Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Alexander Scriabin

This étude was the first of the Three Pieces from Op. 2 that are generally dated to the period between 1887-1889. Scriabin was 15 years old when he wrote this étude in 1887, a time when he was already an admirer of Chopin and Liszt. The influence of the former can be heard in the harmonies and emotional tenor of the piece, but the main theme is more akin to the singing melodic creations Rachmaninov would be writing in a few years. Yet the melody divulges characteristics of Russian Gypsy music in its melancholy exoticism. This melody is really at the heart of this popular piece, one of Scriabin's earliest successes. It has an arch-like contour, soaring upward in its first half, but only partially descending. Emotionally, the music is full of passion and romance, but features a sense of anxiety, too, in the end conveying some sadness or frustration in lovely simplicity. The piece lasts about three minutes and will offer appeal to most fanciers of piano music.

-- Robert Cummings