"For several generations of performers and audiences, Medtner has lain overlooked somewhere between the genius of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin and the juggernaut of Prokofiev's 'modernist' masterpieces. But he is not just a quintessential Russian composer; he is a master for all, and now perhaps his time has come." -- Eugene Istomin
Faced with decades of shifting styles, compositional vogues, and musical trends that characterized the early 20th century, composer-pianist Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) remained faithful to the standard of clarity of purpose he learned from a lifetime of active performance of the classical masters. Above all, he considered himself Beethoven's student in spirit, and with the principal meanings and "unwritten laws that are the foundation of musical language." In later years, Alexander Glazunov called Medtner "an artist guarding the eternal laws of art."
Among Medtner's most popular pieces are the so-called "Fairy Tales" for piano: works he called skazki -- the Russian term better translated as "tales" or "folktales." "No one tells such tales as Kolya!" exclaimed the delighted Rachmaninoff after Medtner had played his opus 51 pieces to a private gathering. With their rich keyboard textures, intense polyrhythms, and marvelous harmonies, these wonderfully colorful short works -- composed over three decades -- highlight the composer's innate gift for musical storytelling. Pianists and all music lovers will applaud this rare, handsome compilation of works by a modern master of the keyboard.