Personalities | Alexander Scriabin | Modern Era | Classical

(Al-yek-san’-der Skre-a’-bin) 1872–1915
Russian composer and pianist

Scriabin’s early music, nearly all for piano, is close to Chopin, but his philosophical and religious views (he was influenced by Nietzsche and, more strongly, by theosophy) brought a rhapsodic and visionary quality that continued to intensify throughout his short life. Convinced that music has a religious power and function, he planned a sort of ceremonial ‘Mysterium’ combining all the arts, and at the time of his death had begun drafting it. His Third Symphony (The Divine Poem, 1902) and the orchestral Poem of Ecstasy and Prometheus (The Poem of Fire, 1908) may be considered preparatory sketches for the ‘Mysterium’; so may such piano sonatas as the Seventh (‘White Mass’, 1911) and the Ninth (‘Black Mass’, 1913) and the late piano piece ‘Towards the Flame’. His ecstatic, hovering melodies and static harmony tend, in his last works, to approach atonality.

Recommended Recording:
Piano Music, Vladimir Sofronitsky (Vista Vera)

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