No 1: Allegro fantastico
No 2: Allegretto
No 3: Molto vivace
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