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ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Prometheus: Poem of Fire (1904) 19:43 * Fantasy (1902) 39:59 ** Piano Concerto (1904) 46:46 ***  Viktoria Postnikova (piano) Residentie Orchestra, the Hague/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky CHANDOS CHAN 9728 [60.53]




Every Rozhdestvensky disc is an event. He is a most joyous communicator and I still deeply lament his decision to leave the BBCSO all those years ago (1982?). His years with the BBC were ones of enterprise and new experiences: exploration of the old and the new. As I have said before, BBCTV broadcasts of his concerts lit up our understanding of what ignites his interest. That factor is a sense of revealed joy in music making; not that the music he champions has to be happy but he is able to find the spark for the combustible material in all works whether Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Delius or Sibelius (when oh when will someone license his set of the Sibelius symphonies?).

This quality of vividness and concentration at the service of a fellow Russian is again to be heard here. The Residentie Orchestra play in style and share the conductor's and the pianist's sense of communicative vitality. Prometheus plays for 20 minutes. Its mysteries and exaltation are plain for all those who give themselves up to the music. Some will remain obdurate but I found the sense of concentration and the utter conviction which burns in this performance completely compelling. The Fantasy, in a version orchestrated by the conductor, is given its recorded premiere. It is a work of Lisztian delicacy and Postnikova's rolling and quietly glittering harp-like playing sent me right back to the work to hear it again. Finally we have the one work which makes Scriabin a composer worth coming back to again and again. This is the early piano concerto. This is a work you have to hear. If you don't know it already you have a treat in store. Do you enjoy Rachmaninov, Liszt and Chopin? Do you like tunes you can sing along to? This work has memorable tunes in each of its three movements and the plum is surely the Rachmaninovian melody that dominates the middle movement tema con variazioni.

Happily recommended.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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