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SCRIABIN OPUS 9
Prelude in C minor and Nocturne in D major



The Scriabin Opus 9 Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand alone are among my favorite works by this composer.  Though early works still under the strong influence of Chopin's romanticism, particularly in the Prelude, the fact of having to compose works for the left hand resulted in a unique outpouring of creativity.  These two pieces are gems, perfect creations on a small scale.

The Prelude from Op 9 is a lovely Chopinesque piece, but in it one already hears elements the Scriabin to come.  The genius of this piece is that there is no sense in the listening of its having been written for one hand.  There is no virtuosity obligata here, just a simple plaintive song of great beauty and harmonic richness.  Sofronitsky is my performer of choice here.

There are four exceptional performances of the Nocturne from Scriabin Opus 9, a much more adventurous and difficult work  The one by Cliburn 2009 Finalist Mariangela Vacatello is simply to die for, as are, in very different ways, the performances by Alexis Weissenburg (perhaps the best overall) , the noted Scriabin interpreter John Bell Young, and Rachmaninoff's and one of my very favorite pianists, Benno Moiseiwitsch.  But I must say that my discovery of the Vacatello performance of the Nocturne has left me in a dreamlike state, with an expression on my face very like that on Ron Weasley's in the sixth of the Harry Potter movies while under the influence of an irresistibly bewitching love potion.

I must also mention Maria Lettberg, whose performances of both the Prelude and the Nocturne from Scriabin Opus 9 are perfectly splendid.



Prelude in C minor, Op 9~1


Vladimir Sofronitsky, piano
recorded in 1960



Shura Cherkassky (1909-1995), Ukranian-born American pianist
recorded in 1946



Andrei Gavrilov, piano



Vladimir Horowitz, piano
recorded live in the 1970s



Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009), Spanish-Catalan pianist
recorded live in 1972



Daniil Trifonov, piano



Sergey Kuznetsov



Mary Alberta Siloti, 20th century pianist




Prelude in C minor, Op 9~1
Nocturne in D major, Op 9~2


Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964), Soviet pianist
recorded in 1951



Maria Lettberg, contemporary Swedish pianist
recorded in 2004/2007



Grigory Sokolov (b 1950), Russian pianist
recorded live in 2007



Yi Fan-Chiang, piano
recorded live 2008




Nocturne in D major, Op 9~2


Alexis Weissenburg (1929-2012), Bulgarian-born French pianist
broadcast live in 1966


 

Mariangela Vacatello, Italian pianist
semifinal recital at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2009



Benno Moiseiwitsch (1890-1963), Ukrainian-born British pianist
recorded 1929?



Victor Schiøler (1899-1967), Danish pianist
recorded in 1947



Leon Fleisher (b 1928), American pianist



John Bell Young (b 1953), American pianist



Vladimir Mogilevsky (b 1945), Russian pianist



Irene Veneziano (b 1985), Italian pianist
recorded live 2007



Martina Filjak, contemporary Croatian pianist
Cleveland International Piano Competion First prize winner 2009



Sergey Kuznetsov (b 1978), Russian pianist
recorded live 2006



Michael Lewin, contemporary American pianist



Mogens Dalsgaard (b 1942), Danish pianist



Suguru Ito, contemporary Japanese pianist



Ivan Ilić (b 1978), Serbian-American pianist
recorded in 2010



Valeri Kastelsky (1941-2001), Russian pianist
recorded live 1985



Michael Yannette, contemporary American pianist



Richard Bosworth, contemporary American pianist
recorded live 2005










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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