From Russia with ardour
Pianist Sabrina Avantario devotes a remarkable recital to Skrjabin's memory on a concert within the Slavia Festival in Bologna on 11 November

A review by Caterina Criscione, in Piano Time, January 1996

Slavia Festival is an  event linked to the outstanding calendar of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna, and one of the very few events specifically devoted to Russian composers in Italy .
From 11 November to 16 December, six concerts arranged with AGIMUS of Bologna paid homage to the most famous Russian musicians between 19th and 20th centuries, among whom Skrjabin, Rimskij Korsakov, Cajkovskij, Ljadov, Prokof'ev, Balakierv, but also to some less known ones, as Akimenko or Ukrainian Ljatosinskij and Sillinger.
This year, the opening concert of the second edition, given by pianist Sabrina Avantario at the Sala Mozart of the Accademia Filarmonica, was dedicated to the memory of Aleksander Skrjabin. And not only to his memory, but also to the memory of his family and to some contemporary composers who took inspiration from Skrjabin for their compositions, as Czech Lubos Fiser, who wrote a Sonata upon the theme of Skrjabin's Tenth Sonata in 1969, or 29-year-old Andrea Musizza from Trieste, with his brief Omaggio a Skrjabin (1994). Alexander Skrjabin's music is fascinating: he could renew the Chopinian-Romantic mark of the piano language from the inside, by enriching it of an original tone-colouring and harmonic insight, of a voluptuousness forerunning the 20th century  and which the Moscovite musician did not delay in expressing: in some early works as Canon, written at the age of just eleven, or in the Three pieces op.2 and in some Mazurkas (1889) - performed at the beginning of the concert - it is possible to perceive the affinities with, and also the  new suggestiveness of the Romantic piano, with  perfect formal clarity and simplicity of starting-points. As soon as he was a teen-ager, Skrjabin had already found his way . It is delighfully extraordinary to discover as even his son Julian, who unfortunately died at the age of eleven (he was drowned in river Dnepr in the summer 1919) , had already revealed his talent as a composer,  in his father's footsteps: his Prelude op.2, the Preludes op.3 and the last one composed in 1919 (a few months before death) are rich in impetuousness, of expressive spontaneity and harmonious research. These works were born in their age and made of critical - but in a way as dreamy -  reaction to the tonal language , and they would thoroughly deserve to be included in the concert repertoire. Sabrina Avantario continued her well-thought recital with the Omaggio a Skrjabin by Musizza - who mainly takes inspiration from the colours and the technical features of the Skrjabinian language -  , with Fiser's Sonata, passing also through another series of works by Skrjabin's. The interesting cycle was closed by the two Poems op. 32 of 1903, the second of which had already been conceived by the musician during his adolescence for a lyrical opera which was never found.

Caterina Criscione


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