ALEXANDER SCRIABIN = Sonatas, Piano Concerto and other works played by winners of the First International Scriabin Piano Competition in Moscow – Vista Vera

by | Jan 9, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN = Reverie, Op. 24; Sonata No. 9, Op. 68;
Five Preludes, Op. 74; Two Poems, Op. 69; Prelude in B Major, Op. 2, No. 2;
Two Preludes, Op. 27; Fantasia, Op. 28; Sonata No. 4, Op. 30; Piano Concerto in F-sharp Minor, Op. 20 – Tanel Joamets, piano (Sonata No. 9; Five Preludes)/Yuka Kobayashi, piano (Two Poems)/ Karen Komienko (Preludes; Fantasia)/Dmitri Kaprin, piano (Sonata No. 4)/ Eugeni Mikhailov, piano (Concerto)/ State Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Ponkin (Reverie; Concerto)

Vista Vera VVCD-96010,  71:12 (Distrib. Albany) ****:

From 8 February 1995, we have the various winners of the First International Scriabin Piano Competition, given in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.  Reverie, Op. 24, is Scriabin’s first orchestral composition, which I first heard on a Capitol disc with Eugene Goossens. Its languid harmonies set the tone for much of the this music, since Scriabin always inhabits the world of poems, dreams, and hazy, erotic, inner states. The hard patina of the various pianists makes them sound virtually the same, although several pieces, like the Op. 68 Sonata and the Op. 28 Fantasia, are knottier pieces than some of the others, which can be fiery but terse.

Tanel Joamets (b. 1968) is the oldest of the young artists on this disc; the youngest is Dmitri Kaprin (b. 1977).  Joanets offers the so-called Black Mass Sonata as an extended moment of savage ecstasies. Third Prize winner Karen Komienko (b. 1974) brings a superheated temperament to the Op. 28 Fantasy, which often resembles the liquid fire in the D-sharp Minor Etude, the Horowitz staple, cross-fertilized by Chopin‘s F Minor Ballade. Second Prize winner Kaprin plays the delicate Sonata No. 4 as a study in touch and the liberation of both the trill and the dissonance. The piano does all but melt amidst the implosive embers that saturate this music. First Prize winner Mikhailov (b. 1973) performs the youthful Scriabin Piano Concerto, championed by Neuhaus, Solomon, Richter, Ashkenazy, and Ugorski. An extended, rippling nocturne, the Concerto’s style hints at Rachmaninov, Scriabin’s contemporary and a severe critic of what he later thought were Scriabin’s too radical experiments. The third movement possesses the most flavorful colors, agitated figures that keep moving to a graduated apotheosis, often with a darkly Flemish affect that reminds me of D’Indy. Mikhailov and Ponkin make lush work of the whole affair, and the audience yells its unqualified approbation.

— Gary Lemco

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