Hyperion Records

Trois études, Op 65

'Scriabin: The Complete Études' (CDH55242)
Scriabin: The Complete Études
CDH55242  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) 5 January 2015 Release  
No 1: Allegro fantastico
Track 24 on CDH55242 [3'30] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) 5 January 2015 Release
No 2: Allegretto
Track 25 on CDH55242 [1'58] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) 5 January 2015 Release
No 3: Molto vivace
Track 26 on CDH55242 [1'36] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) 5 January 2015 Release

Trois études, Op 65
With the three Études Op 65 (1911–12) we definitively enter the final stage of Scriabin’s composing career. The last orchestral work, Prometheus (with piano, organ and choir) had been completed: it included a part for a ‘keyboard of lights’ which was to project changing colours into the auditorium. This synaesthetic concept led to the unfinished multi-media project which was to occupy Scriabin’s thought in his final years, the ‘Mysterium’, intended to bring about a world spiritual revolution. Ironically, the general tendency in his music at this time was towards ever-increasing concentration and conciseness.

A letter of 1912 anticipates with glee the scandal to be caused by the publication of Études based on the ‘horrifying … perverse … sacrilegious’ intervals of ninths, sevenths and fifths. The sonorities created here are among Scriabin’s most original and visionary. He himself was not able to perform the extremely difficult Op 65 No 1—his hands were too small to span the ninths, which, moreover, have to be played quickly and pianissimo. The effect is uncanny and ghostly. No 2, in major sevenths, deals with the most dissonant of the three intervals but, paradoxically, is the most overtly sensuous and languorous of the Études. Barcarolle-like rocking alternates with agitated volando flutterings like those of a captive bird. No 3, in fifths, is a dialogue: an ethereal, scintillating dance is repeatedly interrupted by powerful, imperious and hieratic gestures akin to those which open the seventh Sonata (headed ‘Prophétique’ in the manuscript), composed at the same period.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 1992

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