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Alexander SCRIABIN
Preludes, Volume 2.
Four Preludes, Op. 22. Two Preludes, Op. 27. Four Preludes, Op. 31. Four Preludes, Op. 33. Three Preludes, Op. 35. Four Preludes, Op. 37. Four Preludes, Op. 39. Prelude in E flat, Op. 45 No. 3. Four Preludes, Op. 48. Prelude in F, Op. 49 No. 2. Prelude in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2. Prelude in E flat minor, Op. 56 No. 1. Prelude, Op. 59 No. 2. Two Preludes, Op. 67. Five Preludes, Op. 74.
(1908-1919) Four Preludes.
Evgeny Zarafiants (piano).
Naxos 8.554145 [DDD] [65'01]
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The first volume in this series (8.553997) contained the 24 Preludes Op. 11 as its main offering. This volume takes us from Op. 22 through to Op. 74 and includes four preludes by Julian Scriabin (and yes, the dates in the title to this review are not a typo).

There is a musical journey for Scriabin père here, from post-Chopinesque pianistic Romanticism to a mystically searching prophet. The disc starts with the Four Preludes, Op. 22; yearning and intimate yet still firmly within Romantic convention. Even as soon as Op. 27 one is aware of a partial blossoming of creativity. Zarafiants is a trusty guide, but needs more abandon to do full justice to the music. Op. 31 No. 3, for example, is marked Presto, but Zarafiants is several notches below this. He excels, however, in the eggshell like fragility of Op. 23 No. 1 or in the elusive, fragmentary Op. 35 No. 1.

The recording unfortunately cannot sustain the depth of sound Zarafiants conjures up in Op. 39 No. 3 (marked languido), a pity, as the engineering should ideally be able to pick up every nuance in this repertoire.

The Four Preludes, Op. 48 are the first pieces that rally usher in the twilight world of the mature Scriabin. Zarafiants seems more at home in the post-1910 works: the near stasis of Op. 67 No. 1 is appropriately desolate and the Op. 74 No. 4 (marked Lent, vague, indécis) is so flighty it is almost a torso.

The curiosity offered by this disc lies in the appending of four preludes by Julian Scriabin (who died at the age of eleven). The works do, indeed, sound like his father's music. A haunting end to an interesting disc.

Colin Clarke




Colin Clarke



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