Wednesday 8 September 2021

Scriabin complete: all ten published piano sonatas in one sitting at Puskin House as part of the Bloomsbury Festival

Alexander Scriabin
Alexander Scriabin

This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915) and in celebration, as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, Pushkin House has arranged an event where all ten of Scriabin's published piano sonatas will be performed by a team of distinguished pianists, Thomas Ang, Daniel Grimwood, Alexander Karpeyev, Dinara Klinton, James Kreiling, Yuri Paterson-Olenich, Maria Razumovskaya, Olga Stezhko and Nafis Umerkulova. On Saturday 23 October 2021 from 3pm to 6pm, they will give us the chance to hear all of the composer's published piano sonatas.

Scriabin wrote his sonatas across almost his entire mature compositional life, from 1892-1913, in fact quite a narrow time-span for ten works. His Piano Sonata No. 1 (in fact the third to be written but the first to get an opus number) was his first large-scale masterpiece, an emotionally charged work which he wrote after damaging his right hand after excessive piano playing. Through the sonatas, the development of his style can be traced from the relatively conventional Liszt and Chopin-inspired Romanticism of the early sonatas to the last five, which are written without key signature, and many passages can be said to be atonal. His Sonata No. 9 (dating from 1912-13) was given the nickname Black Mass Sonata, though the name was not Scriabin's, whilst he described the Sonata No. 10 (from 1913) thus, "My Tenth Sonata is a sonata of insects. Insects are born from the sun [...] they are the kisses of the sun" and the work his highly chromatic and atonal.

Full details from the Pushkin House website.

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