Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

MEDTNER: Works for Violin and Piano Vol. 2

Violin Sonata Nos. 1 in B minor, Op. 21
Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major, Op. 44
2 Canzonas with Dances

Laurence Kayaleh, violin Paul Stewart, piano

This is a notable discovery in the expanding Medtner discography. We are told that the Violin Sonata No. 1 is one of his best-known works, but I have never come across it, despite having a penchant for his music. I was taught his early Ein Idyll at boarding school, from where my piano teacher later took a group of us up to London to hear the great composer/pianist play his 3rd concerto and Beethoven's 4th (with an unforgettable Medtner cadenza) at the Royal Albert Hall. Later I acquired 78s of his music in the munificent Medtner Society recordings sponsored by the Maharajah of Mysore.

We have reviewed Medtner's piano music as recorded by Marc-André Hamelin and others, but these sonatas have proved revelatory. Violinists should certainly look out the first, which is suitable for inclusion in any recita, running at c. 20 mins, with movements enticingly titled Canzona: Canterellando con fluidezza; Danza: Allegro scherzando and Ditirambo: Festivamente. The other here is a massive 42 mins work in three main movements, the central one a set of variations.

This Canadian duo offers an ideal partnership with expressive, unshowy virtuosity and ideal recorded balance at McGill Univesity, Montreal. It leaves me eager to get the earlier release, Sonata No. 3 on Naxos 8.570298; see MusicWeb's review of it.

Peter Grahame Woolf