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Scriabin’s Poèmes span his later creative career, from
the time of the Fourth Sonata to the late Vers
la flame written towards the end of his life. All of these
pieces are miniatures, only three being more than six minutes
in length but they contain a wealth of significance.
These are not pieces in a recognised ‘classical’ form – such
as Scriabin’s preludes, studies or mazurkas. For this reason
they are in some danger of being neglected. Although there are
no première recordings here, this is - so far as I am aware
- the only complete recording of all the Poèmes and
as such it has a unique value. Because this disc is an ‘archival’
collection, gathering all the pieces from a number of different
sources, it is probably not best listened to straight through
from beginning to end.
A number of these works display, as one would expect with Scriabin,
a demand for virtuoso technique in its most extreme form. They
are, as their titles suggest, poetic rather than showy. Amoyel’s
performances more than adequately answer the needs of the music
in both respects. He produces a lovely soft touch and sustains
the scented lines and harmonies beautifully in the Poème-Nocturne;
at over ten minutes it’s the longest piece on this disc. He
has all the requisite bravura for Vers la flame.
Amoyel is also excellent in the second longest piece here, the
surprisingly jaunty Poème satanique.
The recorded sound, made in the resonant acoustic of Pontlevoy
Abbey, has exactly the right degree of bloom for this ultra-romantic
and mystical music. Most of the items here are real novelties,
many of them totally unfamiliar to the general listener. Here
indeed we have the soul of Scriabin exposed in a manner that
is totally revealed in no other piano works of his outside the
Sonatas, for which indeed some of these Poèmes
sound like studies. One is extremely grateful to hear these
rarities in such excellent performances and recordings. Paul Corfield Godfrey
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