Alexander Nikolaevich Scriabin (1871-1915)



Donald Macleod follows the young Scriabin from a cossetted upbringing by '2 grandmothers and an aunt', via the Cadet Corps, to studenthood at the Moscow Conservatoire, where overpractising damaged his right hand. After graduating, he became a protegee of the great patron of Russian music, Mitrofan Beliaev.

Canon in D minor

Stephen Coombs (piano)

Sonata fantasy in G sharp minor

Marc-Andre Hamelin (piano)

Prelude and Nocturne for left hand, Op 9 (Nos 1 and 2)

Scriabin, orch Rogal-Levitsky: March Funebre (Piano Sonata No 1, Op 6)

Moscow Symphony Orchestra

Igor Golovschin (conductor)

Etude, Op 8 No 12

Alexander Scriabin (piano)

Prelude, Op 11 No 8

Sergei Rachmaninov (piano)

Heinrich Neuhaus (piano)

Preludes, Op 16 (Nos 2-5)

Alexander Goldenwieser (piano)

Scriabin, orch Rozhdestvensky: Fantasy for piano and orchestra

Victoria Postnikova (piano)

Residentie Orchestra The Hague

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (conductor)

Preludes, Op 11 (Nos 19-24)

Piers Lane (piano).

02Love And Belaiev20070529

Donald Macleod continues his exploration of the life and work of Alexander Scriabin through his piano sonatas, recounting the story of the composer's often tempestuous relationship with his patron Mitrofan Belaiev, and his equally tortuous relationship with women, many of whom were teenagers. The music in this programme includes Scriabin's only song, and his only Piano Concerto.


Zara Dolukhanova (soprano)

Berta Markovna Kozel (piano)

Prelude, Op 22 No 1

Piers Lane (piano)

Poeme, Op 32 No 1

Vladimir Ashkenasy (piano)

Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op 20

Peter Jablonski (piano)

Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

Reverie, Op 24

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

Etude in C sharp minor, Op 42 No 5

Terence Judd (piano)

Sonata No 4, Op 30

John Ogdon (piano).

03Miniaturist And Symphonist20070530

While many of Scriabin's works are small-scale piano pieces, he also worked on a larger scale. Donald Macleod introduces the composer's massive Second Symphony and Fifth Piano Sonata, and explores Scriabin's personal philosophy that prompted him once to exclaim 'I am God!'.

Poeme languide, Op 52 No 3

Mikhail Pletnev (piano)

Symphony No 2, Op 29

Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor)

Sonata No 5, Op 53

Sviatoslav Richter (piano).

04Ecstasy And Mass20070531

Donald Macleod introduces a performance from the Proms of Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, explores the composer's obsessions with hair and cleanliness, and contrasts the Seventh and Ninth Piano Sonatas, nicknamed the White and Black Masses.

Etudes, Op 42 (Nos 4 and 5)

Vladimir Horovitz (piano)

Le poeme d'extase, Op 54

USSR State Symphony Orchestra

Evgeny Svetlanov (conductor)

Sonata No 7, Op 64 (White Mass)

Roberto Szidon (piano)

Sonata No 9, Op 68 (Black Mass)

Gordon Fergus-Thomson (piano).

05 LASTFire And The End20070601

Donald Macleod ends his week of programmes about Alexander Scriabin with an exploration of synaesthesia, and performances of Prometheus: Poem of Fire and the composer's final piano works, the Op 74 Preludes and his Tenth Sonata.

He also visits Scriabin's Moscow flat and describes the composer's plans for his incomplete magnum opus Mysterium.

Poeme: Vers la flamme, Op 72

Vladimir Horovitz (piano)

Prometheus, Op 60

Alexander Toradze (piano)

Kirov Orchestra St Petersburg

Valery Gergiev (conductor)

5 Preludes, Op 74

Roger Woodward (piano)

Sonata No 10, Op 70

Mikhail Pletnev (piano)