The four preludes of Op 39 open with a strong harmonic flavour of the ‘Divine Poem’, but there is a suspicion here that Scriabin is applying his harmonic innovations to a familiar musical content. Not so with the startling twists, turns and mood shifts of No 2, truly improvisatory in manner. The mysterious languor of No 3 rests partly on Scriabin’s favourite three-against-five cross-rhythm. In No 4 the harmonic progression is enigmatic, elliptical, labyrinthine, like a sentence in very late Henry James.
from notes by Simon Nicholls © 2001