The Guardian – Medtner: Piano Sonatas; Ein Idyll CD review – Alessandro Taverna goes from strength to strength ****

There was controversy in 2009 when Alessandro Taverna won bronze at the Leeds International Piano Competition – many people thought he should have been awarded the gold. Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength, as amply proved by this Medtner disc, which features three of the composer’s 14 sonatas – the Reminiscenza, the Romantica and the Minacciosa (effectively nos 10, 12 and 13). They’re fine interpretations, and remind us that Medtner’s restless music has its antecedents in Chopin’s poetic detail and Liszt’s expansive form, while at the same time inhabiting a disorienting harmonic territory that is uniquely its own. The Minacciosa could do with a bit more bite in the repetitions of the opening motto, but its climactic fugue is breathtaking. The Reminiscenza and Romantica, though, are both exemplary in their dynamic, emotional and architectural control. The brief, early Ein Idyll – essentially a sketch for the Reminiscenza – is the filler, and beautifully done.

Tim Ashley