Yevgeny Sudbin

Yevgeny Sudbin Plays Scriabin

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Yevgeny Sudbin Plays Scriabin Review

by Blair Sanderson

Treated to Yevgeny Sudbin's excellent recordings of music by Domenico Scarlatti, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, and Sergey Rachmaninov, fans of the brilliant Russian virtuoso can expect similarly high levels of energy and refinement in his exciting performances of piano pieces by Alexander Scriabin. The three sonatas and nine shorter works on this 2007 BIS release may make this album seem a bit like a synopsis of the composer's output, since all his styles are represented, and his characteristic expressions -- from the early, Chopin-esque flavor of the etudes to the late mysticism evinced in the Sonata No. 9, "Black Mass" -- are clearly laid out. Sudbin demonstrates both concentrated control and wild explosiveness in these performances, depending on which is needed most in the music at any given time, and the agility and alacrity that he displays in switching between these extremes show his deep understanding of Scriabin's ethos, which embraces both delicate purity and diabolical frenzy. These contradictory aspects meet almost perfectly in the Sonata No. 5 (sometimes nicknamed "Poem of Ecstasy"), which Sudbin delivers with an ideal balance of diaphanous chasteness and rampant lustiness; this performance is the highlight of the disc. The reproduction on this hybrid SACD is phenomenally clear and comfortably close, so the rich textures and vibrant colors in Sudbin's playing come across with marvelous resonance and multidimensional depth.

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