In his last years, Skryabin realized a noble and great idea. Inspired by his study of theosophical writings, he dreamed of joining music, poetry, mime, architecture, light, colour and even aromas to create a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, and thus elevate human beings to a higher level of consciousness. This “Mysterium” was never completed, but his late piano sonatas – conceived as preliminary studies – enable us to see what moved Skryabin. He spent a particularly long time working on his eighth sonata and proofread it intensively; but later quite a few mistakes still found their way into it. Thanks to the autograph and the first edition, ambiguous passages have now been cleared up and corrected in our Urtext edition.
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Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) wrote his Piano Sonatas nos. 6–10 between 1911 and 1913. These late works are colored by an underlying mystical mood that was no doubt nurtured by his study of theosophical writings. Indeed, in the composer’s last years, these writings had stimulated him to envision a “Gesamtkunstwerk” that would fuse music, poetry, pantomime, dance, … more
About the composer
Russian composer and pianist. The focal point of his oeuvre is his extremely unique piano music; in addition, he wrote important orchestral works.
|1872||Born in Moscow on January 6, the son of a pianist (his mother); she died in 1872.|
|1888–92||Piano studies at the Moscow Conservatory|
|1888–96||Twenty-four Preludes, Op. 11, containing all the hallmarks of Scriabin’s early period: broad, ornamental cantilenas underpinned by figurations and arpeggios in the style of Chopin, complex rhythmic structure from polyrhythms and syncopations.|
|1892–1913||Composition of ten piano sonatas.|
|1896||Travels to Paris, Vienna, Rome.|
|1897||Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor, Op. 20, in the style of Chopin.|
|1897–1909/10||He primarily composes orchestral pieces, including the major works “Le Poème de l’extase” (“The Poem of Ecstasy”) for large orchestra (1905–07), Op. 54, and “Prométhée ou Le Poème du feu” (“Prometheus or The Poem of Fire,” 1908–10); orientation toward Liszt and Wagner; programmatic music with occasional annotations in the musical score, incorporation of philosophical notions into his compositions, which are defined by various philosophical movements from around the turn of the century. Unusual intervals, harmonically at the edge of tonality.|
|1899–1904||Composition of his three symphonies, Opp. 26, 29, and 43.|
|1904||He resides in Switzerland.|
|1906||Invitation to the United States.|
|1910||Return to Russia.|
|1908–10||“Prométhée ou Le Poème du feu” for piano, orchestra, organ, choir, and clavier à lumière, Op. 60: enrichment of musical performance through plays of light. 1911–14, piano compositions, Opp. 61–74, with avant-garde harmonies.|
|1913||Beginning of the multisensory “Acte préalable” (“Prefatory Action”), which is never completed.|
|1915||Death in Moscow on April 27.|
About the authors
Mit Skrjabins 8. Klaviersonate hat der G. Henle Verlag eine Ausgabe vorgelegt, die in der Tradition seiner seit langem bekannten hohen Qualität steht.
The clarity of the Henle edition will facilitate initial learning, as it makes the detail of cross-rhythms and layering of voices easy to comprehend.
Henle continue their admirable re-branding of Scriabin’s complex music with an especially lucid and expansively presented presentation of the mysterious, wistfully lugubrious Eighth Sonata. … Rubcova has also removed a number of unnecessary reminders of accidentals which had existed in earlier publications. Fingering by Michael Schneidt is subtly spread throughout the work and is generally sensible.