Scriabin’s Études span the whole of his composing career, marking a highly transitional period in classical music. From a very young age, Scriabin wrote miniatures for the piano, and his early Chopin-esque compositions earned him the nickname ‘the Russian Chopin’ – frustrating for the young composer who was eager to look beyond the established forms of waltzes and mazurkas. While many of the earlier Études bear hallmarks of the Romantic era, Scriabin soon began to explore his own unique tonality, starting from Op.42 with its noticeable use of tritones, and later when he centred on the so-called ‘Mystic’ chord, based around perfect and augmented fourths. Scriabin himself struggled for years with his piano technique, after he injured his hand permanently by over-practising notoriously virtuosic works by Liszt and Balakirev. This didn’t stop him writing technically challenging music for the piano, with thrillingly fast runs in parallel ninths and fifths and his trademark cross-rhythms in each hand.
Only a performer with vast experience and technical understanding can attempt repertoire of this kind. Russian pianist Dmitri Alexeev has been playing in concert halls for over 30 years, counting performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam among his many career highlights. He is a Professor of Advanced Piano at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, allowing him to spread his wealth of knowledge and musical intelligence to a new generation of students.
In celebration of the Scriabin Centenary in 2015 this new recording presents the complete piano Etudes by the Russian Mystic.
The three sets of Etudes clearly mark the development of Scriabin’s musical language: the Opus 8 is strongly influenced by Chopin and Scriabin’s friend and contemporary Rachmaninoff, the Opus 42 already show signs of his new and completely individual harmonic experiments, while Opus 65 are ablaze with his ideas about the mystical power of music, the forces of darkness and light.
No better Scriabin advocate than Dmitri Alexeev, a pianist of unique technical and emotional powers, creeping under the skin of this fascinating music.
Alexeev already recorded a highly acclaimed set of the complete Piano Sonatas by Scriabin, on Brilliant Classics 94388.
Recorded in the UK in 2009 and 2010
Contains detailed notes on the works
Contains a biography of the artist