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Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Piano Music
1. Valse in D flat major, op. posth. [1:44]
2. Valse in F minor, Op. 1 [3:27]
3. Polonaise in B flat minor, Op. 21 [6:08]
4. Fantaisie in B minor, Op. 28 [9:34]
Deux Poèmes, Op. 32
5. No. 1 in F sharp major: Andante cantabile [3:11]
6. No. 2 in D major: Allegro, con eleganza, con fiducia [1:33]
7. Poème tragique, Op. 34 [3:34]
8. Poème satanique, Op. 36 [6:31]
9. Valse in A flat major, Op. 38 [6:27]
10. Poème in D flat major, Op. 41 [4:37]
Trois Morceaux, Op. 52
11. No. 1 Poème [2:19]
12. No. 2 Enigme [1:06]
13. No. 3 Poème languide [1:19]
14. Feuillet d’album, Op. 58 [1:43]
15. Vers la flamme: Poème, Op. 72 [5:55]
Deux Dances, Op. 73
16. No. 1 Guirlandes [3:49]
17. No. 2 Flammes sombres [2:31]
Xiayin Wang (piano)
rec. American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City, USA, 1-2 October 2007
NAXOS 8.570412 [66:12]


Experience Classicsonline

Naxos recorded a quite comprehensive Scriabin piano cycle about a decade ago, including good readings of the sonatas by Bernd Glemser and masterly interpretations of the preludes by Evgeny Zarafiants. The disc now under review might be seen as a mopping up of sundry pieces not included in that cycle. Since the programme is strictly chronological and spans practically his whole creative life, from the two valses, written when he was fourteen, to the Deux danses, Op. 73 which were composed during his last year and were followed only by the Five Preludes, Op. 74. This allows us to follow his development, through various phases, landing at quite some distance from where it all started when Chopin was his idol and model.

‘Chopin without the melodies’ someone wrote condescendingly about the early Scriabin. I think that is an unfair description. The valses are attractive and have an elegance of their own and the Polonaise, which he wrote when he was already 25, still has more than a flavour of Chopin, which should come as no surprise.

But then there was a watershed, which coincided with the turn of the century watershed in 1900. The Fantaisie, Op. 28 takes us to a different sound-world with harmonies that tell us that the Wagner bacillus had reached him. In the Poèmes Opp, 32, 34 and 36 from three years later he had gone one step further and created his own impressionism. The Poème tragique is honestly more stormy than tragic and the Satan that he portrays in Poème satanique is hardly the prevalent picture of him but rather a ‘Devil in disguise’.

With the Poèmes Opp. 41 and 52, though separated by some years, we find the ethereal Scriabin, floating about in an impressionist landscape filled with haze, mist and blurred contours. Finally we are at the end of the journey with Vers la flamme with its almost manic repetitive eruptions and the Deux danses with the same kind of intensity.

The young Xiayin Wang, who studied at the Shanghai Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music, is a dynamic interpreter, powerful but also able to relax without losing momentum, as for instance in the lyrical moments of the delicate Valse in A flat major, Op. 38. She has a wide palette of colours and the superb recording brings out the full scope of her playing admirably.

As sheer pianism this is a disc that requires to be heard by every lover of piano music. Scriabin lovers will find plenty to revel in and for the reader who is a newcomer to the music of this very special composer I can hardly imagine a better disc to gain insight into his world. From there one can then explore further his preludes, sonatas and other genres.

Göran Forsling 





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