[f_minor] Scriabin

jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se jorgen.lundmark at mypost.se
Sun Jan 29 03:29:01 PST 2012

Wonderful news about the upcoming Scriabin disc! Thank you for the

I have to agree with you about the assessment of this sonata as well as
other music by Scriabin, James. I might add that in my opinion
Sofronitsky's rather special performances "as if his life depended on it"
does catch a quality that no others have done. Gould, on the other hand,
is definitely the performer who best brings out the very complex
contrapuntal lines in this music. In relationship with both Debussy and
Ravel, Scriabin is generally speaking a much more linear composer, and I
think that is why Gould was attracted to him.


> I'm afraid that I cannot agree with your assessment at all, Fred.  Not
> that we can really debate about such things ("à chacun son goût"), but in
> my view, the Scriabin 5th is an extraordinarily little masterwork.  A
> reminder that Scriabin's one-movement Sonata Op. 53 is written in 1907,
> one year before Berg completed his one-movement Sonata Op. 1.  I'm
> fascinated by the colour-world of this piece, by Scriabin's take on
> "tonality in transition" and by his almost jazz-like employment of
> harmonic techniques such as tritone substitution, etc.  If Scriabin's Op.
> 53 was good enough for Sviatoslav Richter, Glenn Gould and Marc-André
> Hamelin - all of whom recorded it - it's good enough for me! In the Fall
> 2008 issue of Glenn Gould Magazine (Volume 13, Number 2) there's an
> important article on Gould's experimentation with three-dimensional
> microphone-placement techniques in his recording of the Scriabin 5th (Paul
> Théberge, "Glenn Gould Remixed: An "Acoustic Choreography" for Scriabin's
> Piano Sonata No. 5," Glenn Gould Magazine 132, Fall 2008).  In 2006, Paul
> (my colleague at Carleton University) wrote: “In the thirty-six years
> since Gould recorded this sonata [Scriabin, Op. 53], other artists have
> pushed the boundaries of music and technology. However, Gould’s [unique
> recording] technique remains intriguing and, in an era of surround sound
> systems, may offer new insights into the relationship between music and
> acoustic space.”
> http://www1.carleton.ca/research/ccms/wp-content/ccms-files/theberge.pdf
> Paul secured a digital copy of the original tapes from Sony-BMG, and has
> been working with it for a few years now.  Watch for the forthcoming
> release of Paul's Gouldian "Re-Mix" of this recording to be released by
> Sony BMG sometime later this year ...J. James K. Wright, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> School for Studies in Art & Culture: Music
> A917 Loeb Building, Carleton University
> 1125 Colonel By Drive
> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1S 5B6
> Email: James_Wright at carleton.ca
> Telephone : (613) 520-2600 (ext. 3734)
> Fax : (613) 520-3905
> Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:17:11 -0800
> From: boyboy_8 at yahoo.com
> To: f_minor at glenngould.org
> Subject: [f_minor] Scriabin
> I hope that I've copied the URL correctly.  Am listening to GG play
> Scriabin's sonata #5.  Not heard this before and am not overly impressed.
> I think GG would have been better off playing more Ravel and certainly
> Debussy than this mediocre work.
> regards,
> Fred Houpt

More information about the f_minor mailing list