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Scriabin: The Piano Sonatas, Fantasie Op 28 / Roberto Szidon


Release Date: 02/25/2010 
Label:  Dg 20th Century Classics Catalog #: 431747   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These classic Szidon recordings dating from the late 1960s and early 1970s must surely have won many a listener over to this enigmatic and fascinating composer. Their brief life-span in the catalogue (apart from the appearance of Sonatas Nos. 7-10 in DG's mid-price Collector's series in the 1980s) was long lamented by many a Scriabin enthusiast who had either discovered this addictive composer after the set's demise, or whose original recordings were in dire need of replacement. Their reappearance on CD could not be more timely; Scriabin's music is enjoying a considerable revival at present with more recordings of his music in The Classical Catalogue than ever before. Of course on the down side this means that Szidon's set re-enters the Read more catalogue at a time when the competition is particularly great. Personal reservations regarding these discs almost exclusively concern Sonatas Nos. 1-4, where the superior sound-quality of the CD medium has tended to emphasize the rather brittle and tinny piano sound of the 1968 recordings. Sonatas Nos. 7-10, on the other hand, were recorded in 1971 and can still be regarded as some of the finest on disc.

Sonata No. 1: A dramatic and highly charged account of this youthful and impetuous outburst against life, God, the universe and everything. Szidon is one of the few pianists to observe the first movement repeat. By far the most convincing and compelling No. I on disc.

Sonata No. 2: A somewhat underpowered performance which, though not without either beauty or delicacy, still falls some way short of the sheer bravura and 'tingle factor' of Demidenko's performance for Conifer.

Sonata No. 3: Fares better than No. 2, but again the more recent accounts from Graham Scott (Gamut) and Gordon Fergus-Thompson (ASV) ultimately put Szidon out of contention.

Fantaisie in B minor, op. 28: The only available recording at present of this much neglected and immensely likeable work (who can fail to succumb to the haunting and beguiling second theme?). An exceptionally passionate and virtuosic performance.

Sonata No. 4: Szidon's idiosyncratic account of this Icarus-like piece is disappointing. No fear of flying to close to the sun here as we never really get airborne to start with!

Sonata No. 5: A fairly spacious account of Scriabin's most frequently performed Sonata, with some impressive playing gracing the opening and closing sections. However, Richter's classic DG recording of 1983 remains unimpeachable. Sonata No. 6: A truly malevolent piece of music. Szidon gives us a chilling performance-when Scriabin writes l'epouvante surgit ("the frightening rises up") that's exactly what he gets. Scriabin was apparently scared of this work and never performed it in public. Best listened to in a darkened room. Sonata No. 7 (White Mass"): Scriabin saw this Sonata as an antitoxin for the venom of No. 6. Some antidote! Szidon whips the music into an orgiastic frenzy of sound that culminates in a climax that's guaranteed to blow your socks off.

Sonata No. 8: The least well-known of the late sonatas. It also poses the greatest interpretative problems. Ashkenazy's Decca recording remains first choice.

Sonata No.9 (Black Mass"): Scriabin's friend Alexei Podgaetsky was responsible for the subtitle Black Mass. Scriabin actually regarded parts of it as "saintly". There are several fine performances available, but this powerful reading remains a personal favourite. Sonata No. 10: One of the most extraordinary sonatas to have emerged in the early part of this century. Scriabin described it as "a sonata of insects. Insects are born from the sun, they are the sun's kisses". Szidon's performance is exceptionally fine.

Also included in the set are the early Chopinesque works, the Sonate-fantaisie of 1886 and the Sonata in E flat minor of 1887-89. These are something of a culture shock heard directly after the Tenth Sonata, but their rarity value adds all the more to the attractiveness of this highly recommendable reissue.

-- M.S., Gramophone [4/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano no 1 in F minor, Op. 6 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 25 Minutes 54 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for Piano no 2 in G sharp minor, Op. 19 "Sonata fantasy" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1897; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 11 Minutes 32 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in F sharp minor, Op. 23 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 20 Minutes 24 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 4 in F sharp major, Op. 30 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1970 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 
5.
Sonata for Piano no 5 in F sharp major, Op. 53 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 12 Minutes 59 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for Piano no 6, Op. 62 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 11 Minutes 28 Secs. 
7.
Sonata for Piano no 7 in F sharp major, Op. 64 "White Mass" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
Sonata for Piano no 8, Op. 66 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/1970 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 14 Minutes 28 Secs. 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 9 in F major, Op. 68 "Black Mass" by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 9 Minutes 50 Secs. 
10.
Sonata for Piano no 10, Op. 70 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; Russia 
Date of Recording: 01/1971 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 13 Minutes 38 Secs. 
11.
Fantasy for Piano in B minor, Op. 28 by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 9 Minutes 32 Secs. 
12.
Sonata-fantasy for Piano in G sharp minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1886 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 8 Minutes 7 Secs. 
13.
Sonata for Piano in E flat minor by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Roberto Szidon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1889; Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Residenz, Munich 
Length: 18 Minutes 51 Secs. 

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