Alexander Scriabin            (Pierian 0018)
Item# P0793
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Alexander Scriabin            (Pierian 0018)
P0793. ALEXANDER SCRIABIN: The Composer as Pianist – His Recordings for Welte & Soehne, Moscow, 1910; plus Josef Lhévinne, Constantine Igumnov, Alexander Goldenweiser, Austin Conradi, Leff Pouishnoff & Madeleine Brard, 1906-26. Pierian 0018, from Welte & Söhne Piano Rolls, 1910, from the Caswell Collection. - 750532929729


“Scriabin made only nine rolls, in Moscow, in 1910….as profoundly musical as Debussy’s [piano rolls]….Filling out the rest of Pierian 0018 are performances by Scriabin’s contemporaries….”

- Max Harrison, MUSICIAL OPINION, Nov./Dec., 2005

“Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, the noted Russian composer, was born on Christmas Day and died at Eastertide -- according to Western-style calendrical reckoning, 7 January 1872 - 14 April, 1915. No one was more famous during his lifetime, and few were more quickly ignored after his death. Although he was never absent from the mainstream of Russian music, the outside world neglected him until recently. Today, there is worldwide resurgence of interest in his music and ideas.

Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas are staples of many pianists' repertoire, with the Fifth being perhaps the most popular, while the Seventh ‘White Mass’ and Ninth ‘Black Mass’ follow close. Vladimir Horowitz in his late sixties began playing the Tenth, and it remains today in vogue among more daring virtuosi.

Scriabin's hundreds of preludes, études and poems are considered masterpieces of 20th century pianism, and his ‘titled’ pieces such as ‘Fragilité’, ‘Satanic Poem’, ‘Etrangeté’, ‘Désir’, and ‘Caresse Dansé’, are greatly admired. Scriabin's style changed enormously as he progressed. The early pieces are romantic, fresh and easily accessible, while his later compositions explore harmony's further reaches. It is thought by scholars, that had Scriabin lived beyond his brief 43 years, he would have preceded the Austrian school of duodecaphony, and Moscow would have become the center of atonality.

Immediately upon Scriabin's sudden death, Sergei Rachmaninoff toured Russia in a series of all-Scriabin recitals. It was the first time he played music other than his own in public. In those days Scriabin was known as a pianist and Rachmaninoff was considered only as a composer. Scriabin, thus, was posthumously responsible for his friend and classmate's later pianistic career in Europe and America.

At the time of his death, Scriabin left 72 orchestral-size pages of sketches for a preliminary work ‘Prefatory Action’, intended to ‘prepare’ the world for the apocalyptic ultimate masterpiece. Alexander Nemtin, the Russian composer, assembled those jottings and co-created the PREFATORY ACTION. Its three vast movements have been performed with great acclaim under conductors Cyril Kondrashin in Moscow and Vladimir Ashkenazy in Berlin with Alexei Lubimov at the piano.”

- Z. D. Akron