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Scriabin: 24 Preludes; Piano Sonatas 4 & 10

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Scriabin: 24 Preludes; Piano Sonatas 4 & 10 (1997)

by Mikhail Pletnev (piano)

About this title: The coolly flawless Mikhail Pletnev seemed an odd match for Scriabin when this recording was released in 1997, but the recording was very successful and made a good candidate for reissue by Virgin Classics in its budget-priced series in 2010. For those who prize Scriabin for his shadowy mysticism, this may be a little dry. Pletnev trims back the hazy exterior from Scriabin's music, and what he finds is that the layer underneath is equally lovely and quite rigorous. The program is divided into three parts: the Chopin-like but restless 24 Preludes, Op. 11, the Piano Sonatas No. 4 and No. 10, and a group of short pieces from the mid-1900s decade, roughly contemporaneous with The Poem of Ecstasy. Pletnev picks out the moments of tension and experimentation in the preludes, and his Piano Sonata No. 10 matches Scriabin's own sublimely bizarre description of the work: "The insects are born of the sun which nourishes them. They are kisses of the sun, like my Tenth Sonata." If you've heard a really gloriously...

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