Author Topic: Scriabins Temple  (Read 21466 times)

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Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2007, 04:36:09 AM »
I found a recording of Scriabins last unfinished Preperation [sic] for the final Mystery realized by Nemtin. And I read in the cd booklet, that Scriabin believed in some kind of higher level of existence, and that he had serious thoughts about how his work should transform the human race of the performers and perhaps listeners. 

Do you believe in his idea?

Certainly we do. The point is that to a sensitive person the every-day world is chock-full of unexplained wonders. We are surrounded at every turn by mystery are we not? They are perhaps familiar mysteries but they are mysteries all the same. Unless we face up to them we are hardly alive.

We cannot help noticing incidentally the quite glaring spelling error that appears in the transcription here of the title of the work. "Preparation" comes from the Latin "praeparare" does it not? It would improve the look of this thread were it to be corrected, and we humbly suggest that this be done.
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Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2007, 05:11:16 AM »
Certainly we do. The point is that to a sensitive person the every-day world is chock-full of unexplained wonders. We are surrounded at every turn by mystery are we not? They are perhaps familiar mysteries but they are mysteries all the same. Unless we face up to them we are hardly alive.

.


I´m glad and surprised that you understand Scriabins view! Perhabs it was also this kind of sensitiveness that made him excentric, and not insanity.

Offline Sydney Grew

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2007, 05:39:41 AM »
. . . the worst aspects of the Aestheticism "movement" (in quotations because I don't think it can be called a movement per se). People tend to diminish Scriabin's art by citing his "decadent" personality, when they should really be able to appreciate his mastery despite this.

It is encouraging to see some one writing about Scryabine's "mastery," but we cannot permit to stand unquestioned this passage, containing as it does no fewer than four quite disturbing misapprehensions:

Permit us briefly to put forward for the elucidation of the more thoughtful Members a few appropriate refutations and corrections:

1) since there are no bad aspects of Aestheticism it follows ipso facto that there cannot be any "worst aspects." Aestheticism was and is all good as far as we know! It is though possible to speak of its "best aspects." Some workers may indeed have done less well than others, and even fallen in some way short of their goal, but they all strove in the right direction did not they, and their productions must then all of them be to a greater or lesser extent good.

2) the second misapprehension is that the "Aestheticism movement cannot be called a movement per se." Well that is simply an error of fact. The "Aesthetic movement" is a commonly accepted term and in the great Oxford English Dictionary it may be found cited several times (in the entry "aesthetic").

3) the third misapprehension is that Scryabine was an aesthete. But he was not an aesthete at all; rather was he a sort of symbolist. And in fact as Jean Cassou tells us, "Scryabine is a composer of transition: whilst belonging to Symbolism through his philosophy of Art, his harmonic language, his use of Symbolist forms such as the Poem and the Prelude, he accomplished all the virtuosity of Symbolism and turned it round towards Modernity. Thus Scryabine like Debussy and even more like Schoenberg made Symbolism blossom by undermining its most revolutionary aspects."

4) the fourth and final misapprehension is that of Scryabine's "decadent personality." But in fact no man was less decadent than Alexander Scryabine! We cannot understood this use of the word decadence in respect of works which stand at the pinnacle of Art and Culture. It is since the death of Scryabine that music and culture in general have gone rapidly down hill. That decline is decadence with a vengeance; people no longer understand Scryabine's work and aims, or even attempt to understand them. Things to-day no longer hold together as they did in the days of his central supremacy, and in general so much which was known and celebrated in those days of glory has now been lost.
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Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2007, 08:22:35 AM »
It is encouraging to see some one writing about Scryabine's "mastery," but we cannot permit to stand unquestioned this passage, containing as it does no fewer than four quite disturbing misapprehensions:

Permit us briefly to put forward for the elucidation of the more thoughtful Members a few appropriate refutations and corrections:

1) since there are no bad aspects of Aestheticism it follows ipso facto that there cannot be any "worst aspects." Aestheticism was and is all good as far as we know! It is though possible to speak of its "best aspects." Some workers may indeed have done less well than others, and even fallen in some way short of their goal, but they all strove in the right direction did not they, and their productions must then all of them be to a greater or lesser extent good.

2) the second misapprehension is that the "Aestheticism movement cannot be called a movement per se." Well that is simply an error of fact. The "Aesthetic movement" is a commonly accepted term and in the great Oxford English Dictionary it may be found cited several times (in the entry "aesthetic").

3) the third misapprehension is that Scryabine was an aesthete. But he was not an aesthete at all; rather was he a sort of symbolist. And in fact as Jean Cassou tells us, "Scryabine is a composer of transition: whilst belonging to Symbolism through his philosophy of Art, his harmonic language, his use of Symbolist forms such as the Poem and the Prelude, he accomplished all the virtuosity of Symbolism and turned it round towards Modernity. Thus Scryabine like Debussy and even more like Schoenberg made Symbolism blossom by undermining its most revolutionary aspects."

4) the fourth and final misapprehension is that of Scryabine's "decadent personality." But in fact no man was less decadent than Alexander Scryabine! We cannot understood this use of the word decadence in respect of works which stand at the pinnacle of Art and Culture. It is since the death of Scryabine that music and culture in general have gone rapidly down hill. That decline is decadence with a vengeance; people no longer understand Scryabine's work and aims, or even attempt to understand them. Things to-day no longer hold together as they did in the days of his central supremacy, and in general so much which was known and celebrated in those days of glory has now been lost.

Very good post! So often music discussions goes radically wrong, simply because people simplify things. Thank you for digging out the threads that speaks positively for Scriabin or Scryabine.  :)

Offline The Six

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 07:45:44 PM »
I said this on the old thread - Scriabin is rare in that he uses sounds which would normally be terrible dissonant in a way that makes them consonant. These strange sounds become strangley comforting. It's not often that a tritone can be pleasing and disturbing in the same piece.

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2008, 10:28:14 AM »
I said this on the old thread - Scriabin is rare in that he uses sounds which would normally be terrible dissonant in a way that makes them consonant. These strange sounds become strangley comforting. It's not often that a tritone can be pleasing and disturbing in the same piece.

I remember, that you said that before!  :D As well as I have mentioned it also. I think that was my first impression of his music, that I heard something very harmonically responding, that was very dissonantly. Yes, sometimes he can make a tritone sounding as consonantly as a major third.

From time to time I have discovered the same with many other composers(Berg and Webern extremely much), but I think the style of Scriabin just has the quality of expressing this phenomenon much more sudently or unexpected. 

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2008, 08:39:04 AM »
Would it be correct to make a parrallel from Scriabins vision to Stockhausens?

Is there other composers, that overtook Scriabins aesthetic?

Kullervo

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2008, 09:16:11 AM »
Is there other composers, that overtook Scriabins aesthetic?

There is something of Scriabin in Szymanowski and later Bridge.

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2008, 09:57:13 AM »
thanks! I will check them out.

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2008, 01:10:18 AM »
I have thought about this hypothese: Could it be, that Scriabin wanted the Mysterium to be unfinished and made suicide after having written about an hour of music? Because then the idea would grow imaginatively with other people, and the one who would believe in the potential of this vision, would in a way also believe in something beyond human, that has been intuitively grasped before the physical music experience, and the musical transformation process seems to be gone away with the "pre-humanity".


« Last Edit: April 18, 2008, 01:13:29 AM by mikkeljs »

greg

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2008, 05:05:11 AM »
Could it be, that Scriabin wanted the Mysterium to be unfinished and made suicide after having written about an hour of music?

I seriously doubt that. I just think he wasn't a careful shaver.

Offline mikkeljs

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2008, 08:35:55 AM »
But... dying by shaving? Isn´t that a vague story.  ;)

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2008, 02:37:03 PM »
I have thought about this hypothese: Could it be, that Scriabin wanted the Mysterium to be unfinished and made suicide after having written about an hour of music?

He didn't write anywhere near an hour of music. He left a dozen scattered pages, that's all. The rest was the invention of Nemtin.

Offline Cato

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2008, 08:55:09 AM »
He didn't write anywhere near an hour of music. He left a dozen scattered pages, that's all. The rest was the invention of Nemtin.

Right, and Nemtin is an ersatz St. Paul trying to construct 3 hours of his prophet's music (WHY?) out of the same few pages. 

Scriabin's obsession, like Wagner's, with changing human nature via musical sounds goes back at least to Plato's conceit in Book 3 of The Republic that certain ancient Greek scales affect the soul adversely.  As a result he suggested that music be severely curtailed, allowing (as I recall) a sort of socialist realism in his utopia.

What has not been sufficiently appreciated is the possibility that Plato might be making a satirically ironic comment here, and elsewhere, in The Republic.

This idea has been carried forward with things like "The Mozart Effect" and so on.  True and irrefutable scientific evidence (via brain scans, etc.) on either side of the issue still seems elusive.

On the other hand, anecdotal evidence does seem to indicate that a person might at least "feel changed" after hearing a certain work.  The problem is in defining the change itself and how one can  quantify such a change.
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Offline jowcol

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2008, 12:42:31 PM »
I know this thread hasn't been active in a while, but I can't resist weighing in. 

I'm a pretty big Scriabin fan.  For those of you who want to get more of a handle on what a wonderfully whacked out character he was, I'd suggest looking up a copy of Faubion Bowers' biography of Scriabin-- although it's been about thirty years since I've read it, I still don't remember enjoying another biography of any classical composer as much.  Some of the very bizarre telegrams he sent, his attempt to walk on water, and other quirks really added to my appreciation of his music. 

I know he was influenced at one point by the Theosophists, but he was too free a spirt to stay in any one camp.  I don't know if he had any direct ties with the Russian Suprematist and Futurists movement for the poets and the arts, but he seemed to have some of their over-the-top ambition in his works.  I wouldn't view an understanding of these currents a prerequisite for digging into him music, but they are a lot of fun-- and I admire his interest in fusing the arts, and a lot ot the meglomania was catching at the time.  (The Russian Futurists had vowed to put a leash on the moon, in addition to other things). 

I'm sure there have already been threads on his interest in the relatationship between sound and color, and talk about his having synesthesia-- a topic that fascinates me, as I have a mild version of it. 

My interest in his catalog starts around The Poem of Ecstasy or the 5th Piano sonata. 

Come to think of it-- I don't know of any other composer's whose Sonatas I make a point of listening to as much as Scriabin's.  I love the 10th, of course, but also think the 9th is highly underrated.  The mysterious theme it opens with, the way it sustains tension, and the powerful explosion in the last couple minutes really gets me.  It would not hurt me to hear someone take a crack at orchestrating that.  And almost of of his final works pack an incredible amount of mystery into a short space of time.  Supposedly, he varied his phrasing and interpretation so much that he could play the same tune twice in a row without the audience recognizing it.  Vers La Flamme is really stunning-- a very brooding motif that increases in tension and simply explodes into psychedelia.  It's funny-- my taste for solo keyboard tends to focus on baroque, 20th Century Impressionist, and Scriabin's later works.  I can admire his early etudes, but they don't really send me anywhere.

For orchestral works, Prometheus has to be my favorite, with Poem of Ecstasy running close behind.  (I liked the Gergiev version-- this sort of music tends to welcome a flamboyant composer that takes chances.).  There has been some discussion on this thread about Nemtin's realizations of Scriabin's Mysterium. 

I first discovered Universe in the late 70's when I was also discovering Scriabin.  Atlhough it seemed to wander more than the Poem of Fire and Poem of Ecstasy (which is saying a lot- neither of those are what I'd call linear), there are some great colours and textures.   Universe became my favorite "pass out" album.  (One where it didn't matter if you woke back up or not before it was over.)  I just loved getting lost in it-- and sometimes would get jolted awake by the chorus at the end.

I was very excited when I found out that the "Preparations for the Final Mystery" was going to be released, and grabbed it as soon as I could.  My emotions are mixed.  Some of the quotations of the later piano works get in the way for me, and I don't know how anyone could sit through Universe, Mankind and Transfiguration in one sitting without causing permanent damage.  Still, there were several touches I liked (the solo voice, the final cadence), and I don't regret getting it, and I'm glad that Nemtin devoted the time he did to it.  I don't think any of this will replace Scriabin's orginial works, but it's nice to have some variety when I want to lose myself in a Scriabinesque mindscape.

Cato brought up a couple of interesting points in his post that could easily spawn threads of their own.  One is the affect of music on the mind and brain's processing-- which is a major interest of mine.  I think the effect on consciousness can  very dramatic, (particularly with repetitive, incantory types of music.)  As far as being an agent for social and spiritial change, I'm personally more skeptical. 

The reference to PLato was interesting.  In Zamyatin's We (a Russian anti-utopian novel that predated 1984) there is a scene where, instead of listening to sine waves, an audience was treated to a demonstration of irrational music written before Reason took over, and they featured a work by Scriabin, who "suffered from an ancient form of epilepsy called 'inspiration'"

Okay-- consider the Scriabin thread bumped.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2008, 01:34:33 PM »
I know this thread hasn't been active in a while, but I can't resist weighing in. 

I'm a pretty big Scriabin fan.  For those of you who want to get more of a handle on what a wonderfully whacked out character he was, I'd suggest looking up a copy of Faubion Bowers' biography of Scriabin.................

Okay-- consider the Scriabin thread bumped.


Surprised that I'm not already posted in this thread - also a fan of Scriabin - in fact, I was reviewing bios of this composer on Amazon the other day and the one by Faubion Bower peaked my interest (pic below); appears to be out in a 2nd revised edition (1996) - excellent comments except for one likely undeserved 2* rating - CHECK HERE:)

I've been 'refining & culling out' my Scriabin CD collection for years now, and finally purchased just recently the 3-CD set of his orchestral works w/ Muti & the Philadelphians - superb reviews + some comments made in the 'listening thread' - and inexpensive!

 

Offline jowcol

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2008, 02:19:48 AM »
Faubion Bowers is a very interesting character in his own right.  He was General MacArthur's personal interpreter during the occupation of Japan, and was also known for taking a leading role in  preserving  Kabuki theater.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faubion_Bowers

Skryabin writes, “I can’t understand how to write only ‘music’ now. How uninteresting it would be.  Music, surely, takes on idea and significance when it is linked to one single plan within a whole world-viewpoint… Music is the path of revelation… how potent a method of knowledge it is… how much I have learned through music! All I now think and say, I know from my composing.”
"If it sounds good, it is good."
Duke Ellington

greg

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2008, 08:32:21 PM »
"Trying to walk on water?"
nice.......... i bet the dude had similar dreams as I have had.

"What if....... what if I'm really immortal?"  ;D

Offline TheOverman

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2009, 09:29:28 PM »
For Christmas I received Scriabin's Preludes, Vol. 1 with Evgeny Zarafiants on piano (Naxos).

I thouroughly enjoyed them, and wished to check out more - so I borrowed a CD from my brother.  It is a Decca two CD set of the 3 Symphonies & Le Poeme de l'extase conducted by Asheknazy.  The orchestral pieces seem much more difficult for me to get a grasp of.

Any suggestions? Perhaps I should check out the piano sonatas, not quite sure where to start.

Thanks.

Bulldog

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Re: Scriabins Temple
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2009, 11:25:40 PM »
For Christmas I received Scriabin's Preludes, Vol. 1 with Evgeny Zarafiants on piano (Naxos).

I thouroughly enjoyed them, and wished to check out more - so I borrowed a CD from my brother.  It is a Decca two CD set of the 3 Symphonies & Le Poeme de l'extase conducted by Asheknazy.  The orchestral pieces seem much more difficult for me to get a grasp of.

Any suggestions? Perhaps I should check out the piano sonatas, not quite sure where to start.

Thanks.

How about Scriabin playing his own music?  It's on a Pierian disc #18 and includes piano performances by other historical pianists.  Be advised that piano rolls are the medium (if that would trouble you).  Regardless, this disc will give a very good picture of how Scriabin wanted his music played.