The Variations on a theme by Mlle Egorova
(1887) have a more conventionally Russian flavour than the Sonate-fantaisie
. No one is quite sure who Mlle Egorova was; however, the theme certainly has charm, and the resulting variations could almost have come from the pen of Liadov except that, in contrast to Liadov’s painstaking and considered approach to composition, these variations give us the impression that they were finished in a rather hasty fashion. Scriabin’s first two variations imply that he is planning a more extended work. What we get, however, are merely three variations (though very fine ones) followed by a brief reminder of the theme itself and a coda. This feeling of premature completion is supported by the absence of dynamic markings (except for an opening piano and a fortissimo near the end) and missing octave indications in the manuscript. There is also the tantalizing survival of a second manuscript containing only the theme and one variation, which might have suggested a planned revision.
from notes by Stephen Coombs © 2001