Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Complete Impromptus and Other Early Pieces: Allegro Appassionato Op.4 [11.03]; From Pieces Op.2: Prelude in B major [1.02]; Impromptu a la Mazur [1.51]; Two Nocturnes Op.5: 1. in F sharp [3.57]; 2. in A major [3.12]; Two Impromptus à la Mazur Op.7: 1. in G sharp minor [4.13]; 2. in F sharp major [3.44]; Two Pieces for Left Hand Op.9: 1. Prelude in C sharp minor [2.59]; 2. Nocturne in D flat major [5.42]; Two Impromptus Op.10: 1. in F sharp minor [3.56]; 2. in A major [3.01]; Two Impromptus Op.12: 1. in F sharp major [4.51]; 2. in B flat minor [4.57]; Two Impromptus Op.14: 1. in B major [2.35]; 2. in F sharp minor [4.21]; Polonaise Op.21 [7:31]
Boris Bekhterev (piano)
rec. Japan, 21-23 July 2010. DDD
CAMERATA CMCD-28231 [69.05]

Boris Bekhterev’s recent recording of Scriabin’s ‘Complete Impromptus and Other Early Pieces’ brings his extensive survey of the composer’s piano music nearer to completion. Although issued as separate discs rather than a set, when taken as a whole, these recordings showcase a pianist with insight and understanding, marking him out as one of the best Scriabin interpreters of the present time.

Of the early pieces represented here the Allegro Appassionato Op.4 and the Polonaise Op.21 are the most extensive in form and style. They are Scriabin’s attempt at producing larger-scale works for his own performances and both remain useful to pianists of today.

Scriabin chose to play his Op.4 piece to begin a recital in Geneva on 30 June 1906 and it remains a good choice with which to open the chronologically presented works on this disc. Here, Bekhterev’s account gives the piece a life which lifts it far above the étude status offered by other pianists. He is successful in making the most of the melodic content, never allowing it to be obscured by technicalities. His more lyrical approach to the middle section offers a good contrast to the impassioned voice of the opening. Along with this, a good choice of tempo ensures a very convincing reading.

Choosing a suitable tempo for a Scriabin piece is one of the most important and critical decisions to be made by any pianist in preparation for a concert. Bekhterev seems to select the right tempi intuitively, and in the case of the Polonaise Op.21, his adopted tempo helps bring out the heroic character of the work. Well founded intonation allows the broad theme time to breathe with characteristic dignity.

The Impromptus date from 1889 to 1895 and the harmonic, rhythmical and mood changes required are thoughtfully handled by the pianist who manages to capture well the intimacy of these short pieces. The ever-popular Pieces for Left Hand Op.9 receive fluent and poetic presentation complemented by Camerata’s well recorded piano sound.

Stuart Scott

Bekhterev seems to select the right tempi intuitively. A pianist with insight and understanding.