The twenty-one Mazurkas Scriabin penned over a period of some fifteen years (from 1888 to 1903) are musical treasures from one of the most remarkable tone-poets Russia ever produced. Long neglected by pianists, they were for the most part relegated to the limbo of early efforts, or often regarded as inferior –albeit interesting– imitations of Chopin’s more ‘authentic’ creations. Doubtlessly, the mystery and melancholy of Chopin’s Mazurkas found a sympathetic echo in the hypersensitive soul of the young composer, whose affection for the Polish master began in boyhood and was indeed never to wane. Yet in adopting the dance most indigenous to Poland and most closely associated with Chopin, Scriabin-even at the early age of sixteen-by his very nature could do no less than transform it into something striking and original. It could not be helped: his vision was unique, a way of apprehending the world very much estranged from commonplace notions of reality, where angels, dark imaginings, intense nostalgia, and intimations of unseen realms were the norm. Refracted through the prism of an extraordinary sensibility, his mazurkas would become essentially mazurka-fantasies. They would take on the allure of pieces improvised in the bleakest hours of the night, where subterranean, atavistic passions unexpectedly surge forth and an eerie desolation sets in. At other times, they would beguile by sheer charm and sensuality, often self-indulgently so.
The American pianist and critic John Bell Young, himself a noted exponent of Scriabin’s music, wrote on hearing an advance copy of this recording: ‘Terrific! He is a Scriabinist to the manor born.’
Le Van’s recording of Brahms’ Sonatas no. 1 & no.3 has been acclaimed internationally as was his release of Liszt’s Complete Cello/Piano Works with cellist Guido Schiefen for Arte Nova (BMG), awarded best chamber music disc for the year 2000 in the Neue Musik Zeitung. New releases include Brahms’ Sonata no. 2, Ballades and Scherzo as well as Raff ‘s Sonatillen and Morceaux de Salon with Michaela Paetsch. Le Van has resided for several years in France where he is Artistic Director of the International Franz Liszt Festival.
NEGLECTED SCRIABIN Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): COMPLETE MAZURKAS, with Eric Le Van, piano; 10 Mazurkas op.3 (1888-1890); 9 Mazurkas op.25 (1898-1899); 2 Mazurkas op.40 (1903). A co-production with the Bavarian Radio, Munich, recorded in Studio 2 of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Munich) on 15-18 April 2002. Liner notes in English, French and German. Total Time: 72:39 DDD. UPC# 0-17685-11252-2
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