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Scriabin: Complete Opus Solo Piano Works / Maria Lettberg

Scriabin / Lettberg
Release Date: 10/25/2011 
Label:  Capriccio Records   Catalog #: 49586  
Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg
Number of Discs: 8 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


So far as I know, only two pianists have recorded comprehensive Scriabin solo-piano cycles. One is Michael Ponti; the other is Maria Lettberg, a Riga-born Swedish national residing in Berlin, who lived with this repertoire for years, and even wrote a doctoral thesis on Scriabin. She recorded all of Scriabin’s solo piano works with opus numbers between 2004 and 2007 for a co-production between the Capriccio label and Deutschlandradio Kultur.

Unlike Ponti, with his horribly-engineered and ill-tuned instrument, Lettberg enjoys the advantage of a beautifully regulated concert grand and resplendent, lifelike engineering. She revels in the composer’s dynamic extremes and inner-voice
Read more labyrinths both real and implied. Her big, juicy sonority and refined articulation consistently address the sensual element that perpetually lurks underneath the surface of nearly every composition, from the early, Chopin-influenced Preludes, Etudes, Mazurkas, Waltzes, and sundry short pieces to the harmonically ambiguous, intensely mystical late sonatas and poems. Granted, you won’t encounter the ice in the fire revealed throughout the younger Richter’s incisive live Second, Fifth, or Ninth sonatas, nor the jackhammer impact of Horowitz’s repeated chords in Vers la flame or his trills in the Tenth sonata. At the same time, Lettberg can unleash enough fervent momentum to help tighten looser-knit works like the Fantasie Op. 28 and the rarely played Allegro Appassionato Op. 4.

A bonus DVD features Lettberg in excerpts from different sonatas interspersed with discussions about the music and a multi-media project called “Mysterium”, where video artist Andreas Schmidt reinterprets the music in terms of abstract manipulations of color. While Lettberg may not displace favorite versions of specific works, her overall consistency, meticulous technique, and total identification with Scriabin’s idiom deserve nothing less than our highest rating. Capriccio’s bargain price is enough to forgive the pianist’s poorly organized booklet notes, although they contain many interesting quotations from the composer.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Waltz for Piano no 1 in F minor Op. 1 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1885; Russia 
2.
Waltz for Piano in A flat major, Op. 38 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
3.
Vers la flamme, Op. 72 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 9 in F major, Op. 68 "Black Mass" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; Russia 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 8, Op. 66 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; Russia 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in F sharp major, Op. 64 "White Mass" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 6, Op. 62 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 5 in F sharp major, Op. 53 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in F sharp major, Op. 30 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in F sharp minor, Op. 23 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; Russia 
11.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 "Sonata fantasy" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1897; Russia 
12.
Sonata for Piano no 10, Op. 70 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Russia 
13.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 6 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; Russia 
14.
Quasi valse for Piano in F major, Op. 47 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Russia 
15.
Preludes (7) for Piano, Op. 17 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1896; Russia 
16.
Preludes (6) for Piano, Op. 13 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Russia 
17.
Preludes (5) for Piano, Op. 74 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
18.
Preludes (5) for Piano, Op. 16 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894-1895; Russia 
19.
Preludes (5) for Piano, Op. 15 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1896; Russia 
20.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 48 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Russia 
21.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 39 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
22.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 37 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
23.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 33 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
24.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 31 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
25.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 22 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897; Russia 
26.
Preludes (3) for Piano, Op. 35 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
27.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 11 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1896; Russia 
28.
Preludes (2) for Piano, Op. 67 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; Russia 
29.
Preludes (2) for Piano, Op. 27 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Russia 
30.
Polonaise for piano in B flat minor, Op. 21 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1897 
31.
Poèmes (2) for Piano, Op. 71 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
32.
Poèmes (2) for Piano, Op. 69 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Russia 
33.
Poèmes (2) for Piano, Op. 63 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
34.
Poèmes (2) for Piano, Op. 44 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Russia 
35.
Poèmes (2) for Piano, Op. 32 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
36.
Poème-nocturne for Piano, Op. 61 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
37.
Poème tragique for Piano, Op. 34 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
38.
Poème satanique for Piano, Op. 36 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
39.
Poème for Piano, Op. 41 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
40.
Pieces (4) for Piano, Op. 56 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907 
41.
Pieces (4) for Piano, Op. 51 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; Russia 
42.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 52 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; Russia 
43.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 45 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; Russia 
44.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 2 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1889; Russia 
45.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 59 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Russia 
46.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 57 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
47.
Pieces (2) for Piano left hand, Op. 9 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
48.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 5 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890; Russia 
49.
Mazurkas (9) for Piano, Op. 25 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Moscow 
50.
Mazurkas (2) for Piano, Op. 40 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1903; Russia 
51.
Mazurkas (10) for Piano, Op. 3 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1889; Moscow 
52.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 14 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Russia 
53.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 12 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Russia 
54.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 10 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Russia 
55.
Feuillet d'album, Op. 58 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Russia 
56.
Fantasy for Piano in B minor, Op. 28 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Russia 
57.
Etudes (8) for Piano, Op. 42 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
58.
Etudes (3) for Piano, Op. 65 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Russia 
59.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
60.
Dances (2) for Piano, Op. 73 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
61.
Allegro de Concert for Piano, Op. 18 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1896; Russia 
62.
Allegro appassionato for Piano, Op. 4 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Maria Lettberg (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Big interpretation February 20, 2014 By Adolfo Leon Perez Henao (MIAMI, FL) See All My Reviews "Good service of your company. The only thing that I think should be improved is to have a system to track purchases to final customer delivery." Report Abuse
 Best Comprehensive Set of Scriabin's Piano Music November 25, 2011 By Christian Withers (San Antonio, TX) See All My Reviews "In my humble but educated opinion (I am a composer and music teacher), the piano music of Scriabin should be performed and recorded as often as that of Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy, etc. It has everything you could want in piano music: a wide range of expression, poetry as well as virtuosity, and an air of mysticism and eroticism that is unique to the repertoire. While Scriabin did not achieve his lofty goal of transforming the human race through his music, his work did help me realize that music is just as valid a place to search for meaning as anywhere else (religion, science, etc). There's something about music in general, and especially music like Scriabin's, that is simply beyond words, and I don't think it's too pretentious or presumptuous to call music one of the keys to life's mysteries.

As of now, there are only two "complete" sets of Scriabin's piano music available of which I'm aware: this one and the one in two volumes by Ponti on Vox. The Lettberg set is definitely better, although the Ponti has additional early works that are not included here. The main problem with the Ponti is the sound: in this music, you want to luxuriate, but are instead distracted by a brittle sounding recording. Both pianists are very fine, if not always reaching the heights of someone like Sofronitsky, Richter or Horowitz. I would say Lettberg is usually more poetic than Ponti, though both tend to rush occasionally when you want the music to stretch a bit more.

But these complaints are minor, and I must emphasize that Lettberg, a relatively unknown pianist, has achieved something amazing with this recording: she has recorded all of Scriabin's piano music with opus numbers, in excellent sound, with performances that are consistently superb and often magical. Consistency and comprehensiveness are the two major factors in my 5 star rating. Although there will always be little things to quibble about, the bottom line is that Lettberg's set offers ALL of Scriabin's important piano music, and ALL of it is played extremely well! I think this is more than can be said about any other pianist who has recorded Scriabin's piano music. All the others are either not as comprehensive (Sofrinitsky, Richter, etc) or not as consistently excellent (Ponti).

So my point is, get this set while you can! It has already been withdrawn and reissued once, so who knows how long it will be around. It is also cheap, as is the Ponti, so if you must have the works without opus numbers, buy the Ponti as well, or a single disc of early pieces played by Stephen Coombs (The Early Scriabin). Even if you already have the Ponti, get the Lettberg if you can (I did and don't regret the extravagance). Whether you love Scriabin's music, merely like it, or want to discover it, this is a bargain that shouldn't be missed! It might even convert those who haven't previously enjoyed this music. "
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