Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Medtner and Hamelin

Due to events absolutely beyond my control, a certain someone's digital camera battery charger has been misplaced. As such, I am unable to post significant progress on a pair of Broad Street Mittens, as well as insignificant, soon to be frogged progress on what may someday become a Lace Leaf Pullover. Instead, today I would like to talk about my current loves in the music world: Nikolai Medtner and Marc-Andre Hamelin.

Medtner is a semi-obscure Russian composer, a contemporary of greats like Rachmaninov and Scriabin, who wrote a variety of works, suchs as sonatas, concerti, piano duos, and some vocalise. All of his compositions include the piano :D A friend recently introduced me to this composer, and I have grown to love his work more every single day since. Of particular interest to me are his 38 Skazki, translated as "Fairy Tales." They include some of the most beautifully romantic melodies I've ever heard, but also include interesting twists and unusual harmonies that make it complex with new discoveries each time you listen.

Marc-Andre Hamelin is one concert pianist that I just cannot get enough of. Unlike the many child prodigy pianists, he has become better and increasingly famous in the past several years and even won a Grammy for his amazing recordings of the Godowsky transcriptions of Chopin etudes. He tackles some of the most technically demanding of piano literature, with unparalleled style and interpretation. And if you haven't heard his cadenza from Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody 2, stop reading this blog immediately and go listen to it. But don't forget to come back for some Medtner!

So here is Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Nikolai Medtner's Fairy Tale Op. 26 No. 1. As a wise friend told me, it takes a few listenings to really get it in your head. The first time I heard it I said, "Wow, that's beautiful." After a couple more listenings, I couldn't believe that it honestly did get better and better. A couple more listenings, and I just couldn't get it out of my head. After ten times, I found myself singing it in the shower, around the house, and even as I wake up. So keep on listening, because it's just that good. This piece reminds me why I love music :) Have a great day, everyone!


Donna said...

Rachel, thanks for posting the lovely comment on my blog about my bag. You are such a beautiful young lady. My grandson, who is 7, plays piano and just had his very first piano recital a few weeks ago. He played Fur Elise and did a great job. He was so cute. He got up from that big grand piano and bowed just like he was playing at the Metropolitan or something! lol

Sherlda said...

I don't know much about music except what I hear on the radio. Thank you for giving me a view of your love of music.