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Vers La Flamme: Niklas Sivelov Plays Scriabin

Scriabin / Sivelov
Release Date: 02/23/2010 
Label:  Caprice Records   Catalog #: 21742   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCRIABIN Sonata-Fantasy in g?, op. 19. Études: in c?, op. 2; in f?, op. 8/2; in b?, op. 8/11; in d?, op. 8/12. Vers la flamme. Preludes, op. 11: Nos. 1–6, 8–14. Preludes, op. 16. Read more Morceaux, op. 45. Morceaux, op. 57. Feuillet d’album. Pieces, op. 59. Mazurkas: in g?, op. 3/9; in f, op. 25/1; in b, op. 25/8; in D?, op. 40/1. Piano Sonata No. 4 in f? Niklas Sivelöv (pn) CAPRICE 21742 (69:06)


I am becoming increasingly fond of the Caprice label, both in its new issues and historic reissues. This is one of the former, an album recorded in 2005 by Swedish pianist Niklas Sivelöv. Except for Vers la flamme, Feuillet d’album, the op. 57 Moreceux, and the Sonata No. 4, most of this program consists of earlier works by Scriabin. Sivelöv’s mission is to show the connections between the earlier works and the later ones, to display, as he puts it in the liner notes, the way in which Scriabin interrupted his lyric moods with emotional outbursts that didn’t quite fit in. In this, he succeeds handsomely.


Sivelöv’s playing is direct, crisp, and fiery. He takes no prisoners in his forthright approach to the music. Nevertheless, I must disagree with some of his tempos and phrasing. None of the slow preludes in the op. 11 set are really slow; lentos are turned into andantinos, andantes into moderatos, andantinos into prestos. Comparing him not only with Mikhail Pletnev in his acclaimed set of the complete op. 11 (Virgin Classics 45247), or even another abridged recording of the op. 11 by Mayron Tsong (Centaur 2946), I found their slower, legato approach more congenial to music that was clearly inspired by Chopin. Ruth Laredo, who recorded what must be considered one of the definitive sets of the complete Scriabin sonatas way back in 1970, points out that as a piano student Scriabin was criticized for his “ethereal” playing, and in those years he slept with a copy of Chopin’s preludes under his pillow. Of course, his aesthetic and musical approach underwent a tremendous metamorphosis around the turn of the 20th century, and his own 1910 performance of the Étude, op. 8/12 (also played on this recital by Sivelöv), recorded as a Welte-Mignon piano roll, certainly reveals an approach much closer to the Swedish pianist than to Pletnev or Tsong, but his phrasing is more legato. My point is that both interpretations are valid, and that I prefer a little more backing-off in some of these early works.


And yet Sivelöv certainly does make Scriabin’s music on this CD, spanning almost the full chronology of his piano output, sound convincingly of a piece. It is as far from the ethereal Scriabin of 1890 as one could possibly get. I’ve often wondered where Scriabin may have gone musically had he lived to finish Misterium, and of course we’ll never know, but Sivelöv’s musical and philosophical approach to his music will certainly hold your attention. I personally rank this as one of the great Scriabin issues of all time, despite my caveats.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 "Sonata fantasy" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1897; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 10 Minutes 23 Secs. 
2.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 2: no 1, Etude in C sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1889; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 2 in F sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
4.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 11 in B flat minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
5.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 12 in D sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
6.
Vers la flamme, Op. 72 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
7.
Preludes (24) for Piano, Op. 11 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1896; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 0 Minutes 37 Secs. 
8.
Preludes (5) for Piano, Op. 16 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894-1895; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
9.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 45 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
10.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 57 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
11.
Feuillet d'album, Op. 58 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 1 Minutes 9 Secs. 
12.
Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 59 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
13.
Mazurkas (10) for Piano, Op. 3: no 9 in G sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1889; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
14.
Mazurkas (9) for Piano, Op. 25: no 1 in F minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Moscow 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
15.
Mazurkas (9) for Piano, Op. 25: no 8 in B major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; Moscow 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
16.
Mazurkas (2) for Piano, Op. 40: no 1 in D flat major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1902-1903; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 1 Minutes 23 Secs. 
17.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in F sharp major, Op. 30 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Niklas Sivelöv (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Venue:  Kulturhuset, Ytterjärna 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 

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