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Scriabin: Complete Impromptus And Other Early Pieces / Bekhterev

Scriabin / Bekhterev
Release Date: 06/12/2012 
Label:  Camerata Records   Catalog #: 28231  
Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Impromptus date from 1889 to 1895 and the harmonic, rhythmical and mood changes required are thoughtfully handled by the pianist who manages to capture well the intimacy of these short pieces. The ever-popular Pieces for Left Hand Op.9 receive fluent and poetic presentation complemented by Camerata’s well recorded piano sound.

Boris Bekhterev’s recent recording of Scriabin’s ‘Complete Impromptus and Other Early Pieces’ brings his extensive survey of the composer’s piano music nearer to completion. Although issued as separate discs rather than a set, when taken as a whole, these recordings showcase a pianist with insight and understanding, marking him out as one of the best Scriabin interpreters of the present
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Of the early pieces represented here the Allegro Appassionato Op.4 and the Polonaise Op.21 are the most extensive in form and style. They are Scriabin’s attempt at producing larger-scale works for his own performances and both remain useful to pianists of today.

Scriabin chose to play his Op.4 piece to begin a recital in Geneva on 30 June 1906 and it remains a good choice with which to open the chronologically presented works on this disc. Here, Bekhterev’s account gives the piece a life which lifts it far above the étude status offered by other pianists. He is successful in making the most of the melodic content, never allowing it to be obscured by technicalities. His more lyrical approach to the middle section offers a good contrast to the impassioned voice of the opening. Along with this, a good choice of tempo ensures a very convincing reading.

Choosing a suitable tempo for a Scriabin piece is one of the most important and critical decisions to be made by any pianist in preparation for a concert. Bekhterev seems to select the right tempi intuitively, and in the case of the Polonaise Op.21, his adopted tempo helps bring out the heroic character of the work. Well founded intonation allows the broad theme time to breathe with characteristic dignity.

The Impromptus date from 1889 to 1895 and the harmonic, rhythmical and mood changes required are thoughtfully handled by the pianist who manages to capture well the intimacy of these short pieces. The ever-popular Pieces for Left Hand Op.9 receive fluent and poetic presentation complemented by Camerata’s well recorded piano sound.

- Stuart Scott, MusicWeb International

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This wonderful new collection of early piano pieces by Scriabin is played with obvious affection, understanding, and warmth by pianist Boris Bekhterev. As is to be expected, these early opuses by the Russian pioneer are very much in the vein of Chopin, his early hero. (It’s said that he used to sleep with a copy of some of Chopin’s music under his pillow!) Bekhterev’s style, ruminative with subtle but evident traces of rubato, brings out the Chopinesque qualities well, though when the music is distinctively Scriabin (as, for instance, in the Allegro appassionato) he is able to bring that out too. His sure sense of form as well as mood certainly serves him well in this music, even in those pieces that are less original and more derivative of Chopin such as the nocturnes. Bekhterev also makes considerable magic of the op. 21 Polonaise that closes out this recital, achieving a good feel for the polonaise rhythm and the Chopin-like flavor of the music.


I understand that this is an installment in Bekhterev’s traversal on disc of the complete piano music of Scriabin. I would certainly be interested in hearing some of the other discs in this series, which so far also includes the complete Mazurkas (Camerata 28222) and two separate discs, on which he plays sonatas 2, 8, and 9 along with a group of very short early pieces (Camerata 28131), and sonatas 1, 6, 7, and 10 (Camerata 28151), so we still need him to record sonatas 3-5 sometime in the future. It’s difficult to tell from these lighter, earlier works if Bekhterev would have the rhythmic spring and drive in the sonatas displayed by the late Ruth Laredo (hard to believe that she recorded them in 1970, when Scriabin was still a little-played and much misunderstood composer), but I’m sure he would bring out a wealth of nuance in that music.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Polonaise for piano in B flat minor, Op. 21 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1897 
2.
Pieces (3) for Piano, Op. 2: no 2, Prélude in B major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1889; Russia 
3.
Pieces (2) for Piano left hand, Op. 9 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
4.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 5 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890; Russia 
5.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 7: no 2 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; Russia 
6.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 7: no 1 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; Russia 
7.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 14 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Russia 
8.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 12 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; Russia 
9.
Impromptus (2) for Piano, Op. 10 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Russia 
10.
Allegro appassionato for Piano, Op. 4 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Boris Bekhterev (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 

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