PhD Thesis

The Sonata as an Ageless Principle

Nikolai Medtner’s Early Piano Sonatas:
Analytic Studies on their Genesis, Style, and Compositional Technique

In 2018 I completed my PhD dissertation in musicology on the music of Russian composer Nikolai Karlovich Medtner (1880–1951), whose output of sonatas, adding up to eighteen works in total, can be regarded as essential within his oeuvre. Like his compatriots Aleksandr Scriabin and Sergei Prokofiev, Medtner dealt with the piano sonata lifelong and helped transfer the genre from the 19th into the 20th century. Unlike the works of his abovementioned contemporaries, Medtner’s music is notoriously underrated, despite its great variety of forms and outlines, its sophisticated and rhythmically complex texture, its appealing lyricism and narrativity, and spiritual depth.

Download Abstract in English and German language (PDF)
Pre-publication of the second part (Features of Medtner’s Musical Language)


I have started a Medtner newsletter, issued 2–3 times a year, with the purpose of spreading information on concerts, recordings, and current research. Please drop me a line in case you want to subscribe.
Recent publications on Medtner include analytical papers on the Sonata Triad and G minor Sonata, Opp. 11 and 22, on the E minor Sonata ›Night Wind‹, Op. 25 No. 2 (in German), and on the Sonata-Ballade, Op. 27 (in English).