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Le Poeme De L Extase/Pno Cto/P [Import]

Alexander Nikolayevic Scriabin Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 8.97
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1. Le Poème de l'extase, op. 54
2. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: I - Allegro
3. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: II - Andante
4. Concerto for Piano & Orchestra in F Sharp Minor, op 20: III - Allegro moderato
5. Promethee, Le Poème du Feu, op. 60

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Amazon.ca

If you want to hear music suited to the millennial frenzy, a prime place to start is with Russian maverick composer Alexander Scriabin. In the final years of his unfortunately brief life, he dreamed up transcendent musical projects that make Wagner seem like parlor entertainment. Among the relatively few orchestral works Scriabin did complete are some stunners that blaze a uniquely visionary, idiosyncratic path beyond the impasse of ripe fin-de-siècle romanticism. The three starkly contrasting pieces gathered here offer a splendid entrée into his music. Henry Miller once described the Poem of Ecstasy as "a bath of cocaine, ice, and rainbows." Boulez conjures oceanic heavings and flickering, perfumed washes of color from his players, leading to a mighty orgasm of sound. The composer was also a dynamic virtuoso pianist (a classmate of Rachmaninoff's), and his early concerto shows its debt to Chopin while pursuing an original and tightly integrated blend of soloist and orchestra. Pianist Anatol Ugorski's unflapping conviction reveals the piece for the gem it is--the slow movement's melody is particularly indelible--leaving you wondering why this concerto is programmed so rarely. The piano also adds an important color in Scriabin's 1910 symphonic poem Prometheus, where he ventures even beyond the Poem of Ecstasy into progressive musical territory. From this amalgam of occult mysticism and pioneering harmony, Boulez fashions a majestically textured, multidimensional account that sounds opulent but unclotted. If this whets your appetite for a truly unique composer, try the Scriabin twofer on Chandos that includes his bizarrely brilliant Divine Poem Symphony. --Thomas May

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Wonderful Boulez Performance Aug. 6 2002
Format:Audio CD
In the absence of the availability of the Ashkenazy recording of these same works on the London CD label (I am a "library listener" right now!), I finally had a chance to listen to and study these orchestral works by Alexander Scriabin. I found myself feeling impressed.
Many critics and detractors constantly point out the overly analytical aspect of Pierre Boulez's musical interpretations, a fact he himself admitted to. However, I think that his thoughtfulness, knowledge of orchestral sonorities, attention to detail and architecture, and striving for perfection make for crisp, warm, and full-bodied interpretations.
The "Poem of Ecstasy" is performed with clarity, attention to detail, and an air of mystery. Boulez's French background give this piece an overall sound and feeling that recalls his recording of "Daphnis et Chloe," by Maurice Ravel. The trumpet plays with excellent tone and clarity. The strings seem to balance well with the rest of the orchestra. Perhaps there is too much of a feeling of Ravel and Debussy in this piece, but I find the interpretation very convincing. The final orchestral climax is most impressive, indeed!
Next, I found myself enjoying the collaboration of Anatol Ugorski and Boulez in the Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor and the "Poem of Fire." Ugorski plays with beauty, sensitivity, and crystalline clarity. He is an accomplished virtuoso pianist. Ugorski's playing shows the strong connection with Scriabin and his reverence for the piano music of Frederic Chopin. The orchestra gives a performance full of precision and the attention to detail that never escapes Boulez.
The "Poem of Fire" is even more mysterious and evocative to me than the "Poem of Ecstasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Boulez meets fiery Scriabin April 16 2002
Format:Audio CD
I love this disc (which to be fair, has received very mixed comments). Boulez, with his typical focus on clarity, tackles this volcanic composer's overheated music with compelling results. It's not the only way to play Scriabin -- some may prefer a more overtly emotional thrust -- but it works.
The fabulous Chicago Symphony sounds thrilling, with the gleaming brass dominating but not overpowering the dense textures. I especially like this version of "Prometheus," which includes the choral part - here sung by the excellent Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Other versions may sound "more Russian" or be more passionate, but the approach here works on its own glittery, crystalline terms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ashkenazy & Ugorski Jan. 26 2000
Format:Audio CD
I own two recordings: the Ashkenazy and Ugorski. Both are good performances and I cannot say I prefer one to the other.
The Ugorski is a more brisk and technically brilliant performance. DG has produced a very nice sounding album, the quality of which certainly exceeds that of the Ashkenazy performance. The CSO has quite a reputation and I won't bother with further praise here.
Ashkenazy's somewhat slower tempi and more liberal rubatos yield a more romantic and less technically precise and rigid performance. The Ugorski, in some ways, lacks the strength of the former. Either performance is an excellent addition to one's collection.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Wonderful Boulez Performance Aug. 6 2002
By Paul Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In the absence of the availability of the Ashkenazy recording of these same works on the London CD label (I am a "library listener" right now!), I finally had a chance to listen to and study these orchestral works by Alexander Scriabin. I found myself feeling impressed.
Many critics and detractors constantly point out the overly analytical aspect of Pierre Boulez's musical interpretations, a fact he himself admitted to. However, I think that his thoughtfulness, knowledge of orchestral sonorities, attention to detail and architecture, and striving for perfection make for crisp, warm, and full-bodied interpretations.
The "Poem of Ecstasy" is performed with clarity, attention to detail, and an air of mystery. Boulez's French background give this piece an overall sound and feeling that recalls his recording of "Daphnis et Chloe," by Maurice Ravel. The trumpet plays with excellent tone and clarity. The strings seem to balance well with the rest of the orchestra. Perhaps there is too much of a feeling of Ravel and Debussy in this piece, but I find the interpretation very convincing. The final orchestral climax is most impressive, indeed!
Next, I found myself enjoying the collaboration of Anatol Ugorski and Boulez in the Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor and the "Poem of Fire." Ugorski plays with beauty, sensitivity, and crystalline clarity. He is an accomplished virtuoso pianist. Ugorski's playing shows the strong connection with Scriabin and his reverence for the piano music of Frederic Chopin. The orchestra gives a performance full of precision and the attention to detail that never escapes Boulez.
The "Poem of Fire" is even more mysterious and evocative to me than the "Poem of Ecstasy." One can hear the increase of fourth chords, augmented chords, whole tone scales, and tritone modulations that give Scriabin's sound world its unique sonorities. Once again, Ugorski gives a wonderfully detailed, evocative performance, and Boulez gives an outstanding accompaniment. The sound quality of this CD is absolutely outstanding!
Overall, I understand that the Ashkenazy recording of these works is the definitive performance and recording of them, but one cannot go far wrong with this CD. If you can overlook the "Frenchness" of this interpretation and don't mind thoughtful, analytical music-making, this CD is well worth your money and time investment.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low voltage Scriabin. June 20 2005
By Plaza Marcelino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Himself a phenomenal pianist, Scriabin arrived to the same twelve-note scale harbour as his austrian contemporary Schoenberg had but from an altogether different route, as he devised a "system" of "piling up" fourth-interval chords instead of going the Schoenberg way from melody itself. I'm not sure if the one was aware or not of the other's work but Schoenberg had followers that extended his work and methods whereas Scriabin had not. For the listener, Scriabin's works will sound far more "tonal" than the austrian's but if you study the scores closely you'll end up more or less in the same place although with the russian's apportation permeated with a strong emotional element that is generally absent from Schoenberg's techniques (but to which Berg would introduce most effectively a few decades later).

When I came across this CD I was puzzled, for I had the impression that Scriabin's language would prove as alien to Boulez as would be, say, Richard Strauss' (although I'd be quite interested in hearing what he could do with Salome or Elektra, especially with the latter), more so in the case of the early, chopinesque Piano Concerto. And in the end, my impressions were confirmed albeit with an unexpected twist. This is very well recorded and with top playing by Ugorski and the Chicago Orchestra, Scriabin, but in the end a low-voltage Scriabin. Boulez seems more interested in the two later works and sounds more convincing in the "Poem of Fire", than in the rest of the disc's programme, making this most intriguing of Scriabin's works sound even Webern-esque (and indeed one wonders where Scriabin would have arrived to had he lived longer).

For me Boulez is less effective in the piano-less "Poem of Ecstasy", with the Piano Concerto's results somewhere in between. The "Poem of Ecstasy" sounds uninvolved, distant and somewhat "hammered into" that really assimilated. The inner energy the composer welded into the score is rarely present and the powerful climax called for never really conforms to what is written down, an ecstasy that stalled midway so to speak. As I said, the concerto fares better and receives a handsome performance from Ugorski but in the end fails to convince wholly and makes you refer to other versions in your collection, better consubstantiated with its style and atmospehere.

A mixed bag, then, but an useful modern vehicle for three works from a composer that deserves far more diffusion.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool Boulez meets fiery Scriabin April 16 2002
By Bruce Hodges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I love this disc (which to be fair, has received very mixed comments). Boulez, with his typical focus on clarity, tackles this volcanic composer's overheated music with compelling results. It's not the only way to play Scriabin -- some may prefer a more overtly emotional thrust -- but it works.
The fabulous Chicago Symphony sounds thrilling, with the gleaming brass dominating but not overpowering the dense textures. I especially like this version of "Prometheus," which includes the choral part - here sung by the excellent Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Other versions may sound "more Russian" or be more passionate, but the approach here works on its own glittery, crystalline terms.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible music April 5 2009
By B. Kemper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
To be honest, I probably needn't bother with writing this: anyone looking at recordings of Scriabin's music knows that he was a genius (a bit bizarre personally, but a genius). So just in case you need a bit of prompting here: this is amazing, deep music. Not a lot of hummable tunes, but if you are looking here, you probably aren't that interested in hummable tunes anyway. Whether you are a fan of Scriabin's or not, buy this and listen to it multiple times. It is beautiful, deep, dark, a bit twisted, and just plain amazing.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a superb Poem of Ecstasy July 19 2006
By D. Jack Elliot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a spectacular reading of the Poem of Ecstasy. Boulez's calculated logic and mathematical objectivity are not always effective in the mainstream, "common practice" repertory (his performances of the Mahler symphonies, for example, range from passable to simply awful, cold and emotionally disfunctional), but in the Poem of Ecstasy they reveal a masterpiece of thematic development and elegance of line. Where other readings (Neeme Järvi's, for example, recorded nine years earlier with this same orchestra) render this music an amorphous, directionless exercise in ambience, Boulez fascinates by his grasp of symphonic architecture and ability to bring subtle details of counterpoint and orchestration out of the dense texture. And what an orchestral performance!

As an aside, this was my first acquaintance with the Piano Concerto, and I was struck by how much it sounds like Chopin. By the time of the two symphonic poems on this disc Scriabin had come a long way down the radical experimental path he took in his short career; but the Piano Concerto is an earlier work, accessible and immediately likeable while still possessed of the progressive, experimental elements of Scriabin's writing in their early stages.
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