Last Thursday, pianists Kenny Fu, Lily Petrova and Nikita Demidenko came together for a mighty showcase of Nikolai Medtner’s music. The concert was the debut for The Forgotten Melodies Society and was held at the Razumovsky Academy Recital Hall in London.
The society was founded by pianist Nikita Demidenko to give a performance platform to rarely performed works. The idea for the society came after the realisation that there weren’t enough performance opportunities for music students. Originally, it was to be a society highlighting only Medtner’s music, however, through Medtner, Nikita soon discovered a passion for programming and performing rarely performed works by all composers. Nikita runs the society with Co-Director Lily Petrova- also a pianist who performed at the concert.
The programme of the evening consisted of Medtner’s ‘Forgotten Melodie’s’ cycle op.38 in the first half. The cycle began with the Sonata-Reminiscenza performed by Kenny Fu. The sonata introduces the audience to an array of different thematic material which Medtner then uses as the base to the seven miniatures that follow, performed by Lily Petrova. The second half of the programme was the performance of Medtner’s behemoth ‘Night-Wind’ Sonata performed by Nikita Demidenko.
The music of Nikolai Medtner is sophisticated and refined. These fine musicians had no problem with this and managed truly to present Medtner’s music in the light it should always be! Kenny immediately transported us to an intimate atmosphere from the opening bars of the Sonata-Reminiscenza. He played with such artistic sensibility, and through his remarkable sense of line, Kenny’s introduced the audience to all the thematic material vital to the rest of the works. The audience were truly treated to a huge array of contrast and characteristics through Lily’s performing of the rest of the movements in the cycle. At moments, she played with utmost delicacy, improvised freedom and then quickly transported us elsewhere with sparkling brilliance and elegance.
Nikita Demidenko’s performance of the huge ‘Night-Wind’ Sonata was majestic. A sonata most pianists dare not undertake due to the shear size, technical challenges and endurance needed to be able to perform it. Nikita did so with a commanding authority and his execution was effortless. Although it was an evening dedicated to Nikolai Medtner’s music, the concert didn’t end there as we were surprised with a delightful encore! Nikita gave a performance of Cuban composer- Lecuona’s ‘Mazurka Glissando’ leaving a smile on the audiences faces.
The performers of the evening are students of the sought-after piano professor Tatiana Sarkissova who teaches at The Royal Academy of Music. Professor Sarkissova was also in the audience together with her husband, renowned pianist Dmitry Alexeev and I am in no doubt that she was extremely proud with having listened to such fine performances and having nurtured such refined and sensitive musicians.
For the forgotten melodies the future looks bright! I managed to speak with both Nikita and Lily after their magnificent performances and they are already busy preparing the programmes for future endeavours! A few future projects include a feature concert at The Royal Academy of Music Summer Piano Festival where students will be playing the music of English composers linked with the Academy itself. As well as a concert dedicated to the forgotten music of Latin American classical composers. However, their biggest project on their agenda will definitely be the creation of the International Medtner Piano Competition in London.
Music students can sign up for future student concerts which happen once a month at the Annunciation Church in Marble Arch via the society website: https://forgottenmelodiessociety.com.