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Scriabin: Complete Sonatas Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Mar. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Vox
  • ASIN: B00007J4SK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,935 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
  1. Sonata Fantasie In G Sharp Minor - Sonata Fantasie In G Sharp Minor 6:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
  2. Piano Sonata In E Flat Minor - I. Allegro Appassionato 6:57£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Piano Sonata In E Flat Minor - Iii. Andante 5:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Piano Sonata In E Flat Minor - Iii. Presto 3:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
  5. Piano Sonata No. 1 In F Minor, Op. 6 - I. Allegro Con Fuocoso10:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. Piano Sonata No. 1 In F Minor, Op. 6 - Ii. Presto 3:07£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Piano Sonata No. 1 In F Minor, Op. 6 - Iii. Funebre 4:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Piano Sonata No. 2 In G Sharp Minor, Op. 19, "sonata - Fantasy" - I. Andante 7:48£0.79  Buy MP3 
  9. Piano Sonata No. 2 In G Sharp Minor, Op. 19, "sonata - Fantasy" - Ii. Presto 3:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Piano Sonata No. 3 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 23 - I. Drammatico 5:39£0.79  Buy MP3 
11. Piano Sonata No. 3 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 23 - Ii. Allegretto 2:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
12. Piano Sonata No. 3 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 23 - Iii. Andante 3:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
13. Piano Sonata No. 3 In F Sharp Minor, Op. 23 - Iv. Presto Con Fuoco 5:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
14. Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53 - Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 53 9:38£0.79  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
  1. Piano Sonata No. 4 In F Sharp Major, Op. 30 - I. Andante 2:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
  2. Piano Sonata No. 4 In F Sharp Major, Op. 30 - Ii. Prestissimo Volando 4:32£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 62 - Piano Sonata No. 6, Op. 62 9:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 64, "white Mass" 8:44£0.79  Buy MP3 
  5. 3 Etudes, Op. 65 - No. 1. Allegro Fantastico 2:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. 3 Etudes, Op. 65 - No. 2. Allegretto 1:43£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. 3 Etudes, Op. 65 - No. 3. Molto Vivace 1:43£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 6610:00£0.79  Buy MP3 
  9. Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 68, "black Mass" 7:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 7010:48£0.79  Buy MP3 
11. 2 Poems, Op. 71 2:13£0.79  Buy MP3 
12. 2 Poems, Op. 71 2:00£0.79  Buy MP3 
13. Vers La Flamme, Op. 72 5:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
14. 2 Dances, Op. 73 - No. 1. Guirlandes 2:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
15. 2 Dances, Op. 73 - No. 2. Flammes Sombres 2:00£0.79  Buy MP3 
16. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 - No. 1. Douloureux Dechirant 1:17£0.79  Buy MP3 
17. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 - No. 2. Tres Lent "contemplatif" 1:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
18. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 - No. 3. Allegro Drammatico0:51£0.79  Buy MP3 
19. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 - No. 4. Lent, Vague, Indecis 1:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
20. 5 Preludes, Op. 74 - No. 5. Fier Belliqueux0:51£0.79  Buy MP3 

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey L. on 27 May 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ponti uses a piano with a very bright (some might say clangorous!) tone. Add to this the fact that his playing is characterised by frequent little eruptions of sound, rather than by gradual shadings, and that he tends to hammer bass notes "à la Horowitz", while some of his speeds are so excessively fast (the finale of the second sonata for instance) that the musical thought becomes almost unintelligible and it should become clear why I cannot give this set an unreserved recommendation.
That said, I find that Ponti gives some really splendid performances here (that of the Fifth sonata is most compelling) and this, coupled with the fact that this set and a companion volume of the shorter pieces are available from Amazon dealers at prices which are "a steal", must be enough to tempt anyone who would like to have Scriabin's entire solo piano output in technically brilliant, vivid, often elegant performances in fine recorded sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Advice for Scriabin collectors 1 Aug. 2008
By Dace Gisclard - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This set is one of the great tragedies of recorded music. Ponti is a great Scriabin player, despite the occasional side-swiped notes. Unfortunately, the sound of the sonatas in this set is virtually unlistenable-fryingly over bright treble and boomy bass--it sounds like it was recorded by someone used to recording rock. The performances aren't coarse and harsh, but the sound IS, and the recording engineer should be taken out and shot!

It's a tragedy, because the playing is marvellous, if a little lacking in finish (I suspect this set was recorded very quickly). The other pieces in the set are more listentably recorded. I found that adjusting the tone controls to treble at 9:00 and bass at 10:00 renders everything except the sonatas much easier to take.

Unfortunately, if one wants Ponti's Scriabin complete (even if one chooses to supplement his sonatas with something in better sound) one has to buy both this set and his set of the "Complete Piano Music" on five CD's. That's actually not so bad--the sets are cheap enough.

However, if merely getting the complete Scriabin is your goal, there are alternatives.

1. There's a really excellent 8-disc set of all Scriabin works with opus numbers available on Capriccio played by Maria Lettberg. This is really first-rate, and can form the basis of your Scriabin collection Das Solo-Klavierwerk. The set can also be downloaded as MP3's from the NAXOS website.

2. Two possibilities here: Lettberg doesn't play any of the posthumously-published early Scriabin. Most of this is available on Coombs's CD, "The Early Scriabin," (The Early Scriabin.). Unfortunately, he omits the early "Albumleaves" in F-sharp and A-flat and the Fantasy for Two Pianos. All of the pieces Coombs plays plus everything he doesn't are in Ponti's set called "Complete Piano Music" Complete Piano Works of Scriabin. The sound of this set can be rendered fairly listenable with the tone controls.

To sum up: Get Lettberg's set. Add the early works she doesn't play with Coomb's "The Early Scriabin", OR, (for absolute completeness) from the "complete piano music" set by Ponti. And oh, yes, you might want another set of the sonatas--these pieces are so multi-faceted that you might want more than one interpretation-my personal favorite is Hamelin.

RE the Sonata in E-flat minor: This work has come down to us unfinished. Although I personally prefer Ponti's completion of the unfinished slow movement to Glemser's or Coombs's, his recording is rather out of the running because he plays the wrong first movement--i.e., the revised version of the first movement as the "Allegro appassionato, Op.4"--how did THAT happen?

UPDATE of 5/11/13: Lettberg has now released a CD with all of the remaining pieces plus some previously unrecorded surprises, AND the works of the composer's son, Julian. Don't know when it will be available in the US.

I hope this helps!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Lean and mean Scriabin ... you know you like it! 6 May 2007
By Classic Music Lover - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The wide divergence of review comments about this CD reflects the difference of opinion and preference for how Scriabin's music should be played. As a member of the Scriabin Society of America, I've personally seen and heard many different interpretations of many of these sonatas ... along with strong opinions voiced both pro and con.

In the end, it all comes down to whether you like your Scriabin lean and taut ... or prefer him broad and expansive. I come down on the "lean" side, which is why I enjoy these performances. Michael Ponti misses some notes here and there, but when your Scriabin is almost going off the edge, that's what happens. Scriabin should never sound "pretty" -- especially in the Sonatas. Yes, there are moments of sheer exquisiteness to savor, but ultimately this is music that stretches the bounds of tonality and rattles the structural cage, trying to break free.

Once you've heard Ponti's take on Sonatas 4 and 5 -- or the Black and White Mass Sonatas for that matter -- you'll never again be satisfied with a merely "correct" or "poised" reading. That's selling Scriabin WAY too short ... but it's what 80% of the other pianists do. Oh yeah, but they might get all the notes correct.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Sloppy, bombastic, and with poor sound quality 10 Jun. 2005
By SRS - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I can't accept wrong notes unless the performance is live, even though his crazed performance of the youthful E flat minor sonata (with the wrong final movement, by the way) is interesting, although ultimately unsatisfying. There are two sets of the Scriabin sonatas to avoid. Ogdon's and Ponti's. Like Ponti, Ogdon seriously lacks polish and hits some wrong notes, too. His performances are coarse, harsh, and difficult to listen to at all. Of the two sets, I'd rather listen to Ponti's.

Here's a breakdown for my suggested recordings of the sonatas, based on those I've heard:

G#m posthumous: Hamelin.

Ebm posthumous: Glemser.

No. 1: Kocyan, then Ashkenazy, then Taub. Kocyan tells a story. Ashkenazy is passionate. Taub is darker.

No. 2: Kocyan, then Glemser or Sofronitsky, then Ashkenazy. Kocyan's fluidity takes it, but Sofronitsky is artistic. Glemser's first movement is beautiful.

No. 3: Laredo or Horowitz. Then Glemser or Taub. Then Ashkenazy or Sofronitsky.

No. 4: Taub or Sofronitsky. The latter has more artistry, the former a more coherent and appropriate tone.

No. 5: Horowitz or Taub. The former has electric genius, the latter has wonderful refinement. Hamelin's is excellent (definitely his best Scriabin performance). I've heard that Richter's is great, but I don't have it.

No. 6: Richter (genius but bad sound quality), then Taub. Hamelin's is athletic and precise, but there is little mystery.

No. 7: Glemser, then Laredo. The former brings out all the complexity with precision, the latter is sharp and clear. I have not heard Richter's.

No. 8: Ashkenazy. Then Szidon or Laredo. I've read that Sofronitsky's is good, but I don't have it.

No. 9: Sofronitsky, then Horowitz (all versions), then Glemser, then Szidon and Taub.

No. 10: Horowitz or Taub. Same contrast of styles between the pianists as the fifth sonata. Like the fifth, this is Taub's other brilliant performance.

Other pieces:

Fantasy in B minor: Glemser
Vers la flamme: Sofronitsky or Horowitz, then Laredo.
Piano concerto: Ugorski/Boulez, then Ashkenazy/Maazel. Both are excellent, but I give the edge to Ugorski.
Poem of Ecstasy: Maazel
Prometheus: Ashkenazy/Maazel
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not good, but not that bad either 28 May 2009
By M. Hendrik - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This set of Scriabin sonatas is nowhere near as bad as some make it out to be. In fact, I would probably recommend it over a lot of recordings which are technically superior but otherwise completely fail to grasp the fire and energy of Scriabin. Whatever its faults, the record is certainly never boring. And in some of the late sonatas Ponti actually delivers surprisingly good performances, particularly in the 6th, 7th and 8th sonatas.

But faults there are, and therefore caution is warranted. The sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, for one. Second, the playing is insanely fast, a fact which really cannot be overstated. Ponti is probably the single fastest Scriabin interpreter on record, knocking about 3 minutes off each work on average.

I'm not completely sure what motivated this frenzy. Was Ponti trying to set a world record? Or hoping to fit the entire 10 sonatas on one disc? Perhaps this was truly his angle on Scriabin's music. And truth be told, his manic approach sometimes works, as on the 6th and 7th sonatas. More often however, Ponti's speed gives the recording a rather dubious impression, as indicated by the other reviews here on Amazon. It sounds suspiciously as if Ponti was contractually obliged to record the album, and canned the whole thing in one session just to get it over with.

Still, I've grown to like some of the performances on this album. The 6th is frightening in its terror surges and superbly ethereal (bordering on impressionism) during the final passages. In the 7th, Ponti's speed does much to illuminate the structure of the work, but at the cost of emotional nuance. The "bell" chords convey little mysticism, and gone is the quiet despair lurking beneath the main theme. Ponti nonetheless delivers a compelling performance that somehow seems more visceral than spiritual. The 8th finally, is never allowed to meander (though it may have been Scriabin's intention for it to do so) and contains more urgency than Ashkenazy's or Sofronitsky's versions.

My final verdict is a somewhat mixed recommendation. Those who are new to Scriabin will certainly be better off with Ashkenazy, Laredo or Taub for a complete set. But Ponti is interesting in his own right, I think, especially for those who appreciate a pianist taking chances once in a while.

I maintain that Ponti's set does not rank among the absolute worst recordings available (such as Dubourg's). This man at least has the necessary fire and energy to perform Scriabin. The music may often be too fast, but I reckon that's still better than performing Scriabin too slow (Szidon), which is completely lethal to this kind of music and utterly unacceptable to me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Complete set of Scriabin's Sonatas and other works 29 July 2007
By Amy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The first significant phase of Scriabin's artistic career 1891-1902, comprising opus nos. 4-28 is marked by sets of piano works in smaller forms of preludes, mazurkas, etudes, etc, modelled on the styles of Chopin and Liszt. In these works, however, Scriabin goes beyond his models, bringing an extra richness, delicacy, and clarity to the idiom of his early romantic predecessors. The enthusiasm and intensity in some of Scriabin's mazurkas, for example, make them seem at times more brilliantly 'Chopinesque' than Chopin himself! Like his childhood friend Rachmaninov, Scriabin was in with the in crowd, and Vox took advantage of the situation by marching its house pianist Michael Ponti into the studio to record all of the composer's keyboard music .I think Ponti really understands Scriabin's overwrought idiom, which is no easy task and he plays up the music's sensual lyricism and passion for all they're worth. It's hard not to be drawn into Ponti's raw, elemental energy and to the feeling of live performance he generates in the studio, as opposed to an elaborately edited finished product. To be sure, the readings are not so accurate or technically refined in detail as those of other pianists who've since recorded the 10 Scriabin sonatas, like Vladimir Ashkeanzy, Boris Berman, and Marc Andre Hamelin. At the same time, Ponti includes both of the composer's early pre first sonatas the G-sharp minor SonataFantasia and the E-flat minor Sonata Op. Posthumous, and the late small pieces provide an additional, welcome bonus these are the selections left out of a companion 5-CD set (also by Ponti)that otherwise includes all of Scriabin's non sonata solo piano output. So, for around $25 you can have all of the gorgeous music Scriabin ever composed for piano.
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