medtner described it as "my most contemporary composition, for it reflects the threatening atmosphere of contemporary events". Marc-André Hamelin described it as "the most concentrated 15 minutes of music one could ever hope to play or listen to". It was dedicated to the Canadian pianist and pupil of Scriabin, Alfred La Liberté, one of Medtner's most loyal supporters.

The last of the sonatas, "Sonata-Idyll" in G major, Op. 56, was completed in 1937. It consists of two movements: a short Allegretto cantabile Pastorale and a sonata allegro Allegro moderato e cantabile (sempre al rigore di tempo).

Other works

Tale from Op. 51, No.3

Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 33 (1914–18). Dedicated to the composer's mother, this one-movement work opens with an exposition section setting out the material for the work, the opening pages of which erupt with fireworks from the piano against a surging orchestral statement of the subject. A set of variations make up the central development before the opening returns two thirds of the way through the piece. Eventually the coda sets out the romantic "big tune" before the final pages lead to an unexpectedly bittersweet ending.

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 50 (1920–27). Dedicated to Rachmaninoff, who dedicated his own Fourth Concerto to Medtner. In three movements: Toccata, and a Romanza from which follows a Divertimento. The first movement is propulsive with kinetic energy, and there is much dialogue between piano and orchestra (a subsidiary theme resembles the Fairy Tale from the Op. 14 (1906–07) pair, the March of the Paladin). The Romanza and Divertimento are each in their own way varied in character, the Divertimento particularly rich in inspiration.

Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade", Op. 60, 1940–43. The factors which led to the creation of this work are closely connected to the circumstances of his final years. It is dedicated to his generous patron, the Maharajah of Mysore. Three connected movements: the first, Con moto largamente, sustained and profound, slowly developing motion and energy; the second an Interludium, Allegro, molto sostenuto, misterioso quotes the first movement and prefigures the finale; a lengthy Allegro molto. Svegliando, eroico vigorously concludes the work. Medtner recorded all three Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1947.

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E minor, Op. 57 (1938). Recorded by David Oistrakh, among others. A vast work in four movements, a counterpart to his Night Wind Piano Sonata, No. 7. Introduzione – Andante meditamente, Scherzo – Allegro molto vivace, leggiero, Andante con moto, Finale – Allegro molto. A motto theme in the Introduction juxtaposes chords quietly but insistently, joined by a melody on the violin. The melody becomes the first theme of the – lengthy – sonata-form movement that follows, juxtaposed with other themes including a march in imitation. The folksy and syncopated Scherzo in A minor, thematically related to the opening movement's faster sections, is in Rondo-form. After a reminiscence of the motto, the Andante is a lament in F minor, extremely Russian in sentiment. The virtuoso Finale has thematic elements related to Russian Orthodox liturgical music (Medtner was born Lutheran but late in life converted to Orthodox).

The Piano Quintet in C major, Op. posth., was published after the composer's death. He worked on sketches of the work from 1903 until its completion in 1949. Medtner considered it the ultimate summary of his musical life. Due to Medtner's illness, the piano part in the work's premiere was taken by Colin Horsley. Medtner's recording of the work with the Aeolian Quartet, unpublished at the time, has recently been released on the St Laurent label.


Geoffrey Tozer recorded almost all of Medtner's works for the piano including all the concertos and sonatas. Hamish Milne has recorded most of the solo piano works, while Geoffrey Douglas Madge, Konstantin Scherbakov and Yevgeny Sudbin have recorded the three piano concertos. Other pianists who championed Medtner's work and left behind recordings include Benno Moiseiwitsch, Sviatoslav Richter, Edna Iles, Emil Gilels, Yevgeny Svetlanov and Earl Wild. In modern times, pianists noted for their advocacy include Marc-André Hamelin, who is responsible for the first-ever complete recording of all 14 piano sonatas, Malcolm Binns, Irina Mejoueva (ja Wikipedia), Nikolai Demidenko, Anna Zassimova, Boris Berezovsky, Paul Stewart, Dmitri Alexeev, Evgeny Kissin, Andrey Ponochevny, Daniil Trifonov, and Alessandro Taverna.

Far fewer singers have tackled the songs. Medtner himself recorded a selection with the sopranos Oda Slobodskaya, Tatiana Makushina, Margaret Ritchie and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. In recent times Susan Gritton and Ludmilla Andrew have recorded complete CDs with Geoffrey Tozer, as has Caroline Vitale with Peter Baur. The bass-baritone Vassily Savenko has recorded a considerable number of Medtner songs with Boris Berezovsky, Alexander Blok and Victor Yampolsky. A handful of other singers have included Medtner songs in compilations; particularly notable are historic recordings by Zara Dolukhanova and Irina Arkhipova. However, many songs are not available on CD, and some await their first recording. A substantial two-CD set, presenting fifty-four Medtner songs, accompanied by Iain Burnside, has appeared in 2018.

Medtner recorded piano rolls of some of his works for Welte-Mignon in 1923 and Duo-Art in 1925, before his later studio recordings for Capitol Records and other labels.

In 2017 the Ukrainian pianist Darya Dadykina and the Russian pianist Vasily Gvozdetsky founded the International Nikolai Medtner Society in Berlin to popularize is work and to advance cultural exchange in and around Europe. In October/November 2018 the society organized the 1. International Nikolai Medtner Music Festival in Berlin, which brings together artists and musicologists to perform and discuss his work (see the festival programm [1]).


Medtner's one book, The Muse and the Fashion, being a defence of the foundations of the art of music (1935, reprinted 1957 and 1978) was a statement of his artistic credo and reaction to some of the trends of the time. He believed strongly that there were immutable laws to music, whose essence was in song. The English translation of The Muse and the Fashion by Alfred Swan (1951) is hard to find outside US libraries. Scans of both the Russian and English versions are downloadable from

Print sources

Barrie Martyn's Nicolas Medtner: His Life and Music (ISBN 0-85967-959-4) is a scholarly account of the composer's life and works. It provides the biographical context of every composition along with musical analysis or commentary. Extracts from letters, contemporary sources, and compositions are interspersed throughout the narrative, along with a good number of photographs.

After Medtner's death, the Mysore Foundation sponsored the publication of Medtner: A Memorial Volume, also titled Nicolas Medtner (1879–1951): A Tribute to his Art and Personality. It contains photographs and essays from his widow, friends, critics, musicians, composers, and admirers. A few of the contributors were: Alfred Swan, translator of Medtner's The Muse and the Fashion into English, Ivan Ilyin, Ernest Newman, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Marcel Dupré, Russian music critic Leonid Sabeneev, Canadian pianist and close friend of the composer Alfred La Liberté, singers Margaret Ritchie, Tatania Makushina and Oda Slobodskaya, and Medtner himself via extracts from Muse and the Fashion. The editor of the volume was Richard Holt.

Robert Rimm's The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight (ISBN 1-57467-072-7) contains a chapter on Medtner and Rachmaninoff.

In 2004, Natalia Konsistorum published, in Russian, Nikolai Karlovich Medtner: Portrait of a Composer (ISBN 3-89487-500-3). The book is available in a German translation by Christoph Flamm and is notable for the two CDs it contains with original recordings of a variety of Medtner's works.

There have been numerous dissertations on Medtner's music. One of the most influential is Der russische Komponist Nikolaj Metner : Studien und Materialien by Christoph Flamm. Originally presented as the author's Ph.D thesis (Heidelberg, 1995), it was published by Kuhn (ISBN 3-928864-24-6, 1995, out of print). It includes letters, reviews and other documents in German, Russian, English and French, a bibliography and partial discography.

In 2003, David J. Skvorak wrote a doctoral thesis Thematic unity in Nicolas Medtner's works for piano : Skazki, sonatas, and piano quintet at the University of Cincinnati, published by UMI. It contains theoretical analyses of several of Medtner's works.

For details of other publications, including dissertations at US Universities listed on the WorldCat library database, see

Adaptations and citations

Bart Berman composed Variations and Fugue based on the theme in Medtner's Theme with Variations, Op. 55 in 2009.[7] The author Philip Pullman declared Medtner as his favourite composer during a short interview available on the BBC website in September 2011 (

References and footnotes

  1. ^ Hyperion Records
  2. ^ Robert Rimm, The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight
  3. ^ "Sonata in F minor, Op 5". Hyperion Records. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  4. ^ Medtner recorded it in 1947. See Op.27 discography at
  5. ^ See Op.39 discography @ which notes a recording of Op.39 nos.3-5 performed by the composer.
  6. ^ Martyn, Barrie. "Medtner, Nicolas § Works". In Deane L. Root (ed.). Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Gabriel, Hod (2009). המאסטרו פרק 3 [The Maestro Chapter 3]. no-R (in Hebrew). Israel. Archived from the original (article and video) on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2011-08-18.

External links


1880 in music

This article is about music-related events in 1880.

Alexander Sverjensky

Alexander Borisovich Sverjensky (Александр Борисович Сверженский) (26 March 1901 – 3 October 1971) was a Russian-born Australian pianist and teacher.

Sverjensky was born in Riga, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1901. He started piano lessons at age 12. From age 14, he studied at the Petrograd Conservatory under Alexander Glazunov. (Some sources say he studied under Sergei Rachmaninoff or Alexander Siloti.) He also studied law at Tomsk.

In 1922 he left Russia for China. He accompanied the soprano Lydia Lipkovska on a tour of China, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, and then appeared as a soloist in Europe. He decided to settle permanently in Australia in 1925. He appeared in many recitals and concerts throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He was the first person to play the music of Sergei Prokofiev in Australia, and also championed other Russian composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Alexander Scriabin, Nikolai Medtner, Mily Balakirev, Glazunov and Rachmaninoff. He was naturalised a British subject in 1930. He first started appearing as a soloist with the ABC Sydney Orchestra (forerunner of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) in 1933, and he founded his own chamber music trio in 1936. He was the first pianist to play Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, in 1941 under Percy Code.From 1938 he became a piano teacher at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, and had a profound influence on a generation of Australian and New Zealand pianists and their own students. These included Nancy Salas, Malcolm Williamson, Larry Sitsky, Romola Costantino, Roger Woodward, Richard Farrell, Stephanie McCallum, Anne Harvey (mother of Michael Kieran Harvey), Neta Maughan (mother and teacher of Tamara Anna Cislowska), Daniel Herscovitch, Julie Adam, Grant Foster, Rhondda Gillespie, Robert Weatherburn, Tamás Ungár, David Miller, Helen Quach, Alison Bauld, Garry Laycock, Pamela Sverjensky, Suzanne Cooper, Julia Brimo, Vladimir Pleshakov, Helen Priestner Edmonds and Edward Theodore. He retired from his teaching position in 1969.

Alexander Sverjensky was married three times. First was Mary Murdoch in 1927; they divorced in 1943. Two months later he married Enith Clarke, a piano teacher. They divorced in 1951, and a month later he married Isla Draper.

He died in Sydney on 3 October 1971, survived by his third wife and two sons (one from his first marriage).

The National Library of Australia holds a collection of his programs and other papers.

Alfred La Liberté

Alfred La Liberté (10 February 1882 – 7 May 1952) was a Canadian composer, pianist, writer on music, and music educator. He was a disciple and close personal friend of Alexander Scriabin. He was also an admirer of Marcel Dupré and Nikolai Medtner. Dupré notably dedicated his Variations, Opus 22 for piano to him and Medtner dedicated his Sonata minacciosa, Opus 53 no. 2 and his song The Captive, Opus 52 no. 7 to La Liberté. Most of his own compositions remain unfinished. He also contributed articles to Le Passe-Temps, including one on Scriabin in May 1946.

Anatoly Alexandrov (composer)

Anatoly Nikolayevich Alexandrov (Russian: Анато́лий Никола́евич Алекса́ндров) (May 25, 1888 [O.S. May 13], Moscow – April 16, 1982, Moscow), PAU, was a Russian composer of works for piano and for other instruments, and pianist. His initial works had a mystical element, but he downplayed this to better fit socialist realism. He led a somewhat retiring life, but received several honors.

Alexandrov was the son of a Professor of Tomsk University. He attended the Moscow Conservatory (which he left in 1915), where he was a pupil of Nikolai Zhilyayev, Sergei Taneyev and Sergei Vasilenko (theory), Alexander Ilyinsky (composition) and Konstantin Igumnov (pianoforte). His early music revealed the influence of Nikolai Medtner and Alexander Scriabin. He was appointed Professor at the Moscow Conservatory in 1923.Viktor Belyaev, Alexandrov's first biographer, wrote in 1926: "If Myaskovsky is a thinker, and Feinberg a psychologist, then Alexandrov is, before anything else, a poet." Alexandrov was also a strong proponent of Stanchinsky and edited much of his compositions for publication.


Divertimento (Italian: [divertiˈmento]; from the Italian divertire "to amuse") is a musical genre, with most of its examples from the 18th century. The mood of the divertimento is most often lighthearted (as a result of being played at social functions) and it is generally composed for a small ensemble. The term is used to describe a wide variety of secular (non-religious) instrumental works for soloist or chamber ensemble. It is usually a kind of music entertainment, although it could also be applied to a more serious genre. After 1780, the term generally designated works that were informal or light.

Dmitri Alexeev

Dmitri Alexeev (Russian: Дмитрий Константинович Алексеев, Dmitrij Konstantinovič Alekseev, born 10 August 1947 in Moscow) is a Russian pianist. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and additionally under Dmitri Bashkirov. In the 1970s Alexeev made his debuts in London, Vienna, Chicago and New York City, and also won the Leeds Piano Competition in 1975.As of 2010, he was teaching at the Royal College of Music in London. He is represented by IMG Artists.Alexeev's repertoire, part of which has been recorded, includes works by Alexander Scriabin, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Sergei Prokofiev, Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Dmitri Shostakovich. He has also accompanied Barbara Hendricks.

Edna Iles

Edna Amy Iles (18 May 1905 – 29 January 2003) was an English classical pianist.

Edna Iles was born in Kings Heath, Birmingham in 1905. She began her studies in Birmingham with Appleby Matthews, making her debut as soloist with the City of Birmingham Orchestra at age 15 in the Liszt E-flat Concerto. She made her Wigmore Hall recital debut soon afterwards and established a prominent presence throughout Britain and continental Europe during the 1920s and 1930s, giving recitals in many of the leading artistic centres including Berlin, Vienna, Oslo, Stockholm, and Budapest. Iles broadcast frequently for the BBC, and appeared as concerto soloist with distinguished conductors including Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Adrian Boult, and Willem Mengelberg.

From 1930 Iles became a close friend, protegee and pupil of the Russian composer and pianist Nikolai Medtner, who branded her "the bravest and ablest besieger of my musical fortresses" and dedicated to her his Russian Round Dance for two pianos. Edna Iles performed the cycle of three Medtner piano concertos at the Royal Albert Hall in 1946 and, following Medtner's death in 1951, continued to champion his piano music in many recitals and broadcasts in Britain and abroad. She also championed works by Ernest Bloch, Alan Bush, and Malcolm Arnold, and won praise from leading composers for the technical refinement and structural integrity of her interpretations. Edna Iles recorded her last recital for BBC Radio 3 in 1977 and in 1980 took part in a concert marking the centenary of Medtner's birth.

In 2001 she donated her entire library of Medtner material to the British Museum. It includes detailed notes on all her piano lessons with Medtner, which provide unique information on how the composer taught and wished his music to be interpreted. The archive is the subject of a doctoral thesis.She died in Solihull, West Midlands in 2003, aged 97.

Elena Filonova

Elena Filonova is a contemporary French classical pianist of Russian origin.

Ernest So

Ernest Hin-Leung So (Chinese: 蘇顯亮; born 1 June 1978) is a Hong Kong-born, international concert pianist who specialises in the works of lesser-known classical composers such as Sergei Bortkiewicz, Leopold Godowsky and Nikolai Medtner, among many others. So's performances usually include impromptu deliveries on the provenance and contextual background of the pieces he is playing.

Hamish Milne

Hamish Milne (born 27 April 1939, Salisbury) is a British pianist known for his advocacy of Nikolai Medtner.

Milne studied at Bishop Wordsworth's School in Salisbury and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he now teaches, and later in Italy under Guido Agosti.

In the 1970s, Milne was the first pianist to offer a comprehensive survey of the piano music of Medtner since the composer made his own records in the 78s era.

List of compositions by Nikolai Medtner

This is a list of compositions by Nikolai Medtner by genre.


Märchen is the German diminutive of the obsolete German word Mär, meaning "news, tale" (see Märchen). It may refer to:

A fairy tale, a type of short story that typically features folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments

A type of musical composition

The Russian composer Nikolai Medtner wrote many examples for solo piano (1880–1951), his original Russian title for the pieces Skazki is often replaced by Märchen

Märchenbilder (Schumann) for viola and piano, by Robert SchumannMärchen or Marchen may also refer to:

Marchen script, used for writing the Zhang-Zhung language

Marchen (Unicode block)

Marchen Maersk, Danish container ship

Märchen (album), a 2010 story album by the Japanese musical group Sound Horizon

The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily (German: Märchen), German fairy tale

Nikolai Demidenko

Nikolai Demidenko (born 1 July 1955, Aniskino) is a Russian-born classical pianist.

Demidenko studied at the Gnessin State Musical College with Anna Kantor and at the Moscow Conservatoire under Dmitri Bashkirov. He was a finalist at the 1976 Montreal International Piano Competition and the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Competition. He taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK, where he has been a resident since 1990. He was granted British citizenship in 1995 and currently holds a visiting professorship at the University of Surrey. In addition to a vast amount of the standard Germanic and Russian repertory, he is a specialist of Frédéric Chopin and a noted champion of the works of neglected composers such as Muzio Clementi, Carl Maria von Weber, Jan Václav Voříšek, and Nikolai Medtner, as well as neglected works of well-known composers such as Domenico Scarlatti, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Robert Schumann, and transcriptions by Ferruccio Busoni. Demidenko won a Gramophone Award in 1992 in the concerto category for his recording of the Medtner Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3.In 2000, in connection with the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, Nikolai Demidenko was one of four pianists invited to perform Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, subsequently released on DVD by EuroArts.

Demidenko´s extensive discography consists of nearly 40 CDs. For Hyperion Records he has recorded over 20 albums, including most recently Prokofiev Piano Concertos nos 2 & 3 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra released in March 2015, Gramophone Editor´s Choice award-winning album of Medtner and Music for two Pianos (with Dmitri Alexeev).

For the Munich-based AGPL label he has recorded Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata, a collection of Scarlatti sonatas and a Chopin CD which won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik Preis. Autumn 2008 saw the release of a new Chopin CD, including his first recording of the 24 Preludes, for Onyx Classics. This CD won the MIDEM 2010 Special Chopin Award for a new recording, a unique occasion edited especially for a Bicentenary of Chopin. Demidenko was one of the pianists invited to perform Chopin Piano Concerto in E minor Op. 11 concert during the celebration of Bicentenary of Chopin organized by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. This concert was released on DVD by Music Accentus Music

In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of Music and the University.

He is represented by IMG Artists.


A pianist ( PEE-ə-nist, pee-AN-ist) is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.

Piano Concerto No. 3

Piano Concerto No. 3 refers to the third piano concerto written by one of a number of composers:

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Balada), by Leonardo Balada, 1899

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Bartók) in E major (Sz. 119, BB 127) by Béla Bartók, 1945

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Beethoven) in C minor (Op. 37), c.1800

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Chopin) (Allegro de concert), 1841

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Hummel) in B minor (Op. 89), 1819

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Kabalevsky) in D major (Op. 50, Youth) by Dmitri Kabalevsky, 1952

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Lieberson), by Peter Lieberson, 2003

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Liszt) in E-flat major (Op. posth., S.125a), c.1839

Piano Concerto No. 3 (MacMillan), (The Mysteries of Light) by James MacMillan, 2008

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Medtner) in E minor (Op. 60, Ballade), by Nikolai Medtner, 1943

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Mozart) in D major (K.40), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, c.1772

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Ohzawa) in A-flat major (Kamikaze) by Hisato Ohzawa, 1938

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Prokofiev) in C major (Op. 26) by Sergei Prokofiev, 1913–21

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Rachmaninoff) in D minor (Op. 30) by Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1909

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Rautavaara) (Gift of Dreams) by Einojuhani Rautavaara, 1998

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Ries) in C-sharp minor (Op. 55) by Ferdinand Ries, c.1813

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Saint-Saëns) in E-flat major (Op. 29) by Camille Saint-Saëns, 1869

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Tchaikovsky) in E-flat major (Op. posth. 75) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1893–94

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Villa-Lobos)

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Williamson) in E-flat major by Malcolm Williamson, 1962

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Medtner)

The Piano Concerto No. 3 in E minor "Ballade", Op. 60, was one of Nikolai Medtner's last major compositions, completed in 1943, when he was 63.

Piano Concerto No. 4 (Rachmaninoff)

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40, is a major work by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, completed in 1926. The work exists in three versions. Following its unsuccessful premiere (1st version), the composer made cuts and other amendments before publishing it in 1928 (2nd version). With continued lack of success, he withdrew the work, eventually revising and republishing it in 1941 (3rd version, most generally performed today). The original manuscript version was released in 2000 by the Rachmaninoff Estate to be published and recorded. The work is dedicated to Nikolai Medtner, who in turn dedicated his Second Piano Concerto to Rachmaninoff the following year.

Variations on a Theme of Corelli

Variations on a Theme of Corelli (Russian: Вариации на тему А. Корелли, Variatsii na temu A. Korelli), Op. 42, is set of variations for solo piano, written in 1931 by the Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. He composed the variations at his holiday home in Switzerland.

The theme is La Folia, which was not in fact composed by Arcangelo Corelli, but was used by him in 1700 as the basis for 23 variations in his Sonata for violin and continuo (violone and/or harpsichord) in D minor, Op. 5, No. 12. La Folia was popularly used as the basis for variations in Baroque music. Franz Liszt used the same theme in his Rhapsodie espagnole S. 254 (1863).

Rachmaninoff dedicated the work to his friend the violinist Fritz Kreisler. He wrote to another friend, the composer Nikolai Medtner, on 21 December 1931:

I've played the Variations about fifteen times, but of these fifteen performances only one was good. The others were sloppy. I can't play my own compositions! And it's so boring! Not once have I played these all in continuity. I was guided by the coughing of the audience. Whenever the coughing would increase, I would skip the next variation. Whenever there was no coughing, I would play them in proper order. In one concert, I don't remember where - some small town - the coughing was so violent that I played only ten variations (out of 20). My best record was set in New York, where I played 18 variations. However, I hope that you will play all of them, and won't "cough".

Rachmaninoff recorded many of his own works, but not this piece.

Violin Sonata No. 3 (Medtner)

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E minor "Epica", Op. 57, was composed by Nikolai Medtner from 1935–1938.

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