“But this is a disaster!” Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) is known to have cried out the night before he died. He was only forty-
three, hardly old even in Russia of that time. What was it Scriabin did not manage to complete? And what, despite everything, did he succeed in accomplishing? To find answers, to understand his work, we must direct our attention toward his time.
“The beginning of the 20th century was Scriabin’s era”, Boris Pasternak wrote. Pasternak is best known here in this country as the author of Dr. Zhivago, which earned him the Nobel Prize. But he was perhaps a poet above all and originally wanted to become a composer. Young Boris was in fact fervently preoccupied with and inspired by the remarkable man who usually spent the summer near the family’s country house: Alexander Scriabin. Boris’s father, Leonid, a well-known artist in Russia at the time, painted some of the very best portraits that exist of the distinguished neighbour.
The closeness of painting, poetry and music is symptomatic of the period before and after the beginning of the 20th century in Russia, known as the Silver Age of Russian culture. Symbolism was the dominant school of thought and art in this period. One of its leading exponents, Andrei Bely, wrote four prose works that he referred to as “symphonies”, while Scriabin — who often and somewhat too categorically is seen as Symbolism’s leading composer — for his part, called his third and fourth symphonies “poems”.
Please note that tracks 1+2 and 3+4 of the original release were combined in this DSD product, that is why there is a total of 3 tracks.