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L’importanza del numero nell’opera pianistica dell’ultimo Skrjabin, in “Civiltà musicale”, 34, 1999, pp. 61-70.

From a formal point of view, Skrjabin’s invention seems to be rather weak, with frequent repetitions of phrases or of whole sections. Yet, what is necessary is not to dwell upon this first impression, but to try and verify whether the use of repetitive and often symmetrical forms might  come from a possible hidden structure expressing itself by numbers or proportions: according to Skrjabin, infact, music was fundamentally a mathematical science, a tangible manifestation of the hidden properties of  number, in accordance with the ancient conception which dates back to Pythagoras from Samo.
Skrjabin’s schematism expresses itself first of all in a square formal architecture; when he started the composition of a new work, he used to calculate exactly the fuction of every note, maintaining that : “form must be as clear as a quartz crystal”.
As regards the importance of number in Skrjabin’s musical works, biographer Leonid Sabaneev reports that the composer used to base his works especially upon rational structural formulas; according to him, the omnipresence of number in the Universe should also have an  influence on the “ Whole Work of Art”; hence utmost rigour in structure derived:
“Skrjabin loved to illustrate his thought by means of diagrams and graphs: he used to draw them very accurately, with  ruler and compass. By the use of lines and geometrical shapes he tried to represent the relations among the world, man and God, among reality, art and religion”.
The fact that ideas could easily express themselves in an elegant scheme was interpreted by Skrjabin as  irrefutable evidence of their exactness:
“ It is necessary that form is as perfect as a sphere, as a crystal. I cannot end before realizing that the sphere is accomplished. I have always claimed that in composition mathematics have to play an important role. In my compositions sometimes mathematical calculation develops, form calculation… and calculation of modulation level. Such calculation must not be random… otherwise form won’t be crystalline”.

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