Gábor Csalog

Étrangeté / Strangeness: Alexander Scriabin, Preludes and Poems

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Gábor Csalog's notes for his recording of preludes and other short pieces by Scriabin describe it as three programs. He recommends that each one be taken as a "daily dose" of Scriabin. The programs are more or less chronological surveys of Scriabin's style, moving from the Chopin-esque early preludes to the mystical late works. That timeline is lost if the disc is played all the way through in one sitting. Csalog also points out the Scriabin often said that he aimed to get maximum expression with a minimum of notes in his compositions. Csalog similarly gets maximum expression out of minimal playing. He has such a soft and very quiet way of playing these pieces that they all seem mystical, or at least dream-like, to some extent no matter when they were written, or how tonal they are. Some of them have a feeling of calm stillness even with many moving notes. The Prelude in B flat major, Op. 11/5, is one of those. Csalog keeps the accompaniment line way under the melody and takes his time with the music. He so naturally forms the echoes of the Poème, Op. 71/1, it's hard to believe it's not real echoes. Even when the music becomes more passionate, he's still more often coaxing the music out of the piano rather than forcing it out, letting it flow and breathe. Only in the most dramatic moments, such as the Prelude Op. 17/5 or in Vers la Flamme, does Csalog really put his strength into it. In his hands, the only difference between Scriabin's early and late works is their tonal orientation. Because he performs this music so lovingly and so beautifully, he's right when he says that 70 minutes of Scriabin's shorter works all together is too much of a good thing. The sound engineering is close and quiet, to pick up Csalog's playing, but it doesn't quite seem up to the task of adjusting when it is louder, making the piano sound less like an acoustical instrument.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:26
2
2:16
3
1:49
4
2:02
5
1:46
6
1:30
7
1:10
8
1:14
9
0:45
10
1:37
11
1:23
12
1:02
13
1:20
14
1:40
15
2:18
16
1:31
17
2:25
18
1:11
19
0:58
20
2:43
21
1:12
22
1:00
23
0:50
24
0:38
25
1:14
26
1:10
27
2:44
28
5:03
29
1:37
30
1:25
31
3:54
32
0:54
33
1:23
34
3:14
35
0:37
36
2:05
37
1:03
38
1:29
39
2:15
40
2:25
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