Welcome to Virtual Artistic Residence with Elena Toponogova!

“Today I would like to share a recording of Nikolai Medtner’s Sonata for violin and piano no 1, op.21, 1st movement, Canzona, Canterellando.

This Sonata of a rare beauty is dedicated to his wife, Anna Mikhailovna Medtner. They first met in 1896 when Anna was 18 years old and Nikolai 16. Later that year he composed a Prelude that was the first piece he dedicated to Anna inscribing it: “To my best and dearest friend”. They both studied at the Moscow Conservatoire, Nikolai as a pianist and Anna was a violinist. 

She dedicated her life to Nikolai and exhibited life-long devotion and self-sacrifice.

Anna and Nikolai Medtner

The Sonata consists of three movements: Canzona, Danza and Ditirambo. The first two movements were premiered in Moscow in 1910 with the composer’s elder brother Alexander Medtner as the soloist; the complete work was finally performed a year later. We are lucky to have Medtner’s own recording of the Sonata made in 1947 with violinist Cecilia Hansen.