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<<  -- 3 --  John Bell Young    A POETIC APPROACH


There have been few recordings of the mazurkas. Beatrice Long's performances on Naxos sport a certain charm, but do not demonstrate much of an understanding of Scriabin's aesthetic sensibility and its implications for his later works. Elsewhere, Marta Deyanova's aggressive, overheated performances tend to be heavy handed, compromising rhythmic volition and textual transparency. Both François Clidat and Gordon Fergus-Thomson offer expert, if literal accounts.

Unlike those artists, Mr Le Van, like Samuel Feinberg long before him, grasps Scriabin's language as much as his compositional agenda, and particularly the role that silence plays in the music [listen -- track 6, 0:00-1:17]. It is precisely silence, and the many brief rests in the mazurkas (some equaling only the value of a 32nd note) that propel a motive or phrase along and ahead, often setting an idea in a kind of frame. Such attention to detail, without making of it a fetish, is what sets Mr Le Van apart from other pianists. But he goes beyond that, too: what he ultimately invests in these magnificent miniatures is a certain joy in playing them. And yet, in spite of all the critical aforethought that clearly informs his readings, he manages to avoid any hint of anticipating what's just around the next musical corner. Like a great actor who makes his lines seem new and natural, every note, in Mr Le Van's capable hands, seems freshly invented. More vivid, imaginative music making than this would be hard to find, no matter what the repertoire.

Copyright © 4 January 2005 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


Scriabin Complete Mazurkas

CD-1125 DDD Stereo 72'39" 2003 Music and Arts Programs of America Inc

Eric Le Van, piano

Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): Ten Mazurkas Op 3 (1888-1890) (Tempo Giusto; Allegretto non tanto; Allegretto; Moderato; Doloroso; Scherzando; Con passione; Con moto; nd/o b; nd/o b); Nine Mazurkas Op 25 (1898-1899) (Allegro; Allegretto; Lento; Vivo; Agitato; Allegretto; Moderato; Allegretto; Mesto); Two Mazurkas Op 40 (1903) (Allegro; Piacevole)


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