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Thread: Alexander Scriabin

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    Junior Member ErFurtwanglert's Avatar
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    Default Al Scriabin

    A great Russian who shares my first name. I like Vers la Flamme and most of his preludes, but need to hear more.
    Quit Haydn and come out of your bachs.

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    Junior Member ErFurtwanglert's Avatar
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    Just picked up Al's Piano Concerto, as well as his Le Poème de l'extase...great stuff!!!
    Quit Haydn and come out of your bachs.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    I love his piano concerto, also his Le Poème de l'extase and Prometheus.

    It's interesting that Scriabin was in the same composition class as Rachmaninov in the Moscow Conservatory. You can hear the similarities in the piano concerto, but what makes me chuckle is the super-long melody that never seems to resolve in the 1st mvt., wheras Rach tries to make more use of melodic fragments.

    It's cool how he used his synesthesia as a basis for new compositions. Some concerts of his are accompanied visually by the respective colours that old Scrabbers saw when he heard the notes. Even though it seems an abstract way to compose, the results are quite conventional. When I'm modulating up and down the circle of 5ths I can't see colour but I can understand that related keys have similar flavours (if you get me!).

    Poor fellow died of a boil on his lip. An embarrasing way to go for someone who expressed desires of world domination! The scary thing is that if he had survived, his music may well have dominated the world stage as being a pusher of modernism like Schoenberg (just a bit more popular perhaps).
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErFurtwanglert View Post
    Just picked up Al's Piano Concerto, as well as his Le Poème de l'extase...great stuff!!!
    What do you like if him?

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    Default Underwhelmed by Scriabin

    I've got Mehta's recording of Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy and I'm really underwhelmed by it. This and some of his solo piano works I have heard just sound like re-hashed Debussy. I haven't heard his piano concerto, maybe that is better. But anyway, sorry Alex, you weren't the best thing since Beethoven!

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    Scriabin was a pretty good composer. I have the "Complete Symphonies" 3-disc set on Decca and it's not bad at all. Vladimir Ashkenazy is the conductor on this set with Berlin German Symphony. He's not that bad of a composer, but I would prefer to listen to Sibelius, Nielsen, Mahler, Bruckner, Bartok, Stravinsky, Dvorak, Schubert, and Prokofiev any time of the day instead of Scriabin.

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    Junior Member species motrix's Avatar
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    Scriabin is wonderful. Firstly, I'd personally recommend the piano works over the orchestral works (that's just me, though, I realize). Secondly, for the most real, unearthly Scriabin experience, listen to the recordings of the sonatas made by the son-in-law he never met, Sofronitsky.

    Regarding Scriabin's synesthesia, it is unlikely that he literally experienced this... his synesthetic associations use a direct correspondence of the color wheel with the circle of fifths, with C at red. The color associations made by real synesthetes are usually much more random. Also, remember that Scriabin was heavily influenced by the Symbolist movement, which emphasized the blending of sensory perceptions in this sort of manner.

    On top being all around dandy to listen to, Scriabin's system of harmony as it evolved was complex and interesting, a "dual modality" with two tonics, and was enigmatic to the point that it was not fully decoded until around 50 years after he died.
    Last edited by species motrix; Feb-23-2009 at 10:06.

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    I love the titles; unfortunately I don't find the music itself so exciting.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lang View Post
    I love the titles; unfortunately I don't find the music itself so exciting.

    Me neither. It just doesn't speak to me I'm afraid. I've sometimes wondered what I'm supposed to be experiencing / feeling in it. I haven't given up on it yet, but I am close.

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    I like Scriabin's piano music a lot-- esp. solo stuff. Horowitz had great recording
    of it & recently I enjoy a lot one by young pianist Alexander Melnikov on Harmonia
    Mundi (release '06). There's an interesting 'flame like' or flickering quality to
    that music that really appeals to me. Ed

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    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    I absolutely adore piano sonatas 6 - 10. Pure, unalloyed genius. Some of the most sensuous, magical and sui generis music I've ever heard. It's like it comes from another planet. A planet of gorgeous, psychotropic, psychedelia.

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    Senior Member handlebar's Avatar
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    The Etude Op2 #1 is my all time favourite piece and the piano concerto a close second. Horowitz is the consummate best in this piece and nobody else comes close.
    The PC sounds best by Segerstam and Pontinen on BIS followed by Solomon's recording.

    Jim

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    I've heard only the Piano Sonatas (all of them, Roberto Szidon playing) and Prometheus. A lot of this music, as already put above, doesn't speak to me. I understand the other-world thing about the later sonatas, however. They're atonal, but pleasantly atonal. Spicy, I'd say, and almost impressionistic in how they float around.

    I prefer those more romantic, early ones, though, even when they get somewhat too flamboyant. That's the Lisztfreak in me!

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    Senior Member Bach's Avatar
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    I just listened to Prometheus twice in a row and sweet christ, that is music directly from God. Unbelievable genius - the final chord is actually a finer sensation than orgasm - and his orchestration is easily match for Debussy, Ravel and Strauss. I'm now listening to Herzeliede's piano sonata recommendations.
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

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    I agree Horowitz's recordings of Scriabin does him much justice but I also like Sofronitsky's and Richter's (Sorry to always bring his name up, but there's nothing I've heard from him that I don't like, not even his Bach). Ashkenazy also excels here.

    I love how the titles of Scriabin's works have a very teenage mood swing to them: Pleasure and emoness.

    Examples of emoness (But maybe has to do with the color organ thingy): "Towards the flame", "Prometheus: The Poem of Fire" (even though the end seems to be the end of the emoness and the beginning of the ecstasy), "White Mass", and "Black Mass" (which he didn't give, but approved of.) Also markings in his music such as "poisonously" and "satanically."

    Examples of pleasure: "Poem of Ecstacy (gosh, I can't spell this word)", "Desire", "Danced Caress", "Sensual Delights", and markings like "with a chaste ardor." lol

    I've been listening to a lot of Scriabin today, and I like most:

    Fantasie, Op. 28 (reminds me of Chopin's first ballade... I don't know why)
    Etude Op. 42 # 5
    Sonata No. 5
    Sonata No. 9
    Sonata No. 10
    Piano Concerto
    Prometheus: The Poem of Fire
    Mysterium (unfinished)

    By the way, I have a friend who's related closely to Scriabin. He's an incredible pianist.
    "Summit or death, either way, I win" ~R. Schumann

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