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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67131/2
Recording details: June 1995
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 1996
Total duration: 12 minutes 56 seconds

'He commands the four qualities that a Scriabin interpreter must have: a feverish intensity, a manic vision, a sovereign and fastidious command of the pedal, and a huge dynamic range' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin rises to the challenges of this music with complete mastery. But his is more than a purely technical triumph (though the effortless of his playing has to be heard to be believed)' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is one of the most significant Scriabin recordings of recent years, as well as another triumph for Hamelin, who reveals as much affinity for this Russian mystic as he has for Alkan, Godowsky, Ives, and Bolcom on earlier discs … Two more favorable elements must be noted: Hyperion's spacious and vivid recorded sound, and a really superb set of booklet notes by Simon Nicholls' (American Record Guide)

'Hamelin's playing enthralls the ear with its rounded, never-ugly tone, flickering fingerwork, and thunderous power. A sensational issue in every sense' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hamelin's playing has superb authority and presence, and when required the greatest delicacy too. His amazing technical skill is completely at the service of the music. This is a major release' (Classic CD)

'Hamelin's revelatory cycle of the Scriabin sonatas takes top honors rather easily … a vein that's rarely been mined—and never with such virtuoso perfection. The more you think you know about these scores, the more striking you're liable to find this set' (Fanfare, USA)

'Marc-André Hamelin is the most important interpreter of Scriabin's music to have come along in decades' (Clavier)

'Il a les doigts et la sensibilité, la clairvoyance aussi, qui lui permettent de trouver un lyrisme généreux' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Piano Sonata No 10, Op 70
composer
1913

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata No 10, Op 70, is perhaps one of Scriabin’s supreme achievements in its formal balance and concentration of expression. Here we are back in harmony with Nature: Scriabin described the work as ‘bright, joyful, earthly’ and spoke of the atmosphere of the woods: some commentators have heard bird calls in the opening bars. Perhaps there is an echo here of that late summer of 1913 at Petrovskoye, the country estate where, in a world soon to vanish in war and revolution, Scriabin put the finishing touches to his last sonatas. There are evocations, also, of insects, which Scriabin saw as manifestations of human emotion. The plan is, as before, a slow prologue followed by a sonata Allegro. The prelude is subdued and serene in tone but finishes with three ‘luminous, vibrant’ trills—a blazing vision of light and a sign of the structural importance of trills in this sonata.

As so often in Scriabin’s sonatas, great importance is given to the second subject, an upward-leaping theme marked ‘with joyous exaltation’ on its first appearance. Its recapitulation is one of the most extraordinary passages: the theme, once again in the middle of the texture, is accompanied by trills expanded into multiple clusters, an anticipation of the sonorities of Messiaen, evoking, according to the composer, ‘blinding light, as if the sun had come close’. The final dance in this sonata, where the material is drawn together into utmost compression, is a ‘trembling, winged’ one of insects; the final bars leave us in the peace of the forest.

Scriabin saw himself at this stage as on the brink of great new developments; ironically, as it turned out, he commented: ‘I must live as long as possible.’ He died, agonizingly, of blood-poisoning in 1915. His philosophical preoccupations prevented him from understanding the import of the outbreak of war in 1914: ‘The masses’, opined Scriabin, ‘need to be shaken up, in order to purify the human organization …’ Death, with an uncanny sense of timing, spared him the shake-up of the Russian Revolution. His interior world remains intact, a shared secret for all who wish to enter it.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 1996

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