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Nikolai Medtner : Intégrale des mélodies, vol. 2. Levental, Peters.
Format : 1 CD
Total Time : 01:12:13

Recording : 01/03/2020
Location : Schiedam
Country : Pays-Bas
Sound : Stereo

Label : Brilliant
Catalog No. : BRIL96061
EAN : 5028421960616
Price Code : DM009A

Publishing Year : 2021
Release Date : 10/03/2021

Genre : Classical
Nikolai Medtner (1880-1851)
Six poèmes, op. 32
Six poèmes d'après Pouchkine, op. 36
Cinq poèmes, op. 37
Quatre poèmes, op. 45

Ekaterina Levantal, mezzo-soprano
Frank Peters, piano

La mezzo Ekaterina Levental et le pianiste Frank Peters poursuivent l’édition de cette intégrale des mélodies de Medtner, laquelle devrait comporter cinq volumes. Dans les opus présentés ici, l’œuvre de Pouchkine tient toujours une place prédominante, suivie d’assez loin par des poèmes de Fiodor Tiouttchev, plus pessimiste, dont un poème donne son titre au cd, et Afanassi Fet. C’est dire que l’inspiration du musicien qui vécut jusqu’à la moitié du siècle suivant reste très ancrée dans le 19e s. et son esthétique. On peut cependant considérer, avec les interprètes, qu’il s’agit là de pièces indémodables parce que hors du temps, figures immarcescibles d’une Russie éternelle. C’est d’ailleurs, avec l’art pianistique consommé qu’on lui connait, le traitement que leur réserve le compositeur. Ce qui en fait tout le charme, essentiellement élégiaque, et en explique également le pathétique, parfois jusqu’à l’exagération (op. 37). Ce que l’interprétation traduit précisément, et qui plaira ou non, question de sensibilité, mais mérite certainement le détour. Un livret en anglais propose, outre les traductions des poèmes (originaux russes sur le site de l’éditeur), une analyse intéressante de ce que, par sa poétique propre, la musique apporte ici aux textes, éclairage constituant donc un accompagnement d’écoute utile. (Alain Monnier)

The first volume in this project, undertaken with missionary zeal by both singer and pianist, to rescue Medtner’s song output from obscurity, was met with enthusiasm in the Dutch press. ‘The melancholy, autumnal atmosphere evokes Tsarist Russia, of which the once Uzbek but long Dutch-resident Ekaterina Levental has perfectly captured the spirit. Her smooth singing is a joy to listen to.’ (Opus Klassiek) Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) was a Russian (with German roots) who lived outside the Soviet Union from 1921 and lived in London from 1936 until his death. He was a good friend of Rachmaninov and composed in a related style, with a hint of Scriabin here and there. His work dates from ‘the long 19th century’, ignoring the current of contemporary modernism; he continued to compose in a late romantic, tonal style until his last breath. Yet his music sings with its own voice. Medtner, a considerable virtuoso, wrote sonatas and concertos that place great demands on the pianist, at first glance rhapsodic in form but hiding considerable formal sophistication. Seventy years and more after his death, Medtner no longer seems behind the times; his music may be enjoyed on its own terms, and a renaissance in his appreciation began around 30 years ago, but it was focused on the big sonatas and concertos. The pronounced narrative character of his music is perhaps best appreciated in the shorter piano pieces such as the Skazki ('fairy tales'). It is these pieces to which Medtner’s songs are most related. Volume 2 continues to highlight Medtner’s deep affection for the poetry of Pushkin. The first song of Op.45 is like a love-letter to the figure who embodies the world of Russian Romantic literature, in a setting that mirrors the complex sentiments of the text. The composer returns time and again to the archetypally Romantic image of the lost and wandering soul, in moods of sleepless melancholy such as the opening song of Op.37. The Russian culture’s fascination with the sunny but temperamental south is addressed in the ‘Spanish Romance’ of Op.32, and its world-weary resignation to the circle of life is vividly dramatised in Op.45 No.2, ‘The Wagon of Life’. ‘Levental's singing is firm and secure; so too the phenomenal pianism of Peters. Both musicians demonstrate a wholehearted love for Russian music; sometimes with glowing passion, sometimes with silent desire. Volume 1 whets the appetite for a sequel. Medtner’s songs have been ignored for too long; they deserve better.’ (Gelderlander)

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