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