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Obsession passée, Op 6

'Alexandrov: Piano Music' (CDA67328)
Alexandrov: Piano Music
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Movement 1: Longing: Languido
Track 10 on CDA67328 [2'24] Archive Service
Movement 2: Étude: Pas très vite
Track 11 on CDA67328 [1'03] Archive Service
Movement 3: Impression, Botticelli: Très nerveux, tempo rubato
Track 12 on CDA67328 [0'48] Archive Service
Movement 4: Epilogue: Poco agitato – Drammatico
Track 13 on CDA67328 [1'11] Archive Service

Obsession passée, Op 6
Alexandrov was in the habit of studying the works of his contemporary Alexei Stanchinsky (1888-1914). He too took Scriabin as his starting point and tried even more consistently than Alexandrov to combine excessive expressiveness and eruptive extravagance with the stricter forms (sonatas) and styles (fugues and canons) used by Taneyev, and in doing so he abandoned late romantic hyper-chromaticism in favour of new diatonic models or modified scales. It was not entirely by chance that it was Alexandrov who edited Stanchinsky’s works which regarding contents and style were quite simply unequalled, after his early death. Alexandrov’s Obsession passée (‘A Long-Forgotten Madness’), Op 6, which was dedicated to the memory of Stanchinsky, and published in 1918, brings together works that had been composed between 1911 and 1917. These Quatre fragments make reference to Stanchinsky’s tonal language, but also in their titles to the latter’s psychical frailness and insanity (he worshipped horses as gods and doffed his hat to them). Against this background, Alexandrov carried out a number of experiments: in the first three pieces there are no key signatures at all, and in places he abandons tonality entirely, as in the fourths of Langueur (No 1, 1913) and in the nervously iridescent Impression (No 3, 1916). Alexandrov later described the cycle as an expression of mysticism and a compulsive quest for the new; and he considered the closing Epilogue (No 4, 1917) to be ‘a sort of reflection on that period, but in a different time’. He made no effort to conceal the metrical borrowings from Stanchinsky in the Étude (No 2, 1911):

I once even consciously imitated Alyosha. I liked his Prelude for piano in D major in 7/16 time, and I composed a study in 14/16 time, which was later included in the Obsession passée cycle. It is true that our pieces are similar only in tempo, but the idea was borrowed from Stanchinsky.

from notes by Christoph Flamm © 2002
English: Roland Smithers

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Details for CDA67328 track 10
Longing: Languido
Recording date
21 October 2001
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Jeremy Hayes
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Alexandrov: Piano Music (CDA67328)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: May 2002
    Deletion date: May 2010
    Archive Service
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