Heaven on Earth

Medtner and Rachmaninoff

In search of the unattainable

‘Heaven on Earth’ is an anthology of highlights from vocal works by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) and Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951). Songs based on famous Russian and German poetry and incomparable vocalises. Also special are Pushkin’s poems, set to music by the two composers in their own way.

Rachmaninoff and Medtner were both not only great piano virtuosos and grand masters of Russian late romanticism, they were also closest friends. And both they gave voice to the unspeakable.

In this full-length concert, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Levental and pianist Frank Peters explore what moved both composers, their ideals and inspiration, and how they shaped that heaven on earth.

“…Perhaps, where all is clothed in glory,

in beauty that cannot decay,

the sacred flame that shines eternal

will burn the thought of earth away,

My soul will lose life’s transient image,

‘mid all the beauty there above,

know not regret, nor joy, nor yearning,

forget the bitter pangs of love.

A. Pushkin/H. Drinker

In this programme, we are constantly balancing on the dividing line between Heaven and Earth. Narrated by great composers to texts by great poets and sometimes without even using a word.

The lyrics of the songs explore each in their own way the meaning and purpose of our existence on earth. ‘Arion’ is a ballad about a shipwreck survivor who has found the strength to survive through music. ‘The Muse’ reveals the secret of whispered words, which can serve as inspiration for the rest of your life.

‘Wandrer’s Night Song’ speaks of the power of nature that can transcend death. ‘Twilights’ attempts to capture the moment of immortality in light and colour. And ‘Elegy’asks concretely a question whether heaven can be found on earth. (With a clear assent from Medtner.)

But when words fail, both composers choose vocalise, the wordless, the unspeakable, that which yet wants to be shared because it connects us: the will to transcend transience. These vocalises communicate beyond language barriers. About changeability and doubt, and about the power of continuing to seek.

Ekaterina Levental and Frank Peters are committed to the work of Nikolai Medtner. To make it known to a bigger audience. With the Medtner Project, a recording of his complete song oeuvre on CD’s, they receive high praise at home and abroad.

With ‘Heaven on Earth’, they now bring this unique oevre to the concert stages.


Ekaterina Levental – mezzo -soprano

Frank Peters – piano

Information: https://nikolaimedtner.com/de-hemel-op-aarde/

Video: Medtner Project Youtube

Reservations: LEKS Compagnie | Chris Koolmees – reach us here