His Life and Music
Nicholas Medtner (1880-1951) has always been a neglected figure in the history of Russian music, and yet his friend Rachmaninoff considered him the greatest of contemporary composers. He wrote three fine piano concertos, more than one hundred solo piano compositions, including a cycle of fourteen sonatas fully worthy to be set alongside those of Scriabin and Prokofiev, and many beautiful songs. He was also a great pianist. Leaving Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, Medtner lived for a time in Germany and France before finally settling in London, where he passed the final sixteen years of his life. The present work is the first to tell the full story of his eventful life and to consider in turn each of his compositions. The author has drawn on Medtner’s own correspondence and writings and collected the reminiscences of those who knew him personally to build a comprehensive picture of a great, if still largely unrecognised, musician.
Table of Contents
Contents: List of plates; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1880-1900 Childhood and conservatoire; 1900-1903 Start of a career; 1903-1906 Personal turmoil; 1906-1909 German sojourn; 1909-1911 Conservatoire professor; 1911-1914 Friends and critics; 1914-1917 War; 1917-1921 Revolution; 1921-1925 A life abroad; 1925-1927 Return to Russia; 1927-1930 Britain and America; 1930-1935 The Muse and the Fashion; 1935-1939 Move to England; 1939-1945 Second World War; 1945-1951 Indian Fairy Tale; Notes; Index of Medtner's Works; Index of persons and works referred to in the text.
’Martyn's sympathetic and interesting biography; with its excellent descriptions of Medtner's music, is well worth exploring.’ Robin Zebaida, Classical Music ’All enthusiasts will want a copy and all libraries should have one.’ Musical Times ’Martyn always has some useful insights to offer; above all, because he is devoted to Medtner’s music, knows it intimately and can write about it with an enthusiasm that is both infectious and sensitive, his attractively written book should help foster a climate favourable to the production of a truly definitive study of Medtner. Meanwhile, for the foreseeable future it will do its subject’s cause excellent service.’ Music and Letters '... a comprehensive monograph that helps to restore Medtner's name to the pages of music history.' Clavier Magazine