Nikolai Metner

Metner, Nikolai Karlovich


(Metner, Nicholas) Born Dec. 24, 1879 (Jan. 5, 1880), in Moscow; died Nov. 13, 1951, in London. Russian composer and pianist.

Metner graduated in 1900 from the Moscow Conservatory. He studied piano under V. I. Safonov and theory under S. I. Taneevand A. S. Arenskii. From 1909 to 1910 and 1915 to 1921 he was a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, where he taught the piano course. He lived abroad from 1921, first in Germany and France and later (from 1936) in Great Britain. In 1927 he gave concerts in the USSR. Most of his compositions are chamber or piano works. He created a new genre, the skazka (tale), a short, lyrical-narrative piano piece. Intense thought and a tendency toward intellectualizing are characteristic of his style. He was an outstanding performer of his own works and a fine interpreter of classical music, especially Beethoven. As a pianist he was distinguished by his profound grasp of the composer’s intentions and by an outwardly restrained manner of playing.

Metner composed three concerti for piano and orchestra (1918, 1927, and 1943), 14 piano sonatas, ten cycles of skazki, works for violin and piano (including three sonatas), and many cycles of art songs, including several to texts by A. S. Pushkin and F. I. Tiutchev. A 12-volume edition of his collected works has been published in the USSR (1959–63).


Muza i moda. Paris, 1935.
Povsednevnaia rabota pianista i kompozitora. Moscow, 1963.


Dolinskaia, E. B. N. Metner. Moscow, 1966.
“Iz vospominanii o N. K. Metnere.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1972, no. 7.