Hyperion Records

Études, Op 8
composer
1894

Recordings
'Scriabin: The Complete Études' (CDA66607)
Scriabin: The Complete Études
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66607  Archive Service  
'Simon Barere – The complete HMV recordings 1934–1936' (APR6002)
Simon Barere – The complete HMV recordings 1934–1936
APR6002  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 – 9 March 1947' (APR5622)
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 – 9 March 1947
APR5622  Download only  
'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 3 – 11 November 1947' (APR5623)
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 3 – 11 November 1947
APR5623  Download only  
'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 & appendices' (APR5625)
Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 & appendices
APR5625  Download only  
'Scriabin: The Early Scriabin' (CDH55286)
Scriabin: The Early Scriabin
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55286  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Details
No 01: C sharp minor
Track 2 on CDA66607 [1'28] Archive Service
No 02: F sharp minor
Track 3 on CDA66607 [1'36] Archive Service
No 03: B minor
Track 4 on CDA66607 [1'47] Archive Service
No 04: B major
Track 5 on CDA66607 [2'04] Archive Service
No 05: E major
Track 6 on CDA66607 [1'57] Archive Service
No 06: A major
Track 7 on CDA66607 [1'43] Archive Service
No 07: B flat minor
Track 8 on CDA66607 [1'54] Archive Service
No 08: A flat major
Track 9 on CDA66607 [4'12] Archive Service
No 09: G sharp minor
Track 10 on CDA66607 [4'31] Archive Service
No 10: D flat major
Track 11 on CDA66607 [1'48] Archive Service
Track 8 on APR5622 [1'44] Download only
No 11: B flat minor
Track 12 on CDA66607 [4'12] Archive Service
No 12: D sharp minor
Track 13 on CDA66607 [2'14] Archive Service
Track 14 on APR5623 [2'07] Download only
Track 5 on APR6002 CD2 [2'10] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 10 on APR6002 CD2 [1'55] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 10 on APR5625 [2'00] Download only
No 12: D sharp minor: Alternative version
Track 16 on CDH55286 [3'04] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Études, Op 8
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The twelve Études Op 8 (completed 1894) cost Scriabin much effort and revision. He played some of them in his St Petersburg debut the following year. Virtuoso piano technique is explored exhaustively: thirds, sixths, octaves and a wide variety of broken chord figurations create a rich tonal palette. Rhythmic complexity and chromatic harmony point into the future, though the language and gestures are those of late Romanticism.

The fluttering triplet figures and tender phrases of No 1, together with almost constant two against three cross-rhythms, express a joyful agitation which contrasts strongly with the moody, Oriental arabesques of No 2. Here rhythm is fluid and rhapsodic and melody exotic, angular and zig-zagging.

The marking of No 3, ‘Tempestoso’, together with the heading ‘Brioso’ for No 5, never satisfied Scriabin. This is an early example of an increasing desire to express in words the content of his music. Later he was to take this to such lengths with such annotations as ‘divin’ and ‘sublime’ in The Divine Poem (Symphony No 3, Op 43) that his old teacher Taneiev remarked drily: ‘You are the first composer to write praise of your compositions instead of performance directions.’ However, the violently alternating double and single notes across the 6/8 metre in this study, further complicated later by left hand cross-rhythms, are indeed tempestuous. This Étude anticipates the oceanic imagery of the second Sonata’s finale (work on the Sonata extended from 1892 to 1897).

The widely spaced arpeggio figurations of No 4 evoke much gentler ripples on the waters of the psyche. Here, too, metre is blurred by cross-rhythms (five against three). Nos 5 and 6 are contrasting studies in fiery octaves and graceful legato sixths; No 7, ‘Presto tenebroso, agitato’, exploits athletically demanding left hand broken chords, in triplets across the beat. The difficulty and the ghostly, scurrying character are enhanced by the ‘pp sotto voce’ marking. The chromatic pathos of the central section and its orchestral sonorities point to future developments.

No 8 is a tender song written for Scriabin’s first love, Natalya Sekerina. Intended for her to play, its technical demands are kept to a modest level, unlike those of No 9, an octave study on an epic scale as suggested by the marking ‘alla ballata’. The second subject’s rocking rhythm is a clear tribute to the Chopin of the Ballades.

With No 10 the virtuosic element is again at its height. Staccato chromatic thirds in the right hand together with a gymnastically mobile left convey an exultant sensation of flight—a lifelong preoccupation with Scriabin. Boris Pasternak described in his Essay in Autobiography how on country walks the composer would suddenly and excitedly skip on ahead, skimming the ground.

The melancholy falling sequences of No 11 are an idealization of folk melody akin to the song of the Georgian girl in the piano part of Rachmaninov’s song Oh, cease thy singing, maiden fair, Op 4 No 4, written between 1890 and 1893. The Étude gives a necessary moment of repose before the heaven-storming onslaught of No 12, Scriabin’s own ‘Revolutionary’ Étude. Technically this is another octave study; emotionally it marks the final peak of the cycle. The defiant gestures of the right hand (not dissimilar to Chopin’s in his Op 10 No 12) are propelled by wide-ranging left-hand figurations which give way to irresistibly onward-pressing repeated chords in both hands—a device used later at the climaxes of the fourth and fifth Sonatas.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 1992

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66607 track 6
E major
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-92-60706
Duration
1'57
Recording date
13 May 1992
Recording venue
St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Scriabin: The Complete Études (CDA66607)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: November 1992
    Deletion date: June 2013
    Archive Service
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