Vladimir Sofronitsky

Scriabin chez Scriabin

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Mastered from a taped concert of January 6, 1960 (except for the first track, the Piano Sonata No. 8, which was recorded on December 24, 1960), this historic release from Arbiter presents one of the greatest interpreters of the keyboard music of Alexander Scriabin, playing the composer's piano in his last home, now the Scriabin Museum in Moscow. Vladimir Sofronitsky's intimate recital should be heard from beginning to end in order to grasp the stylistic continuum to be found in the program; the flow from the early Romantic preludes to the late mysticism of Vers la flamme, then back to the quasi-impressionistic character pieces gives the concert a well-rounded feeling of departure and return, though this only touches on Sofronitsky's plan in the most general way. To this famous authority on Scriabin, there were many deeper thematic linkages between the pieces that suggested an ongoing progression of thought and that an attentive hearing of this disc may bring into sharper focus. However, because this concert was recorded on a portable recorder with a single microphone, the rough sound quality is a major hindrance: Scriabin's piano sounds excessively distorted in the loudest passages, the audio's next-to-negligible bass makes the music seem overly tinny and shallow, and the presence of tape hiss is constant. Yet once these problems are accommodated, Sofronitsky's playing is fairly easy to follow and appreciate, and the subtlety of his understanding comes through in his carefully shaded gestures, volatile dynamics, and flexible rubato. All the same, newcomers to Scriabin's music should not depend on this album for their introduction, but should listen to it only after absorbing recordings that have clearer reproduction.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
13:12
2
1:18
3
1:25
4
1:29
5
1:49
6
1:56
7
3:48
8
6:12
9
1:51
10
1:18
Dances (2) for piano, Op. 73
11
2:02
12
2:31
13
1:03
14
1:04
15
0:58
16
2:25
17
1:00
18
1:42
19
0:54
20
1:00
Poèmes (2) for piano, Op. 71
21
1:28
22
1:41
23
1:11
24
4:34
25
1:45
26
1:53
27
1:29
28
1:27
29
1:07
30
1:13
31
3:05
32
1:07
33
1:22
blue highlight denotes track pick