Write one such piece and one can die. So pronounced Rachmaninov, no less, after hearing the second of Medtner's Arabesques. This is just one of the delights in the enticing selection box offered by Hamish Milne, a long-standing and ardent champion of Medtner's music. These two discs explore the many miniatures in size though not in ambition that he wrote throughout his life. The very opening of his Mood Pictures shows a remarkable sophistication for a man barely out of his teens, while the magnificent pair of Elegies forms a fitting conclusion to a set that reminds us that it is sometimes among the miscellaneous works that the greatest gems are to be found.
Milne's dedicated and perceptive playing is of the highest order(here is a pianist not requiring vacuous hype or the adoration of an easily pleased fan-club).I had much pleasure from his previous Hyperion Medtner survey, the complete Skazki. This magazine gives reviewers the opportunity to nominate releases as Outstanding. I am more than happy to do this on this occasion. It's a great listen. --IRR, Mar'12
Having already recorded Medtner's comparatively well-known Skazki (Fairytales) , Hamish Milne here unmasks myriad other miniatures fro the composer. The title of the first set, Mood Pictures, could stand for the whole sequence, because Medtner had a gift for crystallising images within a concise musical frame. There are delights aplenty, and Milne brings out their beguiling expressive range. ***** --Daily Telegraph,10/03/12
Hamish Milne has already recorded one double album of Nikolai Medtner's piano miniatures for Hyperion, the complete Skazki, or Sketches, a collection to which he added throughout his composing life. The present collection ranges just as widely: from Medtner's Op 1, the astonishingly accomplished and mature Stimmungsbilder, written when he was still in his late teens, through sets such as the Three Arabesques Op 7, Dithyrambs Op 10, Lyrical Fragments Op 23 and the curiously named Hymns to Toil Op 49, to his bleak, final piano pieces, the Two Elegies Op 59. As Milne's forthright, utterly secure performances make clear, much of this is strongly characterised music, even if its debts to Chopin and Schumann early on, and to Rachmaninov consistently throughout, are easy to hear. Milne is a wonderfully persuasive advocate for this distinctive and generally underrated music; together with his discs of the Skazki, these performances are a fine complement to his earlier survey of the 14 piano sonatas, which reveal the more expansive side of Medtner's musical thinking. **** --The Guardian 15/3/12
Milne's playing will be surely make in Russians, in particular, listen in awe to such magiserial command and poetic empathy.This is surely in the running for instrumental issue of the year. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone,May'12
INTERNATIONAL PIANO CHOICE. Medtner's music is badly in need of reappraisal and Milne is the man to do it. Aided by Hyperion's sterling, full-presence recording, he immerses the listener in Medtner's perfectly Russian soundworld. It is Milne's terrific sensitivity that impresses. --International Piano, May/June'12
In this second heroic survey of Medtner's elaborate late-Romantic world, Hamish Milne has not left the fantastical narratives of the first instalment's Skaszki behind. Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, June'12