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Another way to play Scriabin,
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This review is from: Scriabin: Complete Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
I'm deeply impressed by Alexeev's accounts of Scriabin's 10 Sonatas. Since Marc Andre Hamelin's outstanding Hyperion recording of the sonatas came out, I hadn't come across any recordings worth keeping in my collection, in fact exasperated by the total lack of depth of interpretation by today's young generations of pianists (their playing goes not much further than reproducing correct notes from the scores with admirable subtlety of tones).
Alexeev's approach is very different from Hamelin who never loses an objective perspective even in the most heated moments in the music, which is exemplary in a Radio 3 Building a Library sort of way. Alexeev's playing gives an impression that the pianist is totally immersed in the music and 'the music is created on the spot,' an attribute often used to describe Scriabin and his successor Sofronitsky's playing. But the major difference is Alexeev's sparse use of the pedal in Sonata No.3-10. In the slow movement of the 3rd Sonata, for example, he sometimes does not use the pedal at all, but rather uses the reverberant ambient of the music room to create the atmosphere, keeping the clarity of each note at the same time, while Sofronitsky, on the other hand, creates a near-miracle, trance-like atmosphere with his magical command of the pedal. In Sonata 4, 5th and the last five Sonatas too, the sparse use of the pedal heightens the rhythmic sensations culminating in incandescent climax.
When it comes to playing Scriabin, it may be impossible to surpass the three giants of Scriabin interpretors, Richter, Sofronitsky and Horowitz, but Alexeev can hold his own among living pianists and outstanding Scriabin interpretors such as Marc Andre Hamelin, Arcadi Volodos, Arthur Greene, Gordon Fergus Thompson.
The booklet note, written by Valentina Rubtsova, provides fascinating stories of Scriabin's visit to England including Henry Wood's account, extensive descriptions of Scriabin's pianism, and commentaries on each Sonata.
(I've heard Alexeev play in a concert many years ago, at Barbican Centre, he stepped in to play Prokofiev's third concerto when Pletnev cancelled it due to ill health, and he gave a far more gripping performance than Pletnev would have, displaying formidable pianistic capacity. I'm very glad that he, emerging as such a mature artist from the golden era of pianism in the 70s, is still continuing to play at the highest level both technically and artistically, in our age of superficial, commercially manufactured so called virtuosity pianists.)