Friday, January 20, 2012

Two geniuses - one program…

Nikolai Medtner had it all, winning the Great Gold medal for piano performance at the Moscow Conservatory and a talented composer who had the respect of his peers. So why don't we music lovers hear more about him?

The answer is a combination of events not all under the composer's control. The Russian revolution and flight to the west for safety, added to this was Medtner's determination to promote his own music rather than give concerts of the classics. His friend Rachmaninoff secured a tour of America and here "Medtner Evenings" didn't go over too well. Record companies were interested in the pianist but Medtner wanted to record his own music and not what the A&R men thought would sell. Enter World War II and the composer, living in England, was separated from his royalties from his German publishers forcing Medtner into poverty. Even in our own time Medtner's bad luck continues with his greatest and most fluent of his advocates, the Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer, dying far too young at the age of 55. Although he is gone, his recordings remain and on the Piano this Sunday you can hear Medtner's Fairy Tales and Second Piano Concerto performed by the man Tatiana Nikolayeva said "plays like a Russian".

Hear music for the brain as well as the heart on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC & KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

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