Nikolai Demidenko (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk (conductor)
A younger contemporary of Scriabin and Rachmaninov, Nikolai Medtner, a Russian of distant German descent, studied under Pabst, Sapelnikov and Safonov at the Moscow Conservatoire, graduating in 1900 with the coveted Anton Rubinstein Prize. Admired as a pianist of particularly formidable attainment and inventive imagination, he held important teaching appointments at the Conservatoire (1909/10, 1914/21) before eventually leaving Russia for periods of domicile in Germany, the USA and Paris. In the winter of 1935/36 he settled in England, making his home in the Golders Green area of north London. Befriended by the Royal Philharmonic Society and made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, it was here that he died in November 1951, from a heart attack—leaving the world, his devoted wife was to write later, ‘in a serene and grateful spirit’. As a pianist, Medtner was much sought after. He toured Europe in 1901/02 and again in l921, returned to his homeland for a series of historic concerts in 1927 and visited North America twice, in 1924/25 and 1929/30. In l944 ill-health forced him to retire from the platform—but not from the recording studio: in his last years, under the patronage of Sir Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar, the Maharajah of Mysore, he taped a number of his more important works for HMV.