5th January – Nikolai Medtner
Medtner (5 January 1880 – 13 November 1951) is our choice for 5th January, in remembrance of the day of his birth.
Lifespan: 71 years
Education: Moscow Conservatory
Fame Ranking: 5
Medtner was an accomplished pianist, and although he composed for several different combinations of instruments, he always included the piano. Born into the late Romatic era, he was quite conservative in style, with Beethoven his greatest influence. None-the-less, he was well-respected up until the 1920’s when his style fell out of fashion somewhat. His “38 Skazki” (“Fairy Tales”) are considered to be his most original work.
Medtner had an unusual family life in that he married sister-in-law, Anna. The pair had fallen in love some time earlier, but during the First World War Medtner’s brother Emil, Anna’s husband, was imprisoned. He then generously allowed Anna the freedom to marry Nikolai. The pair settled in London in 1936.
In 1949 The Medtner Society was founded in London, and during the next few years all of Medtner’s works were recorded. The Society was founded by the Maharajah of Mysore, (in India), to whom Medtner’s 3rd Piano Concerto is dedicated.
Here is Medtner’s Sonata-Ballade for Piano, op.27, complete with score for you to follow along.
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Listen to some more Medtner tracks here – click the box!