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Scriabin: Sonata No.2 in G-sharp Minor (Trifonov, Melnikov, Pogorelich)

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Published on Dec 24, 2016

Scriabin’s second Sonata in G# Minor must rank as one of the most evocative ever written. The first movement features two of the most beautiful motifs ever conceived: the first, the brooding echo of a bell; and the second, a soaring melody placed in the middle of the texture, swathed with delicate latticework. Structurally, there are at least two features of the first movement worth noting: that every section (exposition, development, and recapitulation) begins with the same music, and that the movement ends in E Major, a colour which appeared to Scriabin bluish-white (Scriabin is perhaps the most famous classical composer to have synaesthesia).The second movement, a pulsating perpetuum mobile, contains within it a rising, aching melody which is never presented in its full form until its last occurrence near the end of the movement.

It’s also interesting to note that Scriabin had a distinct imagistic programme for this sonata, which might explain the choice of E Major as the key in which the first movement ends: “The first part evokes the calm of a night by the seashore in the South; in the development we hear the sombre agitation of the depths. The section in E major represents the tender moonlight which comes after the first dark of the night. The second movement, presto, shows the stormy agitation of the vast expanse of ocean.”

Trifonov –
00:00 – Mvt 1, Andante
07:04 – Mvt 2, Presto

Melnikov –
10:25 – Mvt 1, Andante
17:43 – Mvt 2, Presto

Pogorelich –
20:58 – Mvt 1, Andante
31:03 – Mvt 2, Presto

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