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Scriabin: Piano Sonatas 2, 5 & 9 - Sudbin

Scriabin: Piano Sonatas 2, 5 & 9 - Sudbin

BIS  BIS-SACD-1568

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Alexander Scriabin: Étude Op. 8 No. 12, Sonata No. 2 Op.19 (Sonate-Fantaisie), Étude from Three Pieces Op. 2, Four Mazurkas from Op. 3, Sonata No. 5 Op. 53, Nuances from Four Pieces Op. 56, Poème from Two Pieces Op. 59, Sonata No. 9 Op. 68 "Messe noire", Valse Op. 38

Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)

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Review by Graham Williams - November 9, 2007

When writing a review of this disc it is difficult not to indulge in the kind of hyperbole that Yevgeny Subdin uses in the booklet notes when discussing his involvement with Scriabin’s music. It would, however, be entirely justified, as this superb piano recital disc is, in every respect, the finest that has come my way for many years.

Subdin’s well-constructed programme encompasses pieces spanning the years 1889 to 1913. It opens with ravishing performances of a couple of Études, the Sonata No.2, Op.19, and four of the Ten Mazurkas, Op. 3 in which the influence of Chopin looms large. In each of these pieces the lightness of his playing, rhythmic vitality and use of subtle rubato is pure delight. The performance of the Sonata No.5 Op.53 is a tour-de-force that leaves the listener in awe, not only at Subdin’s virtuosity, but also at the range of expression he achieves in this astonishing work. The two short pieces that follow, Nuances from Four Pieces, Op.56, and Poème from Two Pieces Op. 59 make a welcome respite and allow us to prepare ourselves for his reading of the Sonata No.9 ‘Messe Noire’. Here the pianist provides a coherent performance that is both chilling and controlled at the start, yet unleashes the terrifying ferocity of the piece (from 6’ 01” onwards).
Finally we are brought back to a more comfortable world with a delightfully insouciant performance of the Valse, Op.38 that, in Subdin’s flowery prose is “…a magic box. Opened slowly, the intensifying, blinding light emitting from inside sets the universe ablaze just to vanish again at the end, leaving but a luscious trace.” Wonderful!

The recording fully matches the quality of Subdin’s playing. It reproduces the sound of his Steinway piano with matchless fidelity throughout its whole range, while the rear channels in the MC mix add just the right amount of ambience to re-create the acoustic of the Västerås Concert Hall, Sweden in one’s listening room.

I hope that BIS and Subdin will soon give us a second disc of Scriabin’s considerable output, such as the early 24 Preludes and more of the études and sonatas. In the mean time this superlative SACD should be at the top of everyone’s Christmas shopping list.

Copyright © 2007 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

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