Samuil Feinberg Plays Scriabin

Below, Samuil Feinberg plays the music of Scriabin. The Opus 3 Mazurkas hold a fascinating view of the early evolution of Scriabin's art. Play the first one to anyone who is not familiar with all 51 of Chopin's Mazurkas and it will be assumed to be one of those. I have tried to hear something of the future Scriabin in the first two Mazurkas and at first I believe I am fooling myself when I think I have heard a telling harmony or phrase. But this is beautiful and well crafted music and if one listens carefully, one can hear that while it is Chopin's language, it is not Chopin's music.

A Chopin Mazurka almost always has a lilting poignancy about it that creates an element of hope as if to say there is beauty and hope in the most profound sadness. Scriabin is a 19th Century Russian for whom sadness is a terminal state, and by the 3rd Mazurka the occasional phrase will have a finality one never hears in Chopin. In the 4th, the phrase structure is unavoidably more Russian and begins to sound distinctly less Chopinesque. And the fifth is no longer even a camouflaged Chopin Mazurka. It has become something else, but what?

The 6th is a pilgrimage across Europe towards the Russian with major nods to Schumann and List. To my ear what one might be tempted to refer to as "Schumann's Hungarian Mazurka" is the least successful of the group.
But finally in the 7th, Scriabin seems to rediscover his direction. It is again more a Mazurka, certainly more Russian, and one can hear clear Scriabinisms in the music.

Interestingly, I find the first two Mazurkas to be the best of the set even though, or perhaps because, they are the most imitative of the Chopin model. But these Mazurkas are important in the composers early developmental process.

I include works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Alexandrov at the bottom of this page.

Mazurkas, Op 3
recorded in 1952
1 in B minor - 2 in F♯ minor - 3 in G minor
4 in E major - 5 in D♯ minor - 6 in C♯ minor - 7 in E minor

Piano Sonata 2 in G♯ minor, Op 19
i Andante - ii Presto
recorded in the early 1950s

Piano Concerto in F♯ minor, Op 20
Alexander Gauk conducting the Radio Symphony Orchestra of USSR
recorded in 1950

i Allegro


iii Allegro moderato

By Opus 25 Scriabin has become fully himself and these Mazurkas are entirely his own. They are fine works, mature in conception and execution, and while definitely descendants of the Chopin Mazurkas, they are in Scriabin's tonal language and pianistic style as are the other works below.

Scriabin Mazurkas, Op 25
recorded in 1951

2 in C major

3 in E minor

7 in F♯ major

8 in B major

9 in E♭ minor

Fantasie, Op 28

Piano Sonata 4 in F♯ major, Op 30
recorded in 1947

Etude, Op 42~3
Fragilité from 4 Morceaux, Op 51~1
recorded in 1929

4 Morceaux, Op 51
1 Fragilité - 2 Prélude - 3 Poëme ailé - 4 Danse languide
recorded in 1947

Piano Sonata 5, Op 53
recorded live in 1948

Tchaikovsky Piano Sonata 2 in C♯ minor, Op posth 80
recorded in 1955

i Allegro con fuoco

ii Andante

iii Scherzo: Allegro vivo - iv Allegro vivo

Rachmaninoff Etude Tableau, Op 39~9
recorded in the 1950s

Alexandrov two pieces, Op 3
1 Nocturne - 2 Waltz
recorded in the 1950s

Here is my new book, a murder mystery with a musical polemic

and the audiobook version

Click here to return to the Samuil Feinberg page

Click here to return to the Great Composers Play page

Click here to return to the Great Classical Pianists page

Click here to return to the Interpretation page

Click here to return to the Great Women Panists page