Hyperion Records

Sept préludes, Op 17
composer
1895/6

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Sept préludes, Op 17
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Op 17 is far less often performed as a set, but contains some of Scriabin’s loveliest pages. No 1 is a melancholy waltz whose ‘flying’ right-hand line, supported by restless left-hand cross-rhythms, reaches passionate heights. It is the left hand (as so often) of No 2 which provides the motive power, with octave figures across the beat; above floats a magisterial line particularly reminiscent of Chopin. No 3 is in Scriabin’s weightless, filigree manner, and No 4 spins a melodic line over an evenly moving bass similarly to Op 11 No 13, which is in a related key. The scenery of Heidelberg evokes an heroic response in No 5: widespread broken chords in the right hand complement a left hand whose opening gesture anticipates Rachmaninov’s Sonata No 2 of 1913. The ‘doloroso’ marking of No 6 is expressed by ceaseless suspensions, but there is an underlying serenity. These sets often close with a lightweight number, but No 7 is an exception with its long, mobile lines and virtuosic left hand.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 2001

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