Good work schmonz! You make this very dense piece clear and transparent, although I must say that I still don't get it, or understand it. I presume it's about Hamlet's lover (?) Ophelia, who drowns herself after losing her sanity. He captures the "blank" feeling of mental/emotional disconnection quite well, if that's what he was aiming at.
Is there a source or guide to the extra-musical programs of the Skazki? I would like that very much.
I have always thought Medtner was about strange rhythm experiments but seem to be seriously wrong.
Medtner did not experiment, he was an arch-conservative if ever there was one. But intricate rhythmic patterns and unusual polyrhythms indeed occur frequently in his works, more so than in Rachmaninov but not to the extent you find in Scriabin. Not sure what he thought of Scriabin but it is known that he vehemently denounced Prokofiev's early work.
Indeed he did not experiment, he continued down the tonal road, contributing to his unpopularity in the 20th century. I enjoy his music very much but I sometimes find that melodically he is either vague or weak. Perhaps this has to do with his interest in modes and the natural minor scale; often conventionally trained ears find modality hard to grasp. I often hear his music as being "grey" or colorless ( yes, I'm a Scriabinist synesthese
), or blank, in a way that's hard to describe. Then it will suddenly explode into many bright colors ( I experience this in the 3rd Concerto particularly). But the music is always grounded in tonality (I-IV-V-I), he never followed the tritone into extended tonality like Scriabin. Medtner is a composer that is not yet fully understood (at least by me). But except for the occasional abstruse melody I think his music is extraordinary. Glad it's back. Maybe in Europe and Russia it was never gone; in the USA he was unknown outside of highbrow circles until recently, myself being an exception.
I can't imagine that Medtner would have enjoyed Scriabin's later work. But as for Prokofiev on Medtner, I read somewhere that Prokofiev told a group of musicians that "Medtner divides his Sonatas into those for the concert hall and those for home use" (I'm paraphrasing from memory), referring to the Sonata Triad Op.11, which Medtner evidently viewed as intimate music not suited for the concert hall. Prokofiev also had some slighting things to say about Rachmaninov,too. Those are some catfights I sure wouldn't want to get caught in!