This multi-disc set of piano works by Scriabin is the fourth and final instalment in Dmitri Alexeev’s monumental endeavour to record Scriabin’s entire oeuvre for the piano on Brilliant Classics, an eight-disc collection that includes the earlier Complete Preludes (2CD 95651), Complete Études (94439) and Complete Piano Sonatas (2CD 94388).
This set gathers all the works that do not belong to the uniform cycles of the previous three releases, and the title captures three interesting trends in this huge range of opus numbers spanning 25 years, without being overly prescriptive. The Mazurkas represent a youthful devotion to Chopin that matured into lifelong inspiration; the many Poèmes (whether or not they bear that specific title) are emblematic of the imagery and emotional and spiritual content with which the works are imbued; and the Impromptus evoke Scriabin’s mould-breaking compositional freedom and the genius of his idiosyncratic stream of consciousness and individual pianism. There are other noteworthy genres here with an important place in his piano output, including sonata-form movements that ultimately would be stand-alone pieces, nocturnes, other dances, and a pair of album leaves.
Many of these pieces provide this collection with valuable continuity, constituting bridges in the development of the composer’s art and pianism between the individual sonatas, études and preludes that feature in the previous volumes. Or they provide context: for example, the three pieces of Opus 51 given here are the companions to the Prelude Op.51 No.2 that featured alone in the previous prelude cycle. As such they are not a “catch all” but a worthy and indispensable final piece of the puzzle depicting this extraordinary creator.
As the performer writes in his own probing liner notes for the set, “It is not simply as a musician that Scriabin takes his place in the history of Russian art. His creativity has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for many composers, poets, artists and philosophers. His name has become a symbol of the aspirational venture into the future, of flight into the unknown, of eternal youth. This he will be for countless generations to come.”
Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev is one of the world’s most highly regarded artists. His critically acclaimed recitals on the world’s leading concert stages and concerto appearances with the most prestigious orchestras have secured his position as one of ‘the most remarkable pianists of the day’ (Daily Telegraph).
- Recorded in January and July 2019 in London
- The booklet contains liner notes in English by the performer on the composer and the works, as well as Alexeev’s biography
- This is the third and last installment of Dimitri Alexeev’s recording of the complete piano works by Alexander Scriabin: the Poèmes and Mazurkas.
- Scriabin was a great admirer of Chopin and his early works are greatly influenced by the Polish genius. However Scriabin went his own way and developed a highly individual tone language, based on “mystical” chords and seeking a new spirituality based on his own esoteric and theosophical ideas.
- The short pieces presented here are fascinating specimens of Scriabin’s evolution, from Chopin-adept to a musical visionary. It includes the complete Mazurkas, the Polish dance immortalized by Chopin, and the complete Poèmes, short epigrams often expressing only one, fleeting idea, from the dreamlike to the satanic. Also includes are all other short pieces by Scriabin: Morceaux, Nocturnes, Pièces, Danses and the mighty Fantasy Op. 28.
Dmitri Alexeev is one of the foremost Russian pianists of today. He played with all important orchestras and conductors, and extensively recorded for EMI. His previous Scriabin recording for Brilliant Classics include the Complete Sonatas, Preludes and the Complete Études, all were hailed enthusiastically by the international press: “He emphasizes the music’s lyrical beauty without sacrificing energy or forward mobility…few recordings are so intrinsically beautiful as Alexeev’s.” Jed Distler on Classicstoday.com.