As a young composer, Alexander Scriabin most strongly felt the influence of Frédéric Chopin, and his early piano works reflected an affinity for forms Chopin favored, though they were expressed in an increasingly idiosyncratic style that anticipated Scriabin's later impressionistic pieces. For Nocturnal Fantasies, a 2010 Centaur release, pianist Albert Tiu has chosen works to illustrate the many similarities in their music, and paired off comparable etudes, impromptus, fantasies, nocturnes, and waltzes, placing them between Scriabin's Sonata-Fantasie No. 2 in G sharp minor and Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major, larger works that serve almost as bookends for the program. In terms of the pieces' keys or tonal centers, Tiu has also made matches in most cases, except for Chopin's Fantaisie in F minor and Scriabin's Fantaisie in B minor, so the linkages of the program are carefully supported by their shared tonality and common harmonic choices. But once the point about similarities has been made, Tiu's poetic interpretations suggest a fairly consistent mood of reverie that runs through the album. Rather than pore over comparisons between the composers and the qualities in their pieces, listeners may prefer to relax and let the music set a mood of reflection. Indeed, this album is well-suited to being used as background music for quiet activities, and Tiu's understated expressions and soft playing lend a dreamlike quality to the collection.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Sonata Fantaisie No. 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19|