Dmitri Alexeev

Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas

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Scriabin fans today have a much wider selection of complete recordings of the piano sonatas than in years past, and the growing number of sets not only shows how these works have been accepted as standard repertoire, but also that more pianists have mastered their difficulties. While the first three sonatas have ready familiarity with listeners, cast as they are in the Romantic mold of Chopin and Liszt, the remaining seven have had a checkered career, not only because they display Scriabin's increasing complexity of textures, rhythms, and dissonances, but also because they are among the most technically demanding to play. Dmitri Alexeev's 2012 twofer on Brilliant Classics offers proof that all the sonatas are now mainstream, because his interpretations diverge very little from the norms established by such brilliant pianists as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Roberto Szidon, Robert Taub, Maria Lettberg, and Marc-André Hamelin, and the facility with which he performs them reflects the supreme virtuosity that has become expected of major pianists. When collections of the sonatas are placed side by side, it can be excruciating to select just one, but knowing that this one is a worthy competitor makes it a reasonable choice, especially for beginners just learning the mysteries of Scriabin's music. Brilliant's reproduction is quite good, but be aware that it sometimes picks up the pianist's breathing.

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