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Scriabin: Poems Of Ecstasy & Fire

Scriabin: Poems Of Ecstasy & Fire

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One of the boldest and most radical composers of all time, Alexander Scriabin had a lifelong obsession with occult and mystical ideas. Initially under the influence of Chopin, Wagner, and Liszt, his music later became more complex, taking on an expressive power which provoked extreme reactions from audiences – of adulation as well as repulsion. Not shying away from hyperbole, Scriabin once declared: ‘I am the apotheosis of creation – I am the aim of all aims – I am the end of all ends.’

The three works featured on this release belong to Scriabin’s final compositional period where the music seems to veer between voluptuous languor and striving energy. Composed back-to-back, the Poem of Ecstasy and the Fifth Piano Sonata are drenched in bitter-sweet harmonies and carefully constructed dissonances. The scores of both works make reference to the same poem – by Scriabin himself – which ends with the lines ‘thus the universe resounds with the joyful cry: I AM!’. In his last symphonic poem, Prometheus — The Poem of Fire, Scriabin aims even higher. Here he expresses the evolution of the world from formless chaos, through the appearance of mankind, fertilized by the divine spark, towards spiritual liberation and ultimate transcendence. The unusually large orchestra and a wordless choir produces a kaleidoscope of contrasts, colors and sounds caught up in an ecstatic whirl.


In Scriabin’s work, the Prometheus myth is focused less on the creative element of Prometheus and more on the theft of fire, which allows the composer to create ‘light-filled’ images. Lan Shui creates a very great tension from the very first bars, giving expression to the fantasy nature of the composition. We thus hear music with those detaching particles of sound that, like the flock of birds in flight, create effects from ever-changing forms. Shui thus proves to be an imaginative conductor who spurs his orchestra and choir on to an outstanding performance. Evgeny Sudbin blends perfectly into this feverish sound...A great performance!

-- Pizzicato

Lan Shui and his Singapore Symphony Orchestra...inflame the subject; they delight in lascivious sensualities, the better to suddenly cause volcanoes to burst. All this is of a dizzying control and a sonic refinement...

The pianist is none other than Yevgeny Sudbin...He touches on genius in Prometheus, but you also have to hear him burn his keyboard, all hammers and iron, for a 5th Sonata that sounds as if it had just come out of the forge. A great album - totally unexpected, and recorded with striking fidelity.

-- Artamag'

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: BIS
    • UPC/Barcode: 7318599923628
    • Item Number: BIS-2362