An introduction to Nikolai Medtner and performance analysis in dialogue form of his works for two pianos - Russian round dance and Knight errant
A noble Romantic of the twentieth century, Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) wrote exclusively for piano, leaving a large body of piano works that include fourteen sonatas, three concertos and various pieces in smaller form (the ‘Fairy Tales’ among them). Nonetheless, unlike the music of his devoted friend Sergey Rachmaninoff, the music of Medtner never became widely popular among performers and audiences. This paper attempts to discover grounds on which today’s pianists have neglected his music and provide a guide of the ways to its successful performance. While there are a few analytical writings on Medtner’s sonatas and ‘Fairy Tales,’ nothing has been written about his pieces for two pianos, which are not frequently performed either. The first two chapters introduce Medtner’s personality and his image as a composer-pianist, as revealed from his letters. The rest of the paper is dedicated to the performance analysis, in the form of a dialogue, of Medtner’s music for two pianos, Russian Round Dance and Knight Errant. The analysis refers to the composer’s valuable treatise “Daily Work of the Pianist and Composer” that is available in Russian only.