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Aleksandr Skrjabin tra musica e filosofia, Firenze, Passigli 1991 (under the patronage of De Sono, Turin), 192 pp. Winning text at the Musicological Competition “Il Coretto" in Bari (27 October 1989).


Aleksandr Skrjabin tra musica e filosofia
PRESENTATION: Salone del Libro di Torino - 18 May 1991

The book contains the translation into Italian of the text of the “Poem of the Ecstasy” by Skrjabin, then reproduced in the illustrative brochure of the concert on 5 March 1993 (Genoa, Teatro Carlo Felice; piano: Massimiliano Damerini; reciting voice: Paolo Graziosi. Orchestra of the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, conductor: Antoni Wit).

Reviews:
Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana, LI, 1,1992, pp.114-15 (Maria Girardi).
Slavia, II, 1, 1993, pp.228-29 (Paolo Troncon).



In the musical culture of the early 20th century, Skrjabin covers an important place, not only as a composer: he became actively interested in philosophy, literature, painting, plastic arts and esoteric sciences, and exerted a considerable influence on the aesthetic thought of his age. Writers as D’Annunzio and Pasternak, painters as Kandinskij, composers as Szymanowski and Gličre did not miss the opportunity to show their admiration and tribute to Skrjabin’s art; the reasons which join in it are many and summarize all cultural ferments of an age. The essay “Aleksandr Skrjabin between music and philosophy” focuses particularly on Skrjabin’s philosophical and aesthetic writings, of which it provides some unabridged and original translation into Italian; Skrjabin’s personality emerges from his contemporaries’ evidence and above all from the analysis of his writings and letters: he was not only a genial composer, but also a fertile and original thinker, a fascinating and provoking figure, an acute observer and emblematic witness of his time. Some fundamental stages of the Russian composer’s life are dealt with, from the early unfinished  work to his””metaphysical  reflections”, from the “Poem of Ecstasy” to the esoteric revelation of “Prometheus”, from the experience of synaesthesia and of the relationship sound/colour, to the utopian attempt  to blend all arts and human experiences of the grand Mystery, which remained unfinished. The essay has to be considered as an introduction to Skrjabin’s work; it is  not certainly exhaustive as to the complexity of  problems connected with the composer’s rich personality and does not intend to effect a technical musical analysis of  his work: in this view,  the author would like it to be a starting point for further  studies.

CONTENTS

Introduction
The unaccomplished “Opera” /Work
The “Opera”  Work  (libretto)
The metaphysical speculations
The “Poem of Ecstasy”
The “Poem of Ecstasy” (poetic text)
Skrjabin’s esoterism
The synaesthesia
The “Mystery”
Skrjabin’s heritage

APPENDIX
The “Preparatory Act” (poetic text)

Catalogue of works

Bibliography

INTRODUCTION

Aleksandr Nikolaevic skrjabin was born in Moscow on  6 January 1872, or, according to the Julian calendar valid in Russia until 1918, on 25 December \871, on Christmas Day. His father Nicolaj Skrjabin was a young student in Law, who aspirated to a diplomatic career; his mother Lyoubov Petrovna Ceretinina was a  brilliant  pianist  getting  her diploma with  gold medal  and honour mention at the Moscow Conservatoire  when she was only 18 years old: she died a few months after Aleskandr’s death and the child was grown up by an aunt and by his paternal grandmother, who adhored him. After starting  his musical studies when he was still attending  the Cadet School in Moscow, to which he had enrolled after his father’s will, Skrjabin immediately showed a precocious talent and was then entrusted to Nicolaj Zverev, who was considered one of the most influential musical educators of that time.  After the admission to Moscow Conservatoire (1888), Skrjabin was among Vassilij Safonov’s pupils for the piano and Taneev’s and Arenskij’s for composition; he soon was noticed especially as a pianist and , in 1891, obtained  the gold medal in the piano class, in spite of a serious inflammation of his right hand which made him run the risk of  having his career stopped at birth. The compositions dating back to this early  period are all born after Chopin’s and Lizst’s influence; they are all conceived for the piano and contained in the small-shaped forms favourite by Chopin (preludes, studies, impromptus and mazurkas) and they are characterized by refined phrasing and harmony and , in their extreme brevity and emotional concentration, they approach the poetics which the  new generation of Russian poets was assimilating from the translation of Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé. Skrjabin’s music of that period well  matches the decadent poets’ obsessions: in particular, the suggestiveness of  diabolic penetrates it through Lizst and there remains as an essential element.

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