N.Medtner / S.Rachmaninoff, Piano Concertos Nos.2 & 4, Floods of Spring,
Y.Sudbin / North Carolina Sym. / G.Llewellyn
Not all is perfect with this release: The sound is just a little muted, which is rare with BIS recordings… the amiably performing North Carolina Symphony—as good as that and no more—supports what turns into a Yevgeny Sudbin and Backup Combo show of Medtner’s wonderful Second Piano Concerto. But how good is Medtner’s concerto? Without hyperbole every bit as engaging and entertaining as Rachmaninoff’s!
There is a reason Medtner has his share of pianist- advocates: Marc-André Hamelin, Nikolai Demidenko, Hamish Milne, and as of late the terrific Polina Leschenko (“Forgotten Melodies” on Avanti Classic). Medtner is lucky to have them… and he is especially lucky to have Sudbin (he throws his piano-transcription of Floods of Spring in, as an encore), whose sensitive pianism responds instinctively to all the challenges and emotive states: with sweet discretion one second, audacity and bravado the next… untempted all along to milk the music for more than it can give. That’s how they must be played, to avoid romantic soup… and then what sweet rewards are in stock for us!