Medtner - Piano Concerto no.1; Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto no.2
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Label: ABC Classics
Cat No: ABC4815564
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 25th August 2017
WorksPiano Concerto no.1 in C minor, op.33
Stimmungsbilder (8), op.1
Preludes (10), op.23
ArtistsJayson Gillham (piano)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
For these recordings, Gillham is joined in the studio by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and their Associate Conductor Benjamin Northey. Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) was a close friend of Rachmaninov (they even dedicated various pieces to one another) but history has treated their music very differently. The great Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer, who died in 2009, was a rare champion of Medtner’s music, and it was when Gillham was invited to feature in a documentary on Tozer’s life that he discovered Medtner’s work. Dedicated to his mother, Medtner’s Piano Concerto No.1 was written during the First World War.
The intense drama of the music - brought out in vivid technicolour in these recordings - is irresistible, but so too is the consolatory power of music. We discover the healing balm of music again in Angel, Medtner’s work for solo piano: a meditation, as Gillham puts it, on “the rediscovery of a divine song, half-remembered, half-forgotten, of a beauty that cannot be matched on earth”. Gillham first performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the MSO in Melbourne’s outdoor Sidney Myer Music Bowl: that concert was greeted with rapture by both the critics and a cheering audience of thousands. Renewing their association in the studio just weeks later, Gillham and the Orchestra unveil fresh richness in this beloved music. The concerto is paired with the contemporaneous Prelude, op.23 no.4, which shares the same “blissful contentment”.
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