In this recording, pianist Gunnar Sama plays music from five of Nikolai Medtner's albums, composed over the course of some 30 years.
Medtner's music fascinates and surprises, in the midst of what also seems to be well known. You may imagine that you have heard the melodies before, in childhood or in a dream. But, even if you haven’t, it is as if you have been waiting for this music to return. In some mysterious way, it evokes the memory of the unheard.
He named many of his piano pieces Skazka (tale). Some of them carry subtitles, but it is uncertain whether the composer had specific narratives in mind, as the name would suggest.
The influential Soviet musicologist Boris Asafyev may have been right when he claimed that "these are not descriptive tales or tales that illustrate an event. These are tales of personal experiences – of conflicts in the inner life of man".
"This recording features a brand new C. Bechstein D282 from Berlin. The choice was not difficult since Bechstein was Medtner’s favorite piano. He had a Bechstein in the flat in London, but I do not know if the grand piano he had owned while living in Moscow was also of the same make. Incidentally, the Moscow piano was given to the painter Anna Ivanovna Trojanovskaja (to whom the Skazki Op. 42 are dedicated) when the composer and his wife, Anna, left the country in 1921. After the communists had taken over the family’s factory (Medtner’s father owned a lace factory) and flat, Medtner and Anna had no place to live. Anna Trojanovskaja let them stay in a cottage in Bugry, some distance south-west of Moscow, and received both a piano and a composition as recompense. Some years later, another homeless musician often practiced on the piano that once belonged to Medtner: Svjatoslav Richter. But that is another story."
-- Gunnar Sama, 2019
"These are our first sessions with a C. Bechstein Concert Grand piano fresh from the factory, so beautifully prepared by piano technician Trond Hellstrøm. This instrument enables a whole new sonic palette. Gunnar Sama recording piano music by Nicolai Medtner with 2L."
-- Morten Lindberg, Producer and Recording Engineer, 2L