The Chinese have a saying, "find a way to make a living doing something you love and you will never have to work another day in your life" - it is easier to follow your heart than to chase a paycheck. Nikolai Medtner was one of the last composer/ pianists and he knew exactly what he wanted to do even though he had a hard time providing for himself and his family. But he stuck to his guns as an artist that believed in himself. When his friend Sergei Rachmaninoff secured for Medtner some tours of America, the pianist insisted on playing his own music rather than offering something more popular that would sell more tickets.
There are a number of contradictions in Medtner's music, it is thick, but must be played lightly, his harmonies are more adventurous than of those by Rachmaninoff and the rhythms are tricky - often tripping up those learning his music. This composer is a romantic classicist and however lyrical or exciting the music the foundations are always in the grand tradition. Brahms would be proud.
Come and explore music from both ends of Medtner's repertoire this Sunday. Hear some tiny Fairy Tales and the massive second piano concerto of Nikolai Medtner on the Piano, this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC & KTXI.
host, Randy Anderson