Clas­si­cal

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Vin­cent Plush

Medt­ner/ Rach­mani­noff piano con­cer­tos Jayson Gill­ham and MSO ABC Clas­sics Aus­tralian pi­anist Ge­of­frey Tozer was the first to record all the piano mu­sic of Niko­lai Medt­ner (1880-1951). This new record­ing was made orig­i­nally for a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary about Tozer and has been fleshed out. A drop-the­nee­dle test would sug­gest this is a long-lost con­certo by Rach­mani­noff. There is the same sweep, char­ac­ter­is­tic or­ches­tra­tion, piano writ­ing that tosses be­tween sparkling and thump­ing. What sets them apart is the hint of another Rus­sian com­poser: Scri­abin. This al­bum would have been more in­ter­est­ing had it cou­pled Medt­ner with, say, Scri­abin’s Poem of Ec­stasy for piano and orches­tra. In­stead, we have the umpteenth ver­sion of Rach­mani­noff’s sec­ond piano con­certo, a per­for­mance that is rou­tine and du­ti­ful. The first of Medt­ner’s three con­cer­tos, his Opus 33, sug­gests mu­sic that may have moved be­yond Scri­abin’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing or­ches­tra­tion and har­monic ex­oti­cism. Aus­tralian pi­anist Jayson Gill­ham and con­duc­tor Ben­jamin Northey give it a vig­or­ous, mus­cu­lar per­for­mance, with some gor­geous solo wind pas­sages sadly unattributed. Gill­ham pro­vides two short so­los, one of Medt­ner’s Mood Pic­tures from his Opus 1 set and Rach­mani­noff’s D ma­jor pre­lude from the Opus 23 set. The ghost of Chopin hov­ers over the mu­sic and Gill­ham’s ag­ile play­ing, sug­gest­ing that here is a pi­anist who may yet as­sume the Euro­pean man­tle of Roger Wood­ward. Record­ing pro­ducer Vir­ginia Read swathes the Mel­bourne Sym­phony Orches­tra in a clear bloom of sound, al­ways a de­light.

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