Notes and Editorial Reviews
For this Scriabin recital Pascal Amoyel gathers together all the composer's works with the word "Poème" in the title, throwing in an album leaf and a few waltzes for good measure. Since the form of a musical poem is open-ended, it comes as no surprise that these pieces encompass a variety of moods, from the fragile lyricism of the F-sharp major Op. 32 No. 1 to the more volatile, larger-scaled Poème-Nocturne Op. 61 and Poème satanique Op. 36. For tone color, variety of touch and nuance, and sensitive phrase shaping, Amoyel's first-rate pianism and intelligent musicality cannot be faulted. Like Marc-André Hamelin in the Sonatas, Amoyel puts clarity, proportion, and controlled freedom above all else and
keeps the music's volatile undercurrents alive and active without letting the pot boil over, so to speak.
Vers la flamme's cresting paragraphs, for example, remain as "near the flame" as the title suggests, in contrast to the veritable Immolation Scene we get from Vladimir Horowitz's fire-eating intensity and more subjective response to Scriabin's markings. Or compare Amoyel's conscientiously detailed Op. 32 No. 2 Poème to Alexander Melnikov's wider dynamic range and animalistic sweep and you'll appreciate the conviction of Amoyel's cooler classicism. It helps that Amoyel has a superbly regulated Steinway at his disposal and a lovely venue in which to record it (L'Abbaye de Pontlevoy). This disc won't provide you with Scriabinesque "shock and awe", yet Amoyel's performances' virtues are likely to wear well over repeated hearings.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Poèmes span his later creative career, from the time of the
Fourth Sonata to the late
Vers la flame written towards the end of his life. All of these pieces are miniatures, only three being more than six minutes in length but they contain a wealth of significance.
These are not pieces in a recognised ‘classical’ form – such as Scriabin’s preludes, studies or mazurkas. For this reason they are in some danger of being neglected. Although there are no première recordings here, this is - so far as I am aware - the only complete recording of all the
Poèmes and as such it has a unique value. Because this disc is an ‘archival’ collection, gathering all the pieces from a number of different sources, it is probably not best listened to straight through from beginning to end.
A number of these works display, as one would expect with Scriabin, a demand for virtuoso technique in its most extreme form. They are, as their titles suggest, poetic rather than showy. Amoyel’s performances more than adequately answer the needs of the music in both respects. He produces a lovely soft touch and sustains the scented lines and harmonies beautifully in the
Poème-Nocturne; at over ten minutes it’s the longest piece on this disc. He has all the requisite
Vers la flame. Amoyel is also excellent in the second longest piece here, the surprisingly jaunty
The recorded sound, made in the resonant acoustic of Pontlevoy Abbey, has exactly the right degree of bloom for this ultra-romantic and mystical music. Most of the items here are real novelties, many of them totally unfamiliar to the general listener. Here indeed we have the soul of Scriabin exposed in a manner that is totally revealed in no other piano works of his outside the
Sonatas, for which indeed some of these
Poèmes sound like studies. One is extremely grateful to hear these rarities in such excellent performances and recordings.
-- Paul Corfield Godfrey, MusicWeb International
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