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PIJANIZAM KAO NARATIVNA PRAKSA

MARIJA DINOV VASIĆ

06.08.2017 / 15H – DOM VOJSKE

 

Višestruke mogućnosti korelacije između naratologije i pijanističke izvođačke prakse, disciplina analognih pre svega preko fenomena temporalnosti, pokazuju da su procesi narativizacije zapravo fundamentalna humanistička tendencija. Ovakva istraživanja mogu biti posebno značajna i korisna aktivnim izvođačima, te mogu konačno ukazati i na utemeljenost stavova brojnih pijanista koji tokom celokupne istorije pijanizma koriste narativne strategije u svojoj izvođačkoj i pedagoškoj praksi, a u cilju postizanja ubedljive interpretacije različitih muzičkih formi. Pijanizam kao izvođačka umetnost podrazumeva svojevrstan komunikacijski proces koji egzistira na posredničkoj ulozi izvođača – pijaniste. Od samog početka u pijanističkoj literaturi zastupljena je ideja o idealu ekspresivne zvučnosti klavira po uzoru na ljudski glas koji opet može biti eksplicitan instrument za prezentaciju narativa i narativnih procesa. Težnja ka ovom idealu prožima sve značajne teorijske i metodičke radove u oblasti klavirskog izvođaštva. Individualni rad na sticanju kompetencija u kreiranju autentičnog, sugestivnog umetničkog koncepta interpretacije muzičkog dela predstavlja svakodnevni izazov pijanistima. Ovakvim kreativnim konceptualnim zahtevima koji se stavljaju pred izvođače moguće je ovladati upotrebom narativnih strategija. Ova ideja ima za cilj da utemelji pretpostavku da upoznavanje sa naratološkim principima i šira primena naratoloških strategija u individualnom radu može u velikoj meri unaprediti pijanističku izvođačku praksu. Konkretne mogućnosti primene različitih modela narativnih strategija u samoj izvođačkoj praksi ovom prilikom ostaju marginalizovane, ali kao tema sa značajnim potencijalom za dalja individualna istraživanja.

MARIJA DINOV VASIĆ studije klavira završila je na FU u Nišu u klasi prof. Dragoslava Aćimovića. Magistrirala je na NMA Pančo Vladigerov u Sofiji, u klasi prof. Ženi Zaharieve, kao stipendista bugarskog Ministarstva obrazovanja i mađarske organizacije Soros Supplementary Grants Program. Nastupajući kao solista ili kamerni muzičar dobila je nekoliko nagrada tokom školovanja na pijanističkim takmičenjima u zemlji i inostranstvu (Italija, Francuska), a bila je i solista sa Niškim simfonijskim orkestrom. Učestvovala na kursevima priznatih pedagoga i pijanista (N. Lj. Štarkman, A. Dorenjski, M. L. Petrović, Ž. Zaharieva i K. Šilde). Tokom studija više puta je ubrajana među najbolje studente Univerziteta u Nišu. Nosilac je povelje Univerziteta kao najbolji diplomirani student Fakulteta umetnosti. Od 2005. godine radi kao asistent na Katedri za klavir na istom fakultetu, gde je u radu sa studentima je pokazala profesionalizam i posvećenost, što potvrđuju njihovi brojni nastupi u zemlji i inostranstvu, među kojima se izdvaja integralno izvođenje svih Betovenovih dela za klavir i orkestar (od kojih četiri premijerno) u Nišu i Skoplju (2009). Nastupa kao solista, kamerni muzičar i klavirski saradnik. Zabeleženi su njeni nastupi (putem TV i radio-stanica) širom Srbije i u zemljama iz okruženja. Povremeno održava i svojevrsna muzička predavanja, na kojima svoja zapažanja ilustruje izvođenjem kraćih segmenata ili celovitih kompozicija, za koje je dobijala dobre kritike u domaćoj štampi.

 

UMETNOST I ESTETIKA KARNEVALA U DELIMA ROBERTA ŠUMANA

VOJIN JAGLIČIĆ

07.08.2017 / 15H – DOM VOJSKE

 

Kao jedan od najznačajnijih društvenih događaja u Srednjem veku i Renesansi, karneval je vršio veliki uticaj na raznovrsne umetničke forme. Karnevalska umetnost i estetika, koja se formira krajem 15. veka, doživljava svoj procvat i vrhunac tokom celog 16. veka, a ova tematika biće aktuelna sve do danas. Na primeru dela Roberta Šumana, videćemo na koji način se karneval manifestuje u muzici i kako opstaje u umetnosti kroz različite vekove.

VOJIN JAGLIČIĆ nakon osnovnog i srednjeg muzičkog obrazovanja ostvarenog u rodnom Kraljevu, 2009. godine upisuje Fakultet muzičke umetnosti u Beogradu. Osnovne i master studije iz oblasti muzičke teorije završene 2014. godine, dopunjuje masterom iz muzikologije na pariskoj Sorboni (Univerzitet Paris IV). Svoj diplomski rad na temu karnevala u muzici, uspešno odbranjuje u junu 2017.

 

FILOZOFIJA I MUZIKA

RADOŠ MITROVIĆ

07.08.2017 / 17H – DOM VOJSKE

 

Muzika, kao specifična umetnička disciplina, intrigirala je, tokom istorije, mnoge filozofe – od Platona (Πλάτων), koji joj je dao specifično mesto u svojoj viziji idealnog društva, do dvadesetovekovnog mislioca, Teodora Adorna (Theodor Adorno), koji je značajan deo svog rada posvetio upravo razmatranju muzike. Ukoliko ostavimo po strani estetička razmatranja muzike i orijentišemo se isključivo ka istoriji filozofije muzike, nailazimo na veliki broj najrazličitijih stanovišta i pristupa. Tako je za idealistu, Šopenhauera (Arthur Schopenhauer): „muzika odgovor na misteriju života“, dok je neomarksista, Žižek (Slavoj Žižek) posmatra kao svojevrsni „ideološki tekst“ koji se može tumačiti sa stanovišta društveno-političke teorije. Posebno su, međutim zanimljivi autori koji su se i praktično oprobali u muzici kao kompozitori. Izazovno je razmatrati odnos koji su oni uspostavljali između teorijskog promatranja fenomena muzike i stvaralačke prakse – Žan Žak Ruso (Jean Jacques Rousseau), Fridrih Niče (Friedrich Nietzsche) i Teodor Adorno su samo neka od imena koja možemo da navedemo u ovom kontekstu. Naše predavanje o odnosu između filozofije i muzike će upravo pokušati da osvetli sva ova pitanja, predstavljajući različita filozofska stanovišta i fokusirajući se na nekoliko upečatljivih primera muzičkog stvaralaštva određenih filozofa.

RADOŠ MITROVIĆ (rođen 1989. u Beogradu) je asistent i sekretar Katedre za muzikologiju, Fakulteta muzičke umetnosti u Beogradu. Osnovno polje njegovog akademskog interesovanja jeste savremena muzika i estetika muzike, a trenutno radi na doktorskoj disertaciji pod nazivom Kraj postmoderne. Redovno učestvuje na okruglim stolovima i međunarodnim konferencijama i objavljuje članke u stručnim časopisima. Autor je e-knjige Stvaralački odnos Maurisija Kagela prema muzičkog tradiciji (2014) i dobitnik nagrade Vlastimir Peričić za najboljeg studenta muzikologije (2011/12). Bio je član uredništva studentskog zbornika radova za 2012. godinu, kao i organizacionog odbora simpozijuma Transpositions: Music/Image (2016). Član je Muzikološkog društva Srbije i Centra za istraživanje popularne muzike. Aktivan je kao muzički kritičar i autor emisija na Radio Beogradu 2.

 

ŠTA JE TERAPIJA MUZIKOM?

JANE BRACKLEY

08.08.2017 / 14H – DOM VOJSKE

 

Ovaj uvod u terapiju muzikom će obratiti pažnju na pitanja kao što su: kako funkcioniše terapija muzikom; šta ovakav terapeut radi; ko može imati koristi od terapije muzikom; da li ljudi moraju da sviraju na nekom instrumentu da bi im koristila terapija muzikom; kako se postaje terapeut muzikom; gde terapeuti muzikom rade. Predavanje će istraživati kako, kao što psihoterapeut koristi reči, terapija muzikom koristi muziku kao medijum komunikacije i kao način da se poveže s klijentom. Uključuje studije slučaja i delove sesija sa terapija muzikom da bi se prikazalo kako se muzika praktično primenjuje kao način da potpomogne psihološkom, emocionalnom, mentanom i socijalnom zdravlju klijenata.

JANE BRACKLEY je diplomirala na Colchester univerzitetu, gde je studirala klavir sa Alanom Granvilom i Aidom Gavrilovom. Zatim je završila postdiplomske studije klavira na koledžu Trinity College of Music u Londonu, a profesori su joj bili Džefri Pretli i Kristin Krošo. Dok je živela u Londonu, pohađala je Institute of Education i završila studije za predavača muzike. Tokom 2001. se preselila u Kembridž da završi postdiplomske studije iz terapije muzikom i, posle završetka istraživačkog projekta, dobila je titulu mastera iz ove oblasti. Od tada radi za nacionalni zdravstveni centar Ujedinjenog Kraljevstva kao terapeut muzikom za odrasle i adolescente koji imaju probleme u učenju, a u okviru specijalnih škola, i sa decom. Njena usko stručna oblast je, međutim, terapija muzikom za decu sa socijalnim, emocionalnim i problemima u ponašanju i s decom koja su isključena iz škole, a ujedno je počela da radi i u grupama za ranu intervenciju pri problematičnom ponašanju kod dece i tinejdžera koji su pred isključenjem iz škole. Završila je prvu godinu doktorskih studija radeći na stipendiranom projektu o tehnikama u terapiji muzikom pri pomoći deci koja ispoljavaju agresivno ponašanje, a na ovu temu je 2011. napisala poglavlje za knjigu „Terapija muzikom u školama“. Radi u Kembridžu kao terapeut muzikom i nastavnik klavira.

 

NOVE TENDENCIJE U INSTRUMENTALNOJ PEDAGOGIJI

AIDA GAVRILOVA

08.08.2017 / 16H – DOM VOJSKE

  • Šta se ustvari promenilo u instrumentalnoj pedagogiji u zadnjih 50 godina? Da li deca dostizu “bolje rezultate” u ranijem uzrastu? Koliko je to važno i za koga?
  • Da li je način predavanja (nove tendencije) doprineo enormnom broju dece vunderkinda , ili ih sada samo češće čujemo zbog pristupa internetu?
  • Da li se može “napraviti” vunderkind” posebnim načinom predavanja?
  • Koji su ciljevi uspešnog pedagoga? – sa svim implikacijama reči “uspešan pedagog”.
  • Koliko korišćenje interneta pomaže učeniku?

 

 

PSIHOFIZIOLOŠKE PRIPREME MUZIČARA ZA JAVNI NASTUP

SLAĐANA BUKLIJAŠ

08.08.2017 / 18H – DOM VOJSKE

 

Nastup je rezultat napornog stvaralačkog rada umetnika i postaje za njega odgovorni čin koji stimuliše njegov stvaralački razvoj. Različita prirodna svojstva izvođača – volja, intelekt, dubina emocija, stvaralačka fantazija – sve to, u većoj ili manjoj meri, dolazi do izražaja za vreme javnog nastupa. “Scensko subjektivno osećanje” (Stanislavski) predstavlja u sebi zapravo jedinstvo intelektualne i emocionalne sfere umetnika, usmereno na najbolje izvršenje stvaralačkog zadatka. U tom jedinstvu je važna polazna tačka intelekt – “budno oko”, koje prati da se emocija nabijena sadržajem kradom ne zameni afektiranim uzbuđenjem, da se umesto živog lika na sceni ili estradi ne pojavi grubi naturalizam. Iz toga proizlazi da scensko, stvaralačko uzbuđenje umetnika nikad ne sme izlaziti izvan estetskih okvira i preći u sferu svakidašnjeg “proživljavanja”. Priprema za koncertni nastup, na taj način se pretvara u najvažniju etapu oblikovanja muzičara – interpretatora, a uspešnost njegovog nastupa na sceni direktno će zavisiti ne samo o kvalitetu i solidno naučenim delima, već i o nivou njegove psihološke spremnosti za kontakt s publikom. Rad profesionalnog muzičara je ustvari jedan od najsloženijih oblika čovekove delatnosti, koji zahteva dugogodišnji svakodnevni rad, često fizički i psihički iscrpljujući. Opterećenja neprekidno rastu radi stalno povećavanje konkurencije sredine u koju ulaze mladi muzičari. I danas se pobednikom često javlja onaj ko se pokaže izdržljivijim, vrednijim, sabranijim, fizički i moralno jačim. Koliko postoji ljudski rod i njegova aktivnost, toliko postoji i večni problem objektivne ocene čovekovog položaja. Nažalost, njegove su snage ograničene, a povećanje napora (umnog ili psihomotoričkog) iznad njemu prirodom dozvoljenih granica, izaziva stanje dubokog umora: muzičar gubi svežinu, osećanje radosti od izvođenja. U takvom stanju uzaludno se nadati visokim rezultatima. Suvišno uzbuđenje ne omogućava da se koristimo ni mogućnostima aktivne strane razuma, ni energetskog potencijala, ponekad dovodi do sloma svega što se zamislilo i učinilo kroz dugi vremenski period, i što je najstrašnije – to se može dogoditi za vreme odgovornog nastupa. Nedostatak svežine, tj. optimalnog – najboljeg od svih mogućih psihičkih stanja, negativno se odražava na kvalitet mišljenja, osećanja i fantazije, a u stanju premorenosti, njihove funkcije su na granici nestanka. Međutim, ipak uzbuđenje uzbuđenju nije neprijatelj. Uzbuđenost ili određeno povišeno raspoloženje pre nastupa nije samo prirodno i poželjno, kao što pokazuje praksa, već ono često spašava izvođenje od svakidašnjosti. Kako dakle sebe podići na potreban ritam pre nastupa i donetislušaocu najbolje od svojih sposobnosti, kakve mehanizme uključiti za postizanje uspeha na sceni i kako odgajati u sebi ljubav prema kontaktu s publikom? Ta pitanja brinu danas mnoge muzičare, bio to tek početnik ili koncertni izvođač koji već odavno nastupa pred publikom. Rešenje se, nema sumnje, krije u pripremnoj etapi, koja i jesteglavni predmet mog rada. Nesumnjivo da će svakom izvođaču biti interesantno: koliko traje pripremni period, kakve je načine samoupravljanja psihičkih stanja potrebno primeniti u kojem momentu, kakve zadatke u raznim vremenskim intervalima treba muzičar izvršiti, kako pametno postaviti pripremni proces da se on ne pretvori u zbrkano preispitivanje različitih načina i metoda rada? Vredni saveti o psihološkoj pripremi izvođača za koncertni nastup nalaze se u knjigama i člancima poznatih muzičara i pedagoga – L.A. Barenbojma, G.G. Nejgauza, G.M. Kogana, S.I. Savšinskog i dr. Nažalost, te preporuke nisu sistematizovane, nisu objedinjene u samostalnoj knjizi i što je najglavnije, ne daju jasnu analizu vremenske periodizacije u pripremi za javni nastup. Da bi utvrdili potrebu uvođenja kompleksa psihotehničkihmetoda, koja će biti u mogućnosti korigovati estradnu tremu kod muzičara u izvođačku praksu i odredili vremensku periodizaciju pripremnih etapa za koncertni nastup, neophodno je postaviti i rešiti sledeće zadatke : 1. Odrediti kompleks mera za postizanje optimalnog scenskog stanja. 2. Otkriti potencijalne greške kod pripreme za nastup, a takođe otkriti konkretne ciljeve i zadatke izvođača u svakom periodu pripreme za javno nastupanje. 3. Označiti osnovne periode u pripremnom radu za koncertni nastup. 4. Razmotriti i predložiti izvođačima na muzičkim instrumentima, elemente glumačke tehnike radi svladavanja estradne treme. 5. Objasniti uticaj mehanizama samokontrole i voljnog upravljanja na individuu s gledišta psihofiziologije.

SLAĐANA BUKLIJAŠ diplomirala je na Muzičkoj akademiji u Sarajevu u klasi prof. M. Blum i prof. J. Dimitrijević, a magistrirala na Fakultetu muzičke umetnosti u Skoplju kod prof. T. Svetieva. Usavršavala se kod uglednih pedagoga i pijanista (N. Lj. Štarkman, A. Valdma, A. Timakin, K. Gekić, N. Flores, K. Bogino i dr.). Nastupala je solistički i u raznim sastavima klavirskih dua. Na Fakultetu umetnosti u Nišu radila je kao izvanredni profesor na kolegiju metodika nastave klavira do 2013. godine. Od Udruženja muzičkih i baletskih pedagoga Srbije 2003. godine dobila je nagradu i priznanje za višegodišnje izuzetne pedagoške i umjetničke rezultate. Na europskom pijanističkom natjecanju Citta di Moncalieri proglašena je profesorom godine (2008. Diploma d’onore). U zemlji i inozemstvu održala je brojne seminare za solo klavir i klavir četveroručno. Bila je članica mnogih međunarodnih žirija pijanističkih natjecanja u kategorijama učenika i studenata. Sa učenicima i studentima osvojila je brojne nagrade na raznim domaćim i međunarodnim natjecanjima. Trenutno radi kao profesor klavira u glazbenoj školi u Bjelovaru i voditelj je Pijanističke umjetničke radionice u Zagrebu. Živi u Zagrebu.

LECTURE

MARIJA DINOV

 

Alexander Scriabin
– a world of interaction between composer, pianist and philosopher

Hello everyone!
This year we get together for the second time and I again was asked to prepare a convenient lecture in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the death of Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin.

At first I was delighted, because Scriabin was one of my favorite figures since I was fifteen years old and he is still among most fascinated characters to me. But there was a catch. When I started to read about him and his work, as I usually do, I discovered so many literatures where so many subjects waited to be explored. Soon I realized that it will be a problem to sum up such a great life and work in one hour lasting lecture.

So, my first challenge in this project was to choose which segment of Scriabin’s many dimensions should represent. I decided not to talk a lot of his biography, though it is probably one of the strangest in history of art. I found that it is not appropriate to include all details about his lifestyle, character, behavior, strengths and weaknesses, because there are some very ugly truths in his life. It is not necessary to pay a great attention of it. Even without that, Scriabin is still one of the most controversial figures among musicians. He inspires passionate debates and polarizes opinion. Hardly anyone remains indifferent – one either likes his music or does not.

I think it is not Scriabin’s problematic life the most important issue that create our opinion and experience about his music. It is Scriabin’s philosophy that creates problems as well. The main sources of his philosophy can be found in his numerous unpublished notebooks, one in which he famously wrote „I am God“. As well as brief notes there are complex and technical diagrams explaining his metaphysics. Scriabin also used poetry to express his philosophical concepts, and much of his philosophical thought was translated into music. His composing work was always in direct interaction with his philosophy.

I also decided not to talk about his eccentric believes that the world could be transformed and, indeed, saved through art, and his visions or hallucinations, also about eroticism in his music, although he used the word ecstasy. He saw that the end of the world would be a grandiose sexual act, a universal orgy, in fact. It is hard to believe that anyone would think like this. He was a megalomaniac and he wanted everyone to agree with him. He promoted cults and spiritualism which were dangerous doctrines and were exposed as deception. He was a cult figure himself. He was considered by himself and others to be a messianic figure.

He was an odd person who did not quite fit or match any convention. Stravinsky called him “a man without citizenship”, meaning that he did not belong to any particular musical or cultural tradition. But if his music does not belong to any national musical tradition, his character was truly Russian. Everything had to be pushed to the limits, to extremes – no half measures, no compromises. Though he was a product of his Russian musical heritage, Scriabin’s music is not specifically Russian and it does not quite fit in any other tradition either – a rather unique case in music history. Except for a few obvious influences in his early works, Scriabin found his own idiom, his own harmonic language, his own style and principles of musical construction, and created a system like no other. This system was closed and complete within itself and did not allow further development. His music influenced many but it produced no real followers, only epigones, because his system can’t be developed, only copied.

We have already heard plenty of important theories about his life and work in previous lecture of my respected and very dear professor Todorovich, and I don’t want to repeat it, as a good student. So, for my lecture I choused to discuss Scriabin’s performing style.

After I’ve read many books about Scriabin’s work, I truly believe that the key for deeper understanding of composer’s artistic intensions and ideologies is the knowledge of his performance practices and it’s interaction with his composing and philosophy.

Scriabin started out as a prodigy pianist, studying as a boy with the renowned Moscow pedagogue Nikolai Zverev. It was the advice of Sergei Taneyev, with whom Scriabin was studying musical theory. Studying with Zverev had great advantages. He disciplined pupils in technical practice and taught them how to work seriously, he taught always with regard for sound technical methods such as freedom of arms, hands and wrists and musical fundamentals such as rhythm and musical literacy. Zverev’s pupils included, besides Scriabin, Alexander Siloti, Sergei Rachmaninov, Konstantin Igumnov, Yelena Bekman-Shcherbina. The last three were friends and colleagues throughout Scriabin’s later life, despite fundamental disagreements between Rachmaninov and Scriabin. Interestingly, Scriabin started out as a pianist and ended up as a composer, while Rachmaninoff started out as a composer and ended up as a pianist.

An unfortunate circumstance forced Scriabin to turn to composition. During his time in Conservatory Scriabin had catastrophic hand injury which led to the writing of the tragic First sonata and the Nocturne and prelude for left hand op. 9. It also influenced to a huge upheaval in his personal philosophy and outlook on the world.

Scriabin made a recovery against the prognosis of doctors and he eventually returned to the concert stage, but the hand was never quite the same again. To the end of his life Scriabin was unconsciously exercising the fingers of his right hand on the table or on his knee, checking their action. It may explain why in so many of his compositions the left hand is technically the equal and often overshadows the right hand. Cesar Cui, in a concert review of Scriabin from 1905 complained that Scriabin’s left hand actually overwhelmed the right.
Scriabin entered the Conservatory and joined the class of Vasily Safonov former student of Leschetizky, who had selected him as a student while he was still studying with Zverev. There was a musical affinity between professor and student. For Scriabin the school of Safonov was perhaps the only practicable one.
Scriabin actually owed valuable connections in the musical world to his mother. She died only a year after his birth, but it is likely that he inherited musical ability, both as performer and composer, from her. Her period of study with Theodore Leschetizky in St. Petersburg overlapped by one year with Vasily Safonov, the later teacher of Scriabin. The director of the conservatoire at that time, Anton Rubinstein, referred to her as his “little daughter”. After she died Rubinstein showed great interest in her gifted child.
During his education Scriabin naturally played significant works of piano literacy. Critical opinions of his playing of other composer’s works were mixed. Comparing these reports, it seems clear that Scriabin adopted a quite different, more personal and involved manner of playing, especially when playing his own music. As is well-known, after finished studies, he performed no other composer’s music throughout his playing career.
Scriabin belongs in the category of great pianist-composers. During his lifetime he was respected for his pianistic abilities. In fact, many of his teachers believed that his primary potential was in performing rather than in composing. He was called Russia’s Chopin. Like Chopin, aside from the five orchestral works and a piano concerto, Scriabin wrote exclusively for the piano. The ten sonatas of Scriabin provide a magnificent harmonic timeline, and provide perhaps the best way to view his compositional evolution since they virtually encompass his entire compositional lifespan. The finest of his works are also small scale pieces: preludes, mazurkas, morceaux, poems, dances, etudes. Actually, most of his compositions are short. His longest work for piano, Sonata no. 8, lasts only seventeen minutes. Many pieces are not much more than one minute, some even less.

Reviews and memoirs of Scriabin’s phenomenal piano playing reveal a distinctive style that captivated audiences throughout his career. In the last years of his life, Scriabin was hailed as one of the greatest geniuses of Russian musical culture. His music filled concert halls and fashionable salons inspiring passionate responses from delighted audiences.

But since the 1920s, the music of Alexander Scriabin has undergone a kind of evolution. For about 15 years, from 1910 to 1925, Scriabin as a composer, pianist, and person stimulated many admirations and, often, mad idolatry. Afterward, somehow, the overpowering appeal of Scriabin’s music faded away. Today it simply does not thrill the listeners the way it formerly did. Scriabin is generally respected, mostly for his harmonic exploits and visionary multimedia experiments, but he is rarely regarded as a genius. Since the middle of the 20th century, his music hasn’t been understood and even occasionally criticized for being dry, mechanical, and uninspired.

To be sure, one important factor of Scriabin’s massive popularity early in the twentieth century was that he was so perfectly attuned to the spirit of the time. That era was a special period in Russian cultural history, which is usually called the Russian artistic renaissance – a period of unique blossoming of poetry, music, visual arts, theater, and new philosophy. That was also the beginning of the Russian symbolist movement based on religious and philosophical ideas that supposedly, could be fully comprehensible only to those who had been initiated into the mysterious kingdom of symbols. Moscow became the center of symbolism in Russia. Scriabin’s circle in that city included musicians, poets, scholars, philosophers, painters, actors, and stage directors. They saw in him not merely their musical parallel. To them Scriabin was a prophet, and even more than that – a creator, a real divinity.

There were also many listeners in Russia and abroad who did not care for Scriabin’s cosmic ideas or knew little about them, and yet were completely taken by the music itself. For example, while visiting Moscow, Gericke, the respected conductor of the Vienna Opera and the Boston Symphony, went to a concert of Scriabin’s music that presented the Third Symphony, the Poem of Ecstasy, and a group of piano pieces, including the Fifth Sonata, played by the composer. After the concert Gericke rushed backstage. In the artist’s room, this dignified man in his 60s fell on his knees, crying out: “It is genius, it is genius…”

Of course, not all of Scriabin’s contemporaries were attracted by his music or his personality. There were those who were confused and even irritated by the composer’s daring innovations. Sergei Taneyev, an eminent Russian composer and Scriabin’s former teacher, was at the same concert in Moscow in 1909 as Gericke. When Scriabin asked Taneyev after the concert how he liked the Poem of Ecstasy, Taneyev answered frankly: “I felt as if I had been beaten with sticks.”
In his memoirs of Scriabin Alexander Goldenweiser used the carefully chosen phrase: “Scriabin was a pianist, one may say, of genius.” And in the words “one may say” is revealed his awareness of the controversy which surrounded Scriabin’s extremely individual playing during his lifetime. The first wife of the composer, Vera Ivanovna Scriabina, an excellent pianist, expressed the opinion that his playing obstructed public understanding of the music: “Everything in which people see defects of the works comes from a performance which is extremely free and unrhythmical, which disturbs understanding and evaluation of the works.” On the other hand, A. V. Ossovsky stated in his reminiscences, writing of Scriabin’s performance at home of his own Prometheus: “This performance increased my perception of this music extremely.”
How can we explain this mysterious metamorphosis? One argument is that Scriabin’s music is a product of characteristic cultural and intellectual values that do not respond well with today’s world. Consequently, Scriabin’s music does not strongly engage the listener anymore. This argument does not appear particularly convincing. Every composer of the past was influenced by and reflected the spirit of the time in a manner quite different from contemporary life. And yet, the music of many other composers whose lifetime fame was comparable to that of Scriabin has not faded away as quickly and drastically.

Music of a distant past may lose its reception for another reason. Because of the lack of precise notation at the time, it is difficult or nearly impossible to restore the true sounds of earlier music. Scriabin’s compositions, on the contrary, were clearly notated and preserved, and they came from a performance tradition not far removed from our time. Yet his audiences obviously did hear something different from what we usually hear today.

Scriabin, an extraordinary pianist, popularized his piano music through his own performances. He played, especially later in life, many concerts throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States. Before presenting his orchestral works to the public, Scriabin frequently collaborated with the conductors by playing the piece for them on the piano and then analyzing it. In one of his letters Scriabin said: “it is terribly difficult for a conductor to sort out all the details of such a complex composition … there is so much polyphony that, without knowing the composer’s intentions, it is hard to decide which part needs to be emphasized at any given moment. At the same time, it is impossible to indicate everything in the score.” And, since it was impossible in principle, Scriabin usually put little effort into trying to notate his music precisely.

It is well known that both Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Anatoly Liadov who had to proofread and correct Scriabin’s orchestral manuscripts presented for publication, sometimes became angry with Scriabin for his careless notation.
As a little boy Scriabin played by ear at the age of five. He also improvised at an early age, but he was impatient with notation, which bored him. This early preference seems to have stayed with Scriabin to some extent, leading later on to the difficulties with establishing a correct text. Scriabin later became far more aware of musical orthography, but he kept the bad habit of correcting works at the piano. Sabaneyev remarked: “Every work exists fully complete to the last detail only in the mental image of its author.” In the case of Scriabin, he further observed: “His notation in relation to his conception is one of the most incomplete”. This incompleteness had its roots, Sabaneyev felt, in the inconstancy of Scriabin’s conception.
Unlike Scriabin’s obvious carelessness in music notation, his attitude toward performance was remarkably different. He devoted a great deal of time and energy to concert activities. When his music was performed either by the composer himself or, in the case of his orchestral works, under his guidance, the responses of listeners were ecstatic. The music critic called him phenomenal. The poet Konstantin Balmont wrote: “Scriabin at the piano. He was tiny and fragile, this loud elf … It was somehow brightly terrifying. And when he began to play, it was as if he emitted light, he was surrounded by an air of magic.”

Evidently, in his own performances, Scriabin was very suggestive, intensive and convincing. He went far beyond what the scores indicated. Many contemporaries realized that Scriabin’s performing style not only fit his compositions perfectly – it also provided the key to an understanding of his works.

In order to make sense of contradictory opinions about Sriabin’s work it is necessary to examine the origins of Scriabin’s pianism and to compare critical responses in the press and the descriptions by friends and colleagues of Scriabin’s pianism and interpretative methods. But such statements are necessarily subjective. So it is particularly important to take into account the strictly objective evidence which Scriabin himself left to us.

Yelena Bekman-Shcherbina, who studied many of Scriabin’s works with the composer himself, recalled: “Scriabin’s performance was characterized by an amazing finesse on nuances. The notation could not transmit all the shadings, temperamental tempo oscillations and the right tone. One had to read much between the lines and the composer himself often changed the text.” Indeed, when some musicians attended Scriabin’s piano recitals with published scores in hand, they noticed that the composer always changed tempos, expressive nuances, rhythms, and even notes. They also discovered that such modifications which sometimes were extremely opposite to the published notation, they always sounded better than the printed text.

Since the composer’s death in 1915, the disparity between his notation and performance has had a catastrophic effect on his legacy. Fortunately, Scriabin recorded 19 of his compositions on the Hupfeld and the Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos in 1908 and 1910. The Welte rolls have been played back and recorded on LPs and CDs since the late 1950s.

If the notation on the score does not represent the whole truth about Scriabin’s intention, the value of these piano roll recordings becomes essential for studying Scriabin’s piano music.

Unfortunately, these recordings have not broken new ground in our understanding of Scriabin. They not only have left the modern listener unimpressed. They have often been dismissed as irregular, uninspired and full of distorting mannerisms. Somehow the music heard in these recent releases has not evoked euphoric responses the way Scriabin’s performances did at the turn of the century, as one might have expected.

The lack of enthusiasm for Scriabin’s recordings shown by modern-day listeners and critics cannot be blamed on the performer. Scriabin recorded his piano rolls at the top of his artistic mastership, in the middle of his most successful concert tours. The problem, rather, lies in the experience of today’s listeners who are spoiled by the high credibility of modern piano recordings. Unlike old phonograph recordings, there is no whistle or scratchy noise. And while many listeners and also music critics perceive Scriabin’s playing they hear nowadays as a complete performance, we should comprehend that the Welte recordings, however, do not represent that. Many components of Scriabin’s playing are quite faithfully reflected in the Welte playback, but at the same time, certain elements of artistic performance simply go beyond the capacity of the reproducing piano.
While this indirect evidence of Scriabin’s pianism produce a mixed critical reception, close analysis of the recordings within the context of the limitations of the particular piano roll technology can shed light on the free style that composer favored for the performance of his own works.
Pavel Lobanov, the engineer who recorded Scriabin from the Welte-Mignon rolls for Melodiya, published transcriptions of Scriabin’s recordings in the form of a music score.
As these transcriptions show the moment of depression and release of each key, much may be concluded from them about the composer’s instrumental technique. In this way many aspects of the contemporary analysis may be verified against the testimony of these transcriptions, and we may come nearer to answering the question: was Scriabin’s playing some sort of willful, nervous deviation, or did his freedoms of rhythm and modifications of his own text illuminate the meaning of his music?
Professor Anatole Leikin wrote several texts about his own studies of these transcriptions. He even published the book “The performing style of Alexander Scriabin”. It is rich in detail and presents explicit analyses of eleven works Scriabin recorded on piano rolls. Descriptions of variances between the scores and Scriabin’s performances are careful in detail. But they also can make reading uninteresting. Pianists would make best use of these chapters as a reference guide for individual pieces. The consistent approach Scriabin takes to such matters as right chords, agogic accents and tempo variation provides a template for how his piano music should be played.
First thing that we should expect about Scriabin’s art of playing is his tone sound. Regrettably, his reproducing piano recordings fail to transmit Scriabin’s amazing finesse in pianissimo. He was weak, tiny man, standing just one inch over five feet, with small hands that could hardly play intervals wider than an octave. Scriabin never had a massive sound, according to contemporary observations. His pianissimo, by contrast, was exceptionally refined. More than one music critic admired Scriabin’s ability to create ethereal sounds that somehow did not vanish in the hall.
Amongst the many descriptions by contemporaries of Scriabin’s playing, two stand out. Alexander Pasternak, brother of Boris, wrote as follows: “… I felt and understood that his fingers produced sound, not by falling on the keys, not striking them… but on the contrary by pulling away from the key and with a light movement flying above the keys…he sat leaning back and with head thrown back.”
This childhood memory of this well-informed musical amateur may be balanced by the professionally technical explanation of Mark Meichik: “As a pianist he was a typical product of the Safonov school, with a lifted wrist, freely positioned, only slightly curved fingers, a light but very quick and exact stroke of the lifted finger… his use of the pedal was entirely unique … extremely precise and original, it resulted with a sort of special, clear sonority of the instrument… Scriabin actually mixed harmonies by the use of the pedal, creating unusual combinations of sounds…”
In general, the Welte-Mignon could reflect the artist’s dynamics. Yet it missed extremely small, barely visible nuances that are crucial for an expressive delivery, especially in the shaping of phrases. The most painful loss of it is the pianist’s touch which is “the most notable characteristic of the refined artist.” Scriabin’s pianistic fame was based largely on his incomparable spectrum of tone colors. Fragile, mysterious, yet amazing intense, they often did not even be similar to a piano sound. Sabaneyev remarked that Scriabin’s “intimate, tender, and hypnotic tone defied descriptions … as if he touched the keys with kisses.” Understandably, the wooden touches of the Welte-Mignon did not exactly kiss the keys.
Scriabin worried more about sound than anything else. When he was eleven years old, he commenced piano lessons with Georgiy Konyus who was not impressed by their first meeting: “The little boy looked weak. He was pale, of small stature, looked younger than his years…he turned out not to know notation very well. He knew the scales and the tonalities, and with the weak sound of his little fingers which barely carried he played to me, what exactly, I don’t remember, but it was correct and satisfactory… he learned pieces quickly, but his performance, it should be remembered, as a result of the limitations of his anatomy, was always ethereal and monotonous.”
The complaint of an insufficiently strong tonal quality was to haunt Scriabin from childhood till later years when press notices this as the less suitable tendency in his playing: “The weakest point of Scriabin as a concert pianist is of course the insufficiency of strength of tone.”
Student of Scriabin, Maria Nemenova-Lunz talks about Scriabin’s teaching: “One often hears how Scriabin lacked strength. It is true that he did not have a “frightening fortissimo.” He did not much like “materialistic” sonority. He always said that the deepest forte must always sound soft. “This chord must sound like a cry of happy victory, not like a knocking down chest of drawers”…
Vasily Safonov, who often worked with his pupil at home, recalled: “One time I happened to fall asleep. I woke up with some sort of charming sound. I didn’t even want to move and destroy the magic spell. It turned out to be his D flat major prelude… Scriabin manifested to a high degree what I always impress upon my students: “The less the piano sounds like itself under the fingers of a performer, the better it is.” Much in his way of playing was my own. But he had a special variety of tone colors, a special perfectly fine use of the pedal. He possessed a rare gift, exclusively his own: with him the instrument breathed.” Safonov sometimes invited Scriabin to play for his class. During one of these sessions, Safonov yelled at his students: “What are you looking at his hands for? Look at his feet!”
On the other hand the pedaling on the Welte-Mignon was even more limited. It was simplified and far away from what Anton Rubinstein called “the soul of the piano.” Scriabin was a famous wizard of the pedal. He used not just half and quarter pedals, but also what he called a “particle” pedal, a “vibrating” pedal, and “pedal mist”. The last two terms probably involved a technique that made the dampers flutter just above the strings without pressing them all the way down. As a result, the strongest vibrations were cut off, while more delicate resonances remained complete. Scriabin’s pedaling “surrounded the notes with layers of unnatural resonances that no other pianist could reproduce later.”

Scriabin’s use of the pedals is also indicated in the Lobanov’s transcriptions. Despite the primitive pedal operation of the player-piano, we can extract two useful pieces of information concerning his pedaling. First, a single pedal usually covers several neighboring notes. Evidently, the vibrating pedal needs to be applied throughout so that „pedal mist“ does not turn into something else. Second, the soft pedal is used quite generously. Overall, in his Poem op.32 he played only 12 out of 48 bars tre corde.

The rolls also show some else differences between the printed and the performed versions of the Poema which are even more surprising. While played, Scriabin added extra notes and left out some notes. He also replaced or interchanged notes.

Another difference between the transcription and the printed edition is the replacement of sustained notes with rests. Scriabin did not like long standing on the keys. He holds down the sound with the pedal, while his hands fly above the keyboard. This was not a mannerism, nor was it just a matter of a special piano technique. Scriabin was obsessed with the idea of flight (he actually took experiments in levitation). According to Nemenova-Lunz, „flight“ was one of the terms Scriabin used most frequently in his piano teaching.

There are also differences in articulation Scriabin played in rolls and in written text. Many scholars wonder if he wanted for example staccato notes to be played legato, why he wrote staccato notes in the first place. Again the answer perhaps lies in the pedaling. A series of notes played by finger legato or played separated with a pedal creates a different sound. Perhaps Scriabin wanted a particular sound that is created with the quick release of the notes connected by a widespread pedal.

Professor Leikin also indicates a fascinating picture of Scriabin’s rubato shifts. For example the composer’s published metronome indication is dotted quarter as 50. This performing tempo, however, ranges from 19 to 110. Despite the sharp tempo fluctuations, the medium tempo equals 51, which is practically identical to the printed metronome marking. Tempo shifts happen with unpredictable quickness. In a single bar the tempo can pick up from 35 to 85 or drop from 100 to 30. Scriabin simply does not sustain a stable pulse for more than two beats. The tempo is in a permanent flux. At the same time, there is not one accelerando or ritardando in the printed score.

As a result, therefore, even though Scriabin’s phrases may look symmetrical on paper, their actual duration in performance was sharply different. He stretched and compressed his seemingly „square“ phrases to such an extent that some unfriendly reviewers in his time characterized his playing as arrhythmic. Scriabin did occasionally write irregular meters and phrase structures. But examples of this include a relatively small part of his opus. He didn’t expand or shorten musical phrases by means of precise notation in his search for greater rhythmic flexibility. Scriabin achieved motivic asymmetry and rhythmic elasticity through his rubato.
The acceleration or retardation of pulse was not the only mode by which Scriabin used rubato. Occasionally he changed actual rhythmic values during a performance. He also oscillated notes that were seemingly supposed to sound at the same time. These two manifestations of rhythmic freedom further intensified the spontaneous as improvisational quality of Scriabin’s playing. The contracting of the written rhythm seems a demonstration of another Scriabin’s principle: “After all, you can modify the rhythm as strongly as you like, but you must always make the listener feel that is the rhythm from which it came.”
The cumulative effect of these details of Scriabin’s performance show the truth of Sabaneyev’s words: “Scriabin’s vision is unified and unquestionable, but his notation is incomplete.”
Professor Leikin reveals another fascinating discovery. There was also strong reason for Scriabin to separate textural parts in performance. The dynamic differentiation between various layers of musical texture was particularly problematic to record on rolls. The thicker the texture, the more dynamically distorted the recording became in comparison with the original performance. But those who heard the composer play noticed that even in the most complex musical material he separated the layers of texture so that all of the voices were clearly articulate. Certainly, various shades of dynamics and tone coloring helped create this effect. But even on the Welte-Mignon rolls, with their limited capabilities to recreate the pianist’s touch and finest nuances, the clarity of every textural layer is remarkable. Scriabin accomplished that lucidity primarily by separating the different parts of the musical texture. It is known that dissimilar rhythm patterns help recognize each polyphonic voice. Scriabin took this idea one step further. He slightly displaced the parts in time so that each voice stood out more markedly than when they are played at the same time – a simple effective invention.

It also should be mentioned that Scriabin’s polyphony spreads the thematic material among the parts in such a way that it is often difficult to define the location of the main and the secondary levels. In his works, every textural component becomes thematic to such an extent that the boundaries between the melody and the accompaniment practically discontinue. Scriabin recognized his own fusion of melody with harmony, which he called melodiye-garmoniya (loosely translated as „meloharmony“). The composer himself went so far and declared that there was no difference between melody and harmony in his music: „melody is unrolled harmony, and harmony is rolled melody“. Scriabin’s special form of polyphony depended heavily on his own performance. Otherwise, it would simply have gone unnoticed.

It is no wonder that Scriabin’s old recordings came to us not as a discovery, but rather as a “shock for today’s listener”. The modern critics of Scriabin’s performance apparently do not fully realize that the music they hear is played not quite by Scriabin himself, but by a mechanical instrument. When the plenty of expressive nuances and amazing refined pedaling are reduced to more basic crescendos, diminuendos, and foot-down/foot-up pedal action, and when all the effects of pianistic touch and the entire fullness of tone colors are cut down, the listener must use a good deal of imagination to recover music of these limitations.

The main difficulty for those who want to listen and study these recordings is that they must be heard selectively. One has to listen carefully to the timing aspects of performance that faithfully reflect the artist’s original performance: the rhythm, the tempo fluctuations, the lineup of notes against each other and the length of each individual note. All the time such elements as dynamic nuances, pedaling, phrase shadings, chord voicing and tone colors are far less detailed. As a result, the listener has to take in various elements of the performance using different levels of perception. This can be very hard and irritating for many musicians.

Anyway, Scriabin’s performances on piano-roll recordings provide us with precious insights into vital aspects of his music that are not manifest simply through editions of his music. Some attributes of his performing style still remain somewhat elusive. But two major ingredients of his pianism which reflect a different kind of rubato were captured in small details in his recording. They are the continuous shifting of tempi and the separations of individual textural lines. Armed with the knowledge extracted through a comparison of the printed and performed versions, a pianist today can create a truly Scriabinesque interpretation. At the same time, since the guiding principle of Scriabin’s performance is freedom rather than restriction, the personal style of the nowadays performer need not to be obstructed.

Studying Scriabin’s playing from the piano roll recordings is by no means suggesting that there is only one possible interpretation. Its purpose is to further enhance our understanding of the tendencies of his phrasing, freedom of timing and perhaps the connection between the written music and his musical intentions. The recording represents what was done in one particular occasion, and composer’s views may or may not be fixed in all situations. However, it gives us valuable evidence beyond the notation on the score. Performance interpretation issues therefore arise from question how to interpret notation and how to assume what was meant by the composer.
Here we come to old discuss about the two aesthetic views of letting the music speak for itself against creating an individual interpretation. This debate dates back to the early nineteenth century, when the roles of composer and pianist separated. Instead of having composers play their own works, virtuoso pianists started to take over the stage. Pianists would perform mostly other people’s works rather than their own. It was unusual even for composer-pianists to play only their own works. In this regard, Scriabin was atypical of his generation because he played his own music exclusively since he left the Conservatory.
The interpretive challenge of playing works that the composer himself frequently performed is the fine line between authenticity and individuality. Even though studying the composer’s own recordings leads to a greater understanding of his distinctive approach to the performance, his style may not be applicable to the present time. The current performance practice and style shape the obsession with the perfection in tempo, rhythm, dynamics, phrasing and proportion. The element of restraint and control becomes the norm of the interpretations and the flexibility of tempo becomes more reserved. The difference between the faster and the slower sections are much slimmer. Anything that disturbs the invariability and the flow of the piece is not recommended. The rhythm, dynamics and phrasing in general become somehow more predictable. The overall performance practice prefers uniformity in the interpretation rather than extreme contrast. Also, the aspect of improvisation was completely taken away from the classical performances. The score itself seems to speak the whole truth in the contemporary performance practice, even though the composer himself in the early twentieth century would rarely follow it exactly. We can just imagine the impact that the early recordings must have made in their time and the value they possess in the present century. They provide the key to a more comprehensive understanding of composer’s works. If the notation on the score does not represent the whole truth about his intention, the value of these recordings becomes even more crucial to study Scriabin’s piano music.

Each performance carries a different interpretation. The pianist interprets the notations on the score into sounds and the audience then decides if that particular performance is convincing or not. The question arises how to balance the freedom of interpretation with a composer’s written score. Leonard Meyer describes: “the performance of a piece of music is…the actualization of an analytic act even though such analysis may have been intuitive and unsystematic. What a performer does is to make the relationships and patterns potential in the composer’s score clear to the mind and ear of the experienced listener.” This observation is incomplete because the interpretation is more than just an “analytic act.” Pianists make interpretative choices based on their knowledge of the composer’s work, particular performance style in the composer’s time and their own pianistic and personal emotional background. Most listeners do not go to concerts to hear any specific analytical demonstrations. They rather go for that magic which is necessary for a successful performance. This magic is perhaps the alliance between the analytical and the spontaneous, order and freedom. The pianist must create a thought out concept of interpretation after a comprehensive study of the piece (which, unfortunately too often tends to be restrictive). The composer – pianist has the concept already in him (it is there since the moment of creation). The interpretation changes from pianist to pianist, but once when it has got the established life, pianists tend to be less flexible. Composers, on the other hand, rarely have strictly fixed ideas of how their music should be performed. For the same reason, Scriabin rarely played exactly as he wrote in the score. His interpretation changed from performance to performance, but the essence of his artistic interpretation remained distinctive.

But, what exactly is the essence of Scriabin’s interpretation? I think we can say it is Scriabin himself and his performance. The unusual quality of his playing is described by Sabaneyev as “a secret liturgical act” that affect the listeners as they felt “electric power touching their mind”. Some of the descriptions by his biographer might be an exaggeration or an act of mystifying the composer. Still many of Scriabin’s contemporaries refused to hear any other pianist than Scriabin himself perform his music. They believed that no other pianist could deliver the same effect.
Even Scriabin never liked anyone’s interpretation of his piano music. Only in “certain pieces” some of his friends were able to please him with their interpretations. Pianists who have performed Scriabin to particular critical approval include Vladimir Sofronitsky, Vladimir Horowitz and Sviatoslav Richter. Sofronitsky never met the composer, as his parents forbade him to attend a concert because of illness. The pianist said he never forgave them. But he did marry Scriabin’s daughter Elena. According to Horowitz, when he played for the composer as an eleven year old child, Scriabin responded enthusiastically and encouraged him to pursue a full musical and artistic education. When Sergei Rachmaninoff performed Scriabin’s music his playing style was criticized by the composer as being earthbound. According to an anecdote he argued with Rachmaninov because he played the piece of Scriabin in a slow manner, emphasizing more the romantic part. Scriabin said that some of his pieces should be played in a powerful manner. „It’s my music“ said Scriabin and Rachmaninov just answered: „It’s my interpretation“. I wonder how would Scriabin discuss any other pianist who possessed the interpretative creativity and great technique needed to play his music effectively. Among them are Dmitri Alexeev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Boris Berman, Marc-André Hamelin, Mikhail Voskresensky, Igor Zhukov, Nikolai Demidenko, Andrei Gavrilov, Emil Gilels, Glenn Gould, Evgeny Kissin, Stanislav Neuhaus, Mikhail Pletnev, Grigory Sokolov, Arcadi Volodos, to name a few.
His attitude toward his music and its interpretation also changed as he developed his philosophy. He said to Sabaneyev: “I can’t understand how to write just music. How boring! Music takes on idea and significance only when it is linked to a single plan with a whole view of the world. People who just write music are like performers who just play an instrument. They become valuable only when they connect with a general idea. The purpose of music is revelation. What a powerful knowledge it is!” For Scriabin an important and perhaps central reason why he played in public was because he realized that in order to persuade to the people his ideas as mystic he first needs to subdue them with music.
The creative process of Scriabin’s compositions also reflects his approach to performance. Scriabin associated lights and colors with sound and reflected religious symbolism in his music. The rays of lights translate into sounds already added visual dimension to his compositions. Scriabin’s ultimate aesthetic ideal was to go beyond imagination through music. He said: “Through music and color, with the help of perfume, the human mind or soul can be lifted outside or above simply physical sensations into the region of purely abstract ecstasy and purely intellectual speculation.”

In the end it would be impossible to know exactly how to realize these abstract ideas in actual performance. However the essence of Scriabin’s music lies in freedom and informal character. Therefore it is only sure that certain way not to suggest these ideas is through the type of rigid performances which is currently considered as mainstream.

 

 

MARIJA DINOV

Hello everyone!
Welcome to this small lecture about keyboard work of Emanuel Bach.

For those who don’t know me, I will introduce myself:
My name is Marija Dinov Vasić, I’m a pianist and I come from Serbia.
The last 10 years I have worked as an assistant professor at Faculty of Arts in Niš, though it is fair to say that half of the time I’ve been spending mostly at home, raising children.

So, I want to apology for my current playing and teaching abilities. But to be truly honest, I must say that I really don’t care much for my present condition, because I love to play and teach piano so much, and I’m also very interested in history and theory of pianism, so I like to discuss about it much more than the size of my embarrassment is.

I also love very much my good friend Zoran, who is one of my oldest and dearest friends, so it was not possible for me to refuse his invitation to come here, to Ohrid, and to miss this event. I’m very glad that I did come, because I have the time of my life here with you great people.

Well, accidentally or not, it happened that our first small but selected gathering is realized exactly in this year which marks the 300th anniversary of Emanuel Bach’s birth.

So, my intention today is almost symbolic.

With this short story about the first pianist, I want to remind us on the very beginnings of pianism. It’s the art we all celebrate through our every day’s dedicated work. Most the time we are unaware that on our path we are largely guided by the great example of E. Bach. He truly was an artist whose work represents in several perspectives a reflection of the modern artistic values.

So, I titled today’s lecture as:
“Piano work of C.P.E. Bach as a reflection of modern pianism”

Famous Mozart said: “He is the father, we are the boys. Those of us who do anything right learned it from him.” With these sincere words Mozart, the first confirmed pianist, actually pays tribute to Emanuel’s fatherly figure for pianism.

Today, Emanuel Bach is remembered primarily as a respectable and influential German composer and musician, and as a son of great Johann Sebastian Bach.

From my perspective as the pianist who, until recently, was educated in the official music institutions of our time, I must mention an observation about implicit underestimate of the Emanuel’s work and its significance for development of pianism. Personally, I find touching the injustice which the history and theory of pianism ignore the value of legacy of this great artist, who actually was modest, sensitive, but also hardworking, very valuable and highly intelligent man.

But, in Emanuel’s life time, especially through the later half of the 18th century, his reputation stood very high. Haydn studied his work and he said that whoever knows him well will see that he owes Emanuel Bach a great deal. Beethoven also expressed admiration and regard for his genius by saying that Emanuel’s keyboard music “serve not only for highest enjoyment but also for study”.

The irony was that during the 19th century Emanuel’s art was often underestimated. His music was, unfairly, compared with the work of his famous father. Schumann, who usually was a well perceptive judge, absurdly opined that “as a creative musician Emanuel remained very far behind his father”. Mendelssohn as well had very questionable comparison by saying that “he was as a dwarf among the giants”. Von Bülow also demonstrated a complete lack of understanding and sympathy with Emanuel’s keyboard music. Hans described it as “very dry” work that put him “in a bad mood”. But despite it, he created an edition of Emanuel’s sonatas, though he acted very irresponsible by changing the original text sometimes beyond recognition. On the other hand, Brahms respected very much Emanuel’s work and edited some of his music too.
Well, it was not easy to be a son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach, or especially to undertake a career in music under the shadow of such a father. The fact is that Sebastian and his sons, especially the most remarkable, Emanuel, composed very different types of music. Can one confront Sebastian’s works against Emanuel’s and come away with anything meaningful? That would be as foolish as comparing Bach to Handel, or Mozart to Beethoven.

It is very well known that elder Bach was the crown at the end of a whole period of music composing. The greatest composers (the famous „3 B’s“: Bach – Beethoven – Brahms) emerged at the end of one musical „cycle“ and they are not actually innovators. Emanuel, on the contrary, was an innovator. He did not follow on his father’s tracks, but instead, he has been the forerunner of the „new style“.
I think it is fair to say that if the value of Sebastian is unquestionable, so is that of his son Emanuel too. Rather than diminishing Emanuel’s work, the fact that he had a father like Sebastian should actually increase our appreciation of Emanuel’s achievement. The magnificent figure of Sebastian encouraged his son’s musical careers, for sure. On the other hand, a search for own artistic personalities was more difficult to them. Emanuel didn’t want to compete with father’s style, or to wander between various styles failing to find his own, unique one. Emanuel, in fact, rose from his father’s shadow and made his own path that would ensure his own immortality. At the same time he showed great respect for his father who had major influence in son’s course.
Emanuel was the only one among Bach’s sons who actively worked to increase father’s fame and make his works more generally known. Besides treasuring manuscripts, he was as well responsible for publishing some of his father’s works. He also directed a performance of Sebastian’s music at a time when it was completely unknown. So, we owe Emanuel a double debt today, besides creating his own masterpieces, he safeguarded many of Sebastian’s too.
To say that Sebastian was the only great Bach and that his sons were unworthy successors to his legacy, as many in the past did, betrays a lack of critical judgment. Indeed, we are still suffering from the effects of this shortsightedness. Much of Emanuel’s music is still not widely available, or is available in old or unreliable editions. The problem complicates the fact that composer rarely considered a work finished, so he revised quite frequently. This fact has obvious effects for responsible editors of his music.
An authoritative text of Emanuel’s works didn’t exist until the end of the 20th century when 4 volumes had been published. At the same time elder Bach or Mozart, has been honored by two complete works editions! Alfred Wotquenne (1906) and Eugene Helm (1989) made the catalogues of Emanuel’s works. Thanks to their efforts these works are known today by „Wq“ or “H” numbers. A new complete edition is finally realized in current year, after 300 years of composer’s birth.
Nowadays we also have efforts for the sound revival of Emanuel’s works. It’s been underway since 1960s. There is an ongoing project to record his complete works, led by Miklos Spanyi (Mikloš Španji) on the Swedish company BIS. It’s a small but valuable mode to repay this great man who was parental authority for each educated pianist in 250 years, started with Mozart.

Emanuel Bach truly was the initiator of modern pianism, not only by the Mozart’s opinion. The work of our great spiritual father and teacher reflects an image of the 18th century as an interesting time in music history. Musicologists divide Emanuel’s life and work into 3 periods (1st early phase, than 2nd major period which he spent in Berlin and the last 3rd period in Hamburg). It’s almost like the reflection of various styles of the 18th century music: the late baroque, rococo or gallant style and classical.
Emanuel was born in Weimar, most probably on the 8th of March and died in Hamburg on December 14th of 1788. It may be noted that he shared the same zodiac sign with Chopin, so this could be reason for their similar “romantic” sensibility.
Any way, together with serious law and general studies, Emanuel had his father as the only music teacher. Sebastian’s influence was more obvious in Emanuel’s achievements as a clavier performer than in his style of composing. Highly gifted, Emanuel became a famous virtuoso at the keyboards.
He settled down in Berlin at 1738. Soon he started to work for Frederick the Great, one of the most notable educated kings of all time. Frederick himself was a decent flautist, and was assembling a musical suite consisting of several of the great composers and performers of the day. Emanuel was the accompanist of king’s flute and his musical adviser.
Emanuel placed himself in the forefront of European music during his service in Berlin. After the 30 years he served Frederick, at the point it seemed that he had everything Emanuel decided to leave Berlin. Like Schonberg maliciously noted: “he probably sick into death of accompanying the royal flute”. The truth is he had enough reason to become dissatisfied with his royal employer. His compositions were ignored, he was unpopular for the independence of his mind and he was underpaid too. Like an image of almost every artist today.
He resigned in 1768 and than replaced his godfather Telemann as Music Director at Hamburg. There he mostly provided music for 5 churches, but also gave concerts and published many of his compositions. He as well directed the „premieres“ of many composers of the time.
Emanuel became so well known throughout Europe as refined and creative musician. He was often named „the Bach of Berlin“ or „the Bach of Hamburg“. He was known as one of the leading clavier players in Europe.
In Berlin, Emanuel made his personal stylistic evolution. It corresponds with the gradual domination of homophonic gallant style over the baroque polyphony. That was the time of transition in music, from the Baroque style to the Classical that followed. Music was moved from the church into the salon, from fugue into sonata. In European cultural centers, the members of high social classes created a new musical audience. The new audience considered itself sophisticated, though it was often very superficial and shallow. They requested music to be cheerful, charming, graceful, elegant and tender, opposite of “baroque’s misery of complicated passions”, as someone scholarly said. That audience didn’t want to think, it wanted to be charmed.

The changes in music had a philosophical background. Unlike the 17th century concept, where art should “reach to the world of affects through the mind”, in the 18th century meaning of art became quite different. As it became more sensitive, spontaneous and expressive, art should show strength and dramatic truth of man’s touch with reality. The mode of expressing was of great importance, so the style became a significant element of art. The music (along with the melodrama) was defined no more as the rational, but as emotional art. So the concept of sensitivity appeared. It seemed that certain idea was born in those circumstances and it just waited for the right artist to express it.

Well, Emanuel was becoming the musician whose work followed those changes in concept of art. A highly educated and intellectual person, he was aware of the new ideas of the time.
Although Sebastian remained a lifelong influence, Emanuel necessarily moved away from father’s polyphony. Certainly nothing is quite like Sebastian’s music, but Emanuel’s doesn’t pretend to be like it. His intention was to achieve a very different effect. He was attracted to Italian bel canto and instrumental music of Italian and French masters. He also searched for inspiration in the work of Telemann, and other contemporaries, particularly Handel and Haydn. As Berlin was a rich artistic environment, he was in touch with the works of playwrights, poets and philosophers too. His interest in all the arts and philosophy let him made a dynamic personal style by applying the principles of rhetoric and drama to musical structure.
At the beginning of forming his mature style, Emanuel continued to write numerous pieces for solo keyboard, including a series of character pieces, the so-called „Berlin Portraits“, including La Caroline, charmed little peace well known to pupils.

But his reputation was established by the 2 published sets of sonatas which he dedicated respectively to Frederick the Great (so called Prussian Sonatas, 1742) and to Charles Eugene, Duke of Württemberg (known as Württemberg Sonatas, 1744). These sonatas are expressive, chromatic and dramatic, fitting the new style of composition that Emanuel was going to create.

Some of the movements have the wide range of moods through which composer can navigate in a mere few bars. The good example is the opening of the 1st movement of his 6th “ Württemberg “ sonata in B minor, Wq. 49/6 (H. 36).

Starting with an improvisatory Moderato, sonata presents a collection of incredibly innovative effects. The Adagio non molto than proceeds with a singing like texture and leads to a very brilliant Finale.
We are going to listen the closing of the 1st and half of the 2nd movement, because we have limited time for this lecture. It is the recent performance on the modern piano instrument by Mehmet Okonsar, Turkish pianist, composer, conductor and musicologist.
Example 1
Well, as we can see, with these sonatas Emanuel was on the trail of a new musical direction.

During his residence in Berlin, Bach composed in other genres, but his main work was concentrated on the clavier. He composed, at this time, nearly 200 sonatas and other solos, including the set With Changed Reprises, Pieces for exercise, Easy and Lady’s sonatas. The clavier was in the center of his activities. It was evident by the fact he used to call the trios as piano sonatas accompanied by violins and cellos.

Emanuel’s keyboard sonatas mark an important epoch in the history of musical form. They clearly established the basis of the classical sonata form with its 2 themes in the 1st movement. Lucid in style, delicate and tender in expression, they are even more notable for the freedom and variety of their structural design. They break away from the Italian and the Viennese schools, moving instead toward the cyclical and improvisatory forms that would become common several generations later. I believe that without Emanuel’s wild experiments, Mozart and Beethoven wouldn’t be what they were.
Often written in 3 movements, these sonatas don’t have classical balance neither the movements have particular function in the cycle. Sometimes all movements are in sonata form, and there were slow finals, too. The 1st movement is dividing in 2 parts. It has 2 themes with tonal and character contrast, sometimes without real development. The slow movements with interesting harmonies have very direct and deep expression. They are composed under the influence of dramatic recitatives and pathetic character of Italian cantilena and they announced Beethoven’s Adagios, while Finals have some characteristics of the Italian concerts.
As music speaks more then words, I would like to present you Andante con tenerezza, the 2nd movement from the Sonata in A major Wq 65/32 or H 135, dating from 1760 approximately. The mark of tempo and character already sounds as it is Beethoven’s one. And if you listen closely the ornaments, it reminds even to Chopin. This touching performance is by Mikhail Pletnev.
Example 2

What can we say after this music? To my ears, there is something different about it, something that is very attractive, even provocative. While I was doing this research, I heard so much of Emanuel’s music available on internet, and I must say it was quite difficult to chouse examples being present in lecture.

Emanuel’s approach to the art of music was highly subjective, very personal, intimate and expressive but also often dramatic, stormy and temperamental one. Today it is known as „empfindsamer Stil“. This German term can be approximately understood as „sensitive style“.
Emanuel’s most original works are the opposite of predictable. He delights in stunning the listener with an unexpected modulations, dynamic shifts or new rhythmic patterns. He uses disintegration of opening motives, opening motives in wrong key and avoidance of expectations that had been created. Also explores intense contrasts, fermatas and dramatic silences, changes of tempo, complex melodic details and recitative writing. He was probably the first composer who made free use of harmonic colors. Beethoven may have learnt some tricks from him. This music has magnetic attraction upon performers, listeners and music critics too.
Emanuel composed more works for solo keyboard than for any other medium. Except sonatas, he also composed many shorter works, including character pieces, individual dance movements, solfeggios, and other single movement works of various lengths. In addition, he wrote 4 duets for two keyboards and made arrangements for solo keyboard of several of his symphonies and concertos. His music for solo keyboard reflects the full range of genres cultivated in Germany between the 1730s and 1780s. There are also 6 fugues and at least 2 suites, genres that were already somewhat old fashioned in his time, but he also wrote rondos and fantasias, works that contributed to his reputation as a progressive and imaginative composer.
Keyboard music remained of essential importance throughout entire life of Emanuel. In his last working period he also wrote a very important and influential 6 sets of keyboard pieces titled For connoisseurs and amateurs Wq 56–59, 61.

Work dates from the later part of Emanuel’s career, when he refined his style down to pure elements. Haydn admired this work, and the connection between two composers is evident in these short sonatas of 2 or 3 movements. Work represents a significant contribution to the repertoire of keyboards at a time when piano generally began to dominate the harpsichord on the music scene. In these sonatas Emanuel used the sound potential of the new instrument, and began the transition of keyboards technique from harpsichord to piano. The “fortepiano” is actually listed as an option on the title pages of all but the 1st of collections of the work.

But the titles of most of Emanuel’s keyboard works refer simply to “clavier” or “cembalo,” words commonly understood in the 18th century as generic designations for any type of stringed keyboard instrument. Emanuel’s view was always a practical one, allowing for the possibility of performance on varies instruments. In his life time there were 3 principal categories of keyboards: clavichord, harpsichord, and fortepiano.
Emanuel was a great proponent of the clavichord, and most of his German contemporaries regarded it as a central keyboard instrument, for performing, teaching, composing and practicing. Emanuel thought clavichord as an instrument on which one can most correctly judge of keyboard player. He even composed the melancholy “Farewell rondo” Wq 66 (1781), in tribute to his Silbermann clavichord lamenting its sale to a new owner. The clavichord is suggested in many of his works for solo keyboard, for example, by markings for Bebung (which denoting a type of vibrato) or also with plentiful dynamic markings.
Emanuel’s music traveled the corridors of the human mind and made very direct connection to the audience. His ideas were extremely modern. They represent the vanguard in a cultural environment of 18th century and Emanuel was marked as „the first romantic“.

I will try to demonstrate how much his music was progressive of the time with the next example. We are going to hear the part of his Fantasy in c minor, this time on clavichord.

Example 3a

Now I suggest you to pay attention of next segment.

Example 3b

Believe or not this was the Mexican guitar music from the movie “Revenge” made in 1990. I found the obvious similarity in the specific performing elements of sensitive style in both of this music. Now can you imagine for instance Carlos Santana on the Frederick’s court in 18th century?

I think it is not coincidence that Emanuel liked exactly the clavichord. We have to admit that in many ways this instrument reminds exactly the modern guitar. The action of the clavichord is unique among all keyboard instruments. It has been very intimate instrument because of the close contact between the player’s hand and the production of sound. Despite its many limitations, including extremely low volume, it has expressive power. The player is able to control attack, duration, volume, and even provide certain subtle effects of shaping of tone and a type of vibrato unique for the clavichord.
Emanuel was highly respected as a performer on the clavichord. He enjoyed a strong reputation as a very capable and distinctly expressive performer. He claimed that every keyboard player needs the harpsichord to develop proper finger strength but the clavichord is for the study of good performance.

Emanuel’s treatment of keyboard instruments represents the initiation of the modern thinking in pianism. He considered that physical sensitivity and the ability to execute extremely fine touch difference are necessary for development of keyboard technique. Today we also can say that the pianist, who doesn’t have the abilities for fine delicate touch, is like the harpsichordist who doesn’t care for his clavichord. He is all power but no art.
A similar sound aesthetics later shared Chopin, whose playing was rich in colors but so quiet that in large halls it often couldn’t be heard. Debussy also didn’t like loud tone, without nuances. According to an anecdote, he has never opened the cover of the piano while he played. Each of these artists with its own work had revolutionary influence on pianism, precisely by insisting on sensitivity in playing technique.
In the 18th century, there were not too many professional pianists around. Emanuel, along with his brother Johann Christian was among the first who played the new instrument, piano in public. In Hamburg Emanuel had made an impression as a pianist. In a music magazine his playing was described with following words: “Mr. Bach’s playing compelled the admiration of all, especially when he allowed us to observe his ability upon the magnificent sounding pianoforte.” Unlike most of the players of the time, Emanuel had a good working knowledge of the piano. He had become thoroughly familiar with instrument while he was in the service of Frederick the Great, who collected everything, and had 15 of Silbermann pianos in 1747.
Although Emanuel liked the sound potential of the new instrument, he couldn’t accept it without limitation, because the piano was still uncompleted instrument at the time. There is his statement that the pianoforte, when it is well built, has many fine qualities, although its touch must be carefully worked out, a task which is not without difficulties. Yet, he holds that a good clavichord, except for its weaker tone, shares equal attraction as the pianoforte.

Based on his large experience in playing the keyboard he systematized virtually all knowledge about playing available at the time in a treatise, Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments).

Immediately recognized as a definitive work on keyboard technique, it laid the foundation for the keyboard methods of Clementi and Cramer. Clementi said that everything he knows of fingering and the new style, everything he understands of the pianoforte, he learned from this book. Its principles were built into almost all textbooks on instrumental music before 1830. The work still ranks among the most important fundamental works of piano pedagogy.
In this capital work Emanuel deals with fingerings, ornaments, performance practice, intervals, figured bass, accompaniment and improvisation. The essay set up the fingering for each chord and some chord sequences. Its fingerings for scales are modern, with the thumb frequently turned under and only a few remaining of 3-4-3-4 sequences. But yet it wouldn’t permit the thumb or little finger on the black keys except it is necessary. These innovative principles of fingering can be traced back to the lessons Emanuel received from his father. It produced the most important effect on the culture of keyboard playing in the second half of the 18th century. These methods were taken over and further propagated by other teachers and composers. Emanuel also recommended arched fingers and relaxed muscles and was quite specific about pose of hands and arms. Since then it has been standard piano technique and it continue to be employed today.
The significance of the Versuch isn’t limited to the pedagogical issues of mere keyboard technique. It advises pianists to listen closely good singers. Its famous words every pianist should press in own artistic personality. They say: “You have to make music from the soul, not like a trained bird.”
Its real goal is the development and promotion of “good taste”. In the 18th century the good taste represents the ability of the musician to intrude his own personality, his technique, his style, his musicianship on what he was playing. But if he oversteps the limits, and maid work uninventive, his taste was suspected.
Today we have the same problem. But 200 years ago, the performer had much more choices (how to play the figured bass, ornaments which have a huge role in baroque and rococo music, how to improvise on fermatas and cadenzas, how to vary the repetitions and reprises). The egocentric little virtuoso could easy go wild faced with such reach opportunities. Emanuel, like all other authorities, called on self control.
He was one of the first who described the tempo rubato. As his remarks about rubato were taken up by Mozart, and as rubato played such an important part in performance practice of the 19th century, Emanuel’s statement pretends to be historic one. It is summarized in Mozart’s words, which say: “…one hand seems to play against the bar and the other strictly with it”. Mozart, naturally, had read Emanuel’s words religiously, as every other musician then had, and as most musicians today have not. It should be required reading in every music school. From the Verzuch, musician can get the best idea of performance practice in 18th century.
Many of Emanuel’s works as well display didactic tendencies, including Peaces for exersise Wq 63, the Fantasy in D Major, Wq 117/14, 6 new piano peaces, Wq 63/7–12, the Sonatas with Varied Reprises, Wq 50–52 and others. With a short piece entitled Keyboard piece for right or left hand alone H.241, Emanuel also established himself as a pioneer in the musical literature for the left hand. In this way Emanuel continued the efforts of his father, presented in didactic nature of the Inventions and The well tempered clavier.

For Emanuel it was always of great importance to passing along of his own knowledge. Indeed, he had a large number of keyboard and composition students all his life. He knew the art of developing masters better than anyone. His great intellect has formed its own school, so called: “The Bach’s school”. Whoever came out of this school was received well in all over the Europe. The term referred not only to Bach’s direct students, but also to the players and composers who had oriented themselves to Bach’s ideals through his famous Versuch.
Emanuel’s influence was massive, profound and reached very far. With his ingeniously creative and innovative works he developed the new style to a point where Haydn and Mozart will naturally grow upon.
This influence on the next generation, especially on Mozart and even more on Beethoven is evident for instance in Sonata in c-minor Wq 65/31, we are going to listen for the end. The concept behind the 2nd movement here reminds me all too much of the slow movement of Beethoven’s 4th piano concert, and the 3rd movement has something similar with Finale of the 2nd concert. Again we listen the performance of Mr Pletnev.
Example 4
Every time after I’ve heard Emanuel’s music, I still want to listen more of it. And there is still much to explore. For example his fantastic keyboard concerts. But, that will stay for another time.
With this story, I wanted to inspire you to research this great music for both pleasure and study, as Beethoven used to do. I hope that our generation will recognize the greatness of Emanuel’s unique personality. As harpsichordist Ludger Rémy properly said, “Emanuel Bach doesn’t stand between the times, no, he is his own time.”
Emanuel really was brilliant and highly intelligent mind. He said once that “every artist has his true and unchangeable value which can be reflected only in his work and not at least in his fame”. We should remember these wised words!

Well, thank you for shearing your time with me. I hope we will meet again, if not before, than next year, at same place, probably with some other story. Thank you!

 

PIANO SUMMER VRANJE – 2015

 

Lecture

on the occasion of the anniversary

 

 

Alexander Scriabin – a world of interaction between composer, pianist and philosopher

 

 

Abstract

Even one century after his sudden death in the middle of his rising as extraordinary and original composer, Alexander Scriabin remains one of the most controversial figures in music history. With his music as a product of a unique and complex mind, he still inspires passionate debates and polarizes opinion. Hardly anyone remains indifferent – one either likes his music or does not.

Scriabin belongs in the category of great pianist-composers. He is predominantly remembered today for his eccentric ideologies and his compositions that pushed the boundaries of tonality. But during his lifetime he was revered for his pianistic abilities. In fact, many of his teachers believed that his primary potential was in performing rather than in composing. He was called Russia’s Chopin. Reviews and memoirs of Scriabin’s phenomenal piano playing reveal a distinctive style that captivated audiences throughout his career.

The knowledge of Scriabin’s performance practices and it’s interaction with his philosophy is essential to a deeper understanding of composer’s artistic intentions and ideologies. After examining his musical heritage and investigating the performance practices surrounding his compositions through reviews, memoirs and analyses of his piano rolls, this information will establish that, although Scriabin was a product of his Russian cultural heritage, he also developed a highly individualistic piano style. Today with the knowledge extracted through a comparison of the printed and performed versions of his compositions we can imagine a truly Scriabinesque interpretation, that creative world of interaction between composer, pianist and philosopher.

 

 

Lecturer

Marija Dinov Vasic

 

 

Script

 

 

Alexander Scriabin was an odd person who did not fit any convention. His music does not quite match in any tradition. It is a rather unique case in music history. Except for a few obvious influences in his early works, Scriabin found his own idiom, his own harmonic language, his own style and principles of musical construction, and created a system like no other. This system was closed and complete within itself and did not allow further development. His music influenced many but it produced no real followers, only epigones, because his system can’t be developed, only copied.

 

The key for deeper understanding of composer’s artistic intensions and ideologies is the knowledge of his performance practices and it’s interaction with his composing and philosophy.

 

Scriabin started out as a prodigy pianist, studying as a boy with the renowned Moscow pedagogue Nikolai Zverev. It was the advice of Sergei Taneyev, with whom Scriabin was studying musical theory.

Scriabin entered the Conservatory in Moscow and joined the class of Vassily Safonov former student of Leschetizky, who had selected him as a student while he was still studying with Zverev. There was a musical affinity between professor and student. For Scriabin the school of Safonov was perhaps the only practicable one.

During his time in Conservatory Scriabin had catastrophic hand injury which led to the writing of tragic First sonata and Nocturne and prelude for left hand op.9 and to a huge upheaval in his personal philosophy and outlook on the world. Scriabin made a recovery against the prognosis of doctors and he eventually returned to the concert stage, but the hand was never quite the same again.

Critical opinions of Scriabin’s playing of other composers’ works during his time as a student were mixed. Comparing these reports, it seems clear that Scriabin adopted a quite different, more personal and involved manner of playing, especially when playing his own music. As is well-known, after finished studies he performed no other composer’s music throughout his playing career.

Scriabin belongs in the category of great pianist-composers. During his lifetime he was respected for his pianistic abilities. In fact, many of his teachers believed that his primary potential was in performing rather than in composing. He was called Russia’s Chopin. Like Chopin, aside from the five orchestral works and a piano concerto, Scriabin wrote exclusively for the piano. The ten sonatas of Scriabin provide a magnificent harmonic timeline, and provide perhaps the best way to view his compositional evolution since they virtually encompass his entire compositional lifespan. The finest of his works are small scale ones: preludes, mazurkas, morceaux, poems, dances, etudes. Actually, most of his compositions are short. His longest work for piano, Sonata no. 8, lasts only seventeen minutes. Many pieces are not much more than one minute, some even less.

 

Reviews and memoirs of Scriabin’s phenomenal piano playing reveal a distinctive style that captivated audiences throughout his career. In the last years of his life, Scriabin was hailed as one of the greatest geniuses of Russian musical culture. His music filled concert halls and fashionable salons inspiring passionate responses from delighted audiences.

 

But since the 1920s, the music of Alexander Scriabin has undergone a kind of evolution. In last years of his life Scriabin as a composer, pianist and person stimulated many admirations and, often, mad idolatry. Afterward, somehow, the overpowering appeal of Scriabin’s music faded away. Today it simply does not thrill the listeners the way it formerly did. Scriabin is generally respected, mostly for his harmonic exploits and visionary multimedia experiments, but he is rarely regarded as a genius. Since the middle of the 20th century, his music hasn’t been understood and even occasionally criticized for being dry, mechanical, and uninspired.

 

To be sure, one important factor of Scriabin’s massive popularity early in the twentieth century was that he was so perfectly attuned to the spirit of the time. That era was a special period in Russian cultural history which is usually called the Russian artistic renaissance – a period of unique blossoming of poetry, music, visual arts, theater and new philosophy. That was also the beginning of the Russian symbolist movement based on religious and philosophical ideas that supposedly, could be fully comprehensible only to those who had been initiated into the mysterious kingdom of symbols. Moscow became the center of symbolism in Russia. Scriabin’s circle in that city included musicians, poets, scholars, philosophers, painters, actors and stage directors. They saw in him not merely their musical parallel. To them Scriabin was a prophet and even more than that – a creator, a virtual divinity.

 

There were also many listeners in Russia and abroad who did not care for Scriabin’s cosmic ideas or knew little about them, and yet were completely taken by the music itself. Of course, not all of Scriabin’s contemporaries were attracted by his music or his personality. There were those who were confused and even irritated by the composer’s daring innovations.

In his memoirs of Scriabin Alexander Goldenweiser used the carefully chosen phrase: “Scriabin was a pianist, one may say, of genius.” And in the words “one may say” is revealed the writer’s awareness of the controversy which surrounded Scriabin’s extremely individual playing during his lifetime. The first wife of the composer, Vera Ivanovna Scriabina, an excellent pianist, expressed the opinion that his playing obstructed public understanding of the music: “Everything, though, in which people see defects of the works comes from a performance which is extremely free and unrhythmical, which disturbs understanding and evaluation of the works.

How can we explain this mysterious metamorphosis in perception? One is that Scriabin’s music is a product of characteristic cultural and intellectual values that do not respond well with today’s world. Consequently, Scriabin’s music does not strongly engage the listener anymore. This argument does not appear particularly convincing. Every composer of the past was influenced by and reflected the spirit of the time in a manner quite different from contemporary life. And yet, the music of many other composers whose lifetime fame was comparable to that of Scriabin has not faded away as quickly and drastically. Again his audiences obviously did hear something different from what we usually hear today.

 

Scriabin, an extraordinary pianist, popularized his piano music through his own performances. He played, especially later in life, many concerts throughout Russia, Europe and the United States. Before presenting his orchestral works to the public, Scriabin frequently collaborated with the conductors by playing the piece for them on the piano and then analyzing it. In one of his letters Scriabin said: “It is terribly difficult for a conductor to sort out all the details of such a complex composition … There is so much polyphony that, without knowing the composer’s intentions, it is hard to decide which part needs to be emphasized at any given moment. At the same time, it is impossible to indicate everything in the score.” And since it was impossible in principle, Scriabin usually put little effort into trying to notate his music precisely.

 

Unlike Scriabin’s apparent carelessness in music notation, his attitude toward performance was remarkably different. He devoted a great deal of time and energy to concert activities. When his music was performed either by the composer himself or, in the case of his orchestral works, under his guidance, the responses of listeners were ecstatic. The music critic called him phenomenal.

 

Evidently, in his own performances Scriabin was very suggestive, intensive and convincing. He went far beyond what the scores indicated. Many contemporaries realized that Scriabin’s performing style not only fits his compositions perfectly – it also provided the key to an understanding of his works.

 

In order to make sense of contradictory opinions about Sriabin’s work it is necessary to examine the origins of Scriabin’s pianism and to compare critical responses in the press and the descriptions by friends and colleagues of Scriabin’s performing and interpretative methods. But such statements are necessarily subjective. So it is particularly important to take into account the strictly objective evidence which Scriabin himself left to us.

 

Since the composer’s death in 1915, the disparity between his notation and performance has had a catastrophic effect on his legacy. Fortunately, Scriabin recorded 19 of his compositions on the Hupfeld and the Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos in 1908 and 1910. The Welte rolls have been played back and recorded on LPs and CDs since the late 1950s.

 

If the notation on the score does not represent the whole truth about Scriabin’s intention, the valuable piano roll recordings become essential for studying Scriabin’s piano music.

 

Unfortunately, these recordings have not broken new ground in our understanding of Scriabin. The Welte recordings do not represent complete performances. Many components of Scriabin’s playing are quite faithfully reflected in the Welte playback, but at the same time, certain elements of artistic performance simply go beyond the capacity of the reproducing piano.

While this indirect evidence of Scriabin’s pianism produced a mixed critical reception, close analysis of the recordings within the context of the limitations of the particular piano roll technology can shed light on the free style that composer favored for the performance his own works, characterized by improvised variations in tempo, rhythm, articulation, dynamics and sometimes even the notes themselves.

Pavel Lobanov, the engineer who recorded Scriabin from the Welte-Mignon rolls for Melodiya, published a transcription of Scriabin’s recordings in the form of a music score.

 

In the picture below is a part of transcription of Scriabin’s recording of Poem Op.32, no.1 in the form of music score (m. 1-6). Lobonov made a measure-by-measure comparison of Scriabin’s original score with score of his own performance. (A tempo graph is added above.)

 

Tempo graph

Scriabin’s recorded performance

Scriabin’s published score

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Anatole Leikin wrote several texts about his own studies of these transcriptions. He even published the book “The performing style of Alexander Scriabin”. It is rich in detail and presents explicit analyses of eleven works Scriabin recorded on piano rolls. Descriptions of variances between the scores and Scriabin’s performances are careful in detail and can make reading uninteresting. Pianists would make best use of these chapters as a reference guide for individual pieces. The consistent approach Scriabin takes to such matters as right chords, agogic accents and tempo variation provides a template for how his piano music should be played.

 

Scriabin’s performances on piano-roll recordings provide us with precious insights into vital aspects of his music that are not manifest simply through editions of his works. Some attributes of his performing style remain somewhat elusive. But two major ingredients of his pianism which reflecting a different kind of rubato were captured in small detail in his recording. They are the continuous shifting of tempi and the separations of individual textural lines. Armed with the knowledge extracted through a comparison of the printed and performed versions, a pianist today can create a truly Scriabinesque interpretation. At the same time, since the guiding principle of Scriabin’s performance is freedom rather than restriction, the personal style of the performer need not to be obstructed.

 

Studying Scriabin’s playing from the piano roll recordings is by no means suggesting there is only one possible interpretation. Its purpose is to further enhance our understanding of his tendencies in phrasing, freedom of timing and perhaps the connection between the written music and his musical intentions. It gives us valuable evidence beyond the notation on the score.

 

The interpretive challenge of playing works that the composer himself frequently performed is the fine line between authenticity and individuality. Even though studying the composer’s own recordings leads to a greater understanding of his distinctive approach to the performance, his style may not be applicable to the present time. The current performance practice shape the obsession with the perfection in tempo, rhythm, dynamics, phrasing and proportion. The element of restraint and control becomes the norm of the interpretations and the flexibility of tempo becomes more reserved. The difference between the faster and the slower sections are much slimmer. Anything that disturbs the invariability and the flow of the piece is not recommended. The rhythm, dynamics and phrasing in general become somehow more predictable. The overall performance practice prefers uniformity in the interpretation rather than extreme contrast. Also, the aspect of improvisation was completely taken away from the classical performances. The score itself seems to speak the whole truth in the contemporary performance practice, even though the composer himself in the early twentieth century would rarely follow it exactly. If the notation on the score does not represent the whole truth about his intention, the value of these recordings becomes even more crucial to study Scriabin’s piano music.

 

Each performance carries a different interpretation. The pianist translates the notations on the score into sounds and the audience then decides if that particular performance is convincing or not. The question arises how to balance the freedom of interpretation with what a composer wrote on the score. Pianists make interpretive choices based on their knowledge of the composer’s work, particular performance style in the composer’s time, their own pianistic and personal emotional background. The interpretation changes from pianist to pianist, but once the interpretation of some piece has come to life in a certain form, a pianist tends to be more flexible. Composers on the other hand, rarely have strictly fixed ideas of how their music should be performed. For the same reason Scriabin rarely plays exactly as he wrote in the score. His interpretation changes from performance to performance, but the essence of his artistic presentation remains distinctive.

 

But, what exactly is the essence of Scriabin’s interpretation? It is Scriabin’s performance of these works. Many of Scriabin’s contemporaries refused to hear any other pianist than Scriabin himself perform his music. They believed that no other pianist could deliver the same effect. Scriabin’s attitude toward his music and its interpretation also changed as he developed his philosophy. For Scriabin, an important and perhaps central reason why he played in public was because he realized in order to present to the people his ideas as mystic he first needs to subdue them with music. The creative process of Scriabin’s compositions also reflects his approach to performance. Scriabin’s ultimate aesthetic ideal was to go beyond imagination through music. In the end it would be impossible to know exactly how to realize these abstract ideas in actual performance. However the essence of Scriabin’s music lies in freedom and informal character. Therefore it is only sure that certain way not to suggest these ideas is through the type of rigid performances which is currently considered as mainstream.

 

 

 

 

 

Scriabin’s French Terminology

 

aigu – sharp

ailé, tourbillonnant – winged, spinning, whirling

animé, ailé – lively, winged

appel mystérieux – mysterious call

avec éclat – with brilliance

avec élan lumineux, vibrant – with dash, vibrant, rousing

avec emotion – with emotion

avec entraînement – with gusto

avec ravissement et tendresse – with rapture and tenderness

avec trouble – with trouble

avec une ardeur profonde et voilée – with deep, veiled ardour

avec une céleste volupté – with heavenly voluptuousness, delight

avec une chaleur contenue – with restrained warmth

avec une douce ivresse – with gentle, sweet intoxication

avec une douce langueur de plus en plus éteinte – with gentle languor that is more and more extinguished

avec une douceur de plus en plus caressante et empoisonnée – with a gentleness, sweetness more and more caressing and poisoned

avec une émotion naissante – with incipient, budding emotion

avec une étrangeté subite – with sudden strangeness

avec une joie exaltée – with overexcited joy

avec une joyeuse exaltation –with joyous exaltation

avec une langueur naissante – with nascent languor

avec une sombre majesté – with dark majesty, stateliness

avec une subite douceur – with sudden sweetness

avec une volupté douloureuse – with painful voluptuousness, delight

avec une volupté radieuse, extatique – with radiant voluptuousness, ecstatic

 

charmes – charms

comme des éclairs – like lightning

comme une fanfare – like a fanfare

cristallin – crystalline

 

de plus en plus entraînant, avec enchantement – more and more alluring, stirring, with enchantment, magic

de plus en plus radieux – more and more radiant

de plus en plus sonore et animé – more and more sonorous and lively

doux, languissant – gentle, languishing

éclatant, lumineux – brilliant, luminous

effondrement subit – sudden collapse

en délire – delirious

en un vertige – dizzily

envolé – to fly, take off

épanouissement des forces mystérieuses – blooming, unfurling of mysterious powers

étincelent – sparkling

étrange, ailé – strange, winged

 

frémissant, ailé – quivering, winged

foudroyant – thunderous

 

haletant – breathless

 

impérieux – imperious

 

joyeux, triomphant – joyous, triumphant

 

legendaire – legendary

l’épouvante surgit, elle se mêle a la danse délirante – the terror arises and mingles with the delirious dance

le rêve prend forme (clarté, douceur, pureté) – the dream takes shape (brightness, gentleness, purity)

lumineux, vibrant – luminous, vibrant

 

mystérieusement murmuré – mysterious murmur

mystérieusement sonore – mysteriously sonorous

mystérieux, concentré – mysterious, concentrated

 

onde caressante – caressing wave

onduleux, insinuant – wavy, sinuous, insinuating

 

puissant, radieux – powerful, radiant

pur, limpide – pure, limpid

 

sombre, mystérieux – dark, mysterious

 

tout devient charme et douceur – becoming all charm and sweetness

très doux et pur – very sweet and pure

très pur, avec une profonde douceur – very pure, with profound gentleness, sweetness

 

vol joyeux – joyous flight

 

 

Scriabin played for Welte – Mignon.

 

PIANO SUMMER VRANJE – 2015

 

Predavanje

povodom obeležavanja stogodišnjeg jubileja

 

 

Aleksandar Skrjabin

– svet interakcije kompozitora, pijaniste i filozofa

 

 

Sažetak

Pre tačno jednog veka iznenadna smrt prekinula je izuzetan i originalan stvaralački rad Aleksandra Skrjabina jedne od najkontroverznijih ličnosti u istoriji muzike. Njegova muzika kao proizvod jedinstvenog i kompleksnog uma do danas izaziva burne rasprave i podeljena mišljenja. Malo ko ostaje ravnodušan – ili ga volimo ili ne.

Skrjabin spada u kategoriju velikih kompozitora-pijanista. Danas je uglavnom upamćen po svojim ekscentričnim ideologijama i kompozicijama koje pomeraju granice tonalnosti. Ali za vreme života bio je cenjen zbog svojih pijanističkih sposobnosti. Zapravo su mnogi njegovi učitelji verovali prvenstveno u njegov izvođački potencijal, a ne kompozitorski rad. Nazivan je ruskim Šopenom. Recenzije i memoari svedoče o njegovom fenomenalnom pijanizmu kojim je fascinirao publiku tokom čitave karijere.

Poznavanje Skrjabinove izvođačke prakse i njene interakcije s njegovom filozofijom je od velike važnosti za dublje razumevanje kompozitorovih umetničkih namera i ideologija. Uvidom u njegovo muzičko obrazovanje i istraživanjem izvođačke prakse sopstvenog opusa kroz novinske članke, memoare i lične zvučne zapise možemo ustanoviti da je Skrjabin ponikao iz ruskog kulturnog tla ali i da je razvio vrlo osoben pijanistički stil. Danas nakon poređenja štampanih i snimljenih verzija Skrjabinovih kompozicija možemo stvoriti sliku o pravoj Skrjabinističkoj interpretaciji, tom kreativnom svetu interakcije između kompozitora, pijaniste i filozofa.

 

 

 

Predavač

Marija Dinov Vasić

 

 

 

Beleške

 

 

Aleksandar Skrjabin bio je neobična osoba koja se nije uklapala u konvencionalne okvire. Njegova muzika ne pripada niti jednom tradicionalnom stilu već predstavlja jedinstven slučaj u istoriji muzike. Izuzev nekoliko očiglednih uzora u ranom periodu, Skrjabinova dela su odraz sopstvenog idioma kao i harmonskog jezika, stila te formalnih principa i čine sistem poput nijednog drugog. Taj zatvoreni sistem Skrjabin je izgradio do krajnjih granica,  bez mogućnosti daljeg razvoja. Zato njegova muzika uprskos velikom uticaju zapravo nije imala prave sledbenike, samo epigone.

 

Ključ za dublje razumevanje Skrjabinove umetnosti i ideologije predstavlja upravo otkrivanje njegove sopstvene izvođačke prakse sa naglaskom na njenoj interakciji sa kompozitorovim stvaralaštvom  i filozofskim ubeđenjima.

 

Skrjabin je još kao dete bio nadaren pijanista. Klavir je učio kod renomiranog moskovskog pedagoga Nikolaja Zvereva, a muzičku teoriju je savladao sa  Sergejom Tanjejevim.

Školovanje nastavlja na Moskovskom konzervatoriju u klasi čuvenog Vasilija Safonova nekadašnjeg učenika još čuvenijeg Lešetickog. Safonov je Skrjabina zapazio još dok je učio kod Zvereva. Između profesora i studenta postajala je posebna naklonost. Može se reći da je Skrjabinu tokom školovanja bio od koristi  jedino rad sa Safonovim.

Za vreme studija Skrjabin je imao katastrofalnu povredu desne ruke. To ga je verovatno usmerilo ka komponovanju tragične Prve sonate i Nokturna i prelida za levu ruku op.9. Ovaj događaj uticao je na sazrevanje Skrjabinovih specifičnih filozofskih pogleda na svet. Mada se Skrjabin oporavio uprkos prognozama doktora te se najzad vratio i na koncertni podijum, ostaje činjenica da njegova ruka više nikad nije bila ista.

Skrjabinove studentske interpretacije značajnih dela klavirske literature imale su različit odjek kod stručne kritike. Njihovi različiti stavovi ipak jedinstveno ukazuju da je Skrjabin još tad usvojio veoma različit, ličniji i kompleksniji način sviranja koji je naručito pogodovao njegovim sopstvenim kompozicijama. Poznato je da je nakon studija u potpunosti prestao da izvodi dela drugih autora.

 

 

 

Skrjabin spada u kategoriju velikih kompozitora–pijanista. Tokom života bio je cenjen zbog svojih pijanističkih sposobnosti. Zapravo su mnogi njegovi učitelji verovali prvenstveno u njegov izvođački potencijal a ne kompozitorski talenat. Nazivan je ruskim Šopenom. Poput Šopena, osim pet orkestarskih dela i klavirskog koncerta i Skrjabin je pisao isključivo za klavir. Njegovih deset sonata predstavljaju veličanstveni pregled razvoja harmonije i najbolji pogled na kompozitorovu evoluciju pošto obuhvataju ceo Skrjabinov stvaralački vek. Među Skrjabinove najlepše kompozicije spadaju i male forme: prelidi, mazurke, komadi, poeme, igre, etide. Zapravo većina njegovih kompozicija su kratke. Najduže njegovo delo, Osma sonata, traje svega 17 minuta. Mnogi komadi nisu duži od jedne minute a neki su i kraći.

 

Recenzije i memoari o Skrjabinovom fenomenalnom pijanizmu svedoče o osobenom stilu kojim je fascinirao publiku tokom čitave karijere. Poslednjih godina svog života Skrjabin je nazivan najvećim genijem ruske muzičke kulture. Njegova muzika je punila koncertne dvorane i otmene salone nailazeći na pasionirane reakcije oduševljene publike.

 

Ali nakon 1920. godine muzika Aleksandra Skrjabina prolazi kroz svojevrsnu evoluciju. Poslednjih godina života Skrjabin je svojim stvaralaštvom, pijanizmom i ličnošću privukao značajan auditorijum koji mu se fanatično klanjao i često neiskreno povlađivao. Kasnije je taj moćni odjek Skrjabinove muzike nekako izbledeo. Danas ona jednostavno ne uzbuđuje slušaoce kao ranije. Skrjabin je uglavnom poštovan zbog svojih harmonskih novina i vizionarskih multimedijalnih eksperimenata, ali se retko smatra genijem. Posle sredine XX veka njegova muzika ne nailazi na adekvatno razumevanje i često je karakterisana kao mehanička, beživotna i neinspirativna.

 

Jedan od važnih činilaca koji je uticao na Skrjabinovu široku popularnost u prvoj polovini XX veka sigurno je taj što je Skrjabin bio čovek svog vremena. To je bilo posebno vreme u istoriji ruske kulture nazvano još i renesansom ruske umetnosti – period jedinstvenog cvetanja poezije, muzike, vizuelnih umetnosti, pozorišta i nove filozofije. Tada je nastao i pokret ruskog simbolizma temeljen na religioznim i filozofskim idejama koje su navodno u potpunosti mogli razumeti samo “podanici misterioznog kraljevstva simbola”. Centar simbolizma u Rusiji postaje Moskva, grad u kom je Skrjabin bio okružen muzičarima, pesnicima, učenjacima, filozofima, slikarima, glumcima i rediteljima. Oni su u njemu videli mnogo više od svoje muzičke paralele. Skrjabin je za njih bio prorok pa čak i više od toga – stvoritelj, apsolutno božanstvo.

 

 

 

S druge strane bilo je i mnogo slušalaca kako u Rusiji tako i van nje koji nisu marili za Skrjabinove kosmičke ideje ili su o njima malo znali, a ipak su bili potpuno zavedeni samom muzikom. Naravno treba reći da se Skrjabinov lik i delo nisu dopadali svim njegovim savremenicima. Bilo je i onih koji su ostajali  zbunjeni ili čak iritirani njegovim smelim inovacijama.

Kada bi govorio o Skrjabinu Aleksandar Goldenvajzer je koristio jednu pažljivo odabranu frazu: “Skrjabin je bio, neki bi rekli, genijalan pijanista.” Upravo reči “neki bi rekli” otkrivaju da je i sam Goldenvajzer bio svestan kontraverzi vezanih za Skrjabinov izuzetno individualan pijanizam koje su ga pratile celog života. Skrjabinova prva žena, Vera Ivanova, odlična pijanistkinja, bila je mišljenja da njegovo sviranje zapravo otežava publici razumevanje same muzike: “Sve ono što publika vidi kao nedostatke njegovih kompozicija u stvari proističe iz njegovog izvođenja koje je krajnje slobodno i neritmično te ometa razumevanje i vrednovanje samog dela.

Kako objasniti ove nejasne preobražaje u percepciji? Jedno objašnjenje je da je Skrjabinova muzika proizvod karakteristične kulture i intelektualnih vrednosti koji ne odgovaraju u potpunosti današnjem svetu. Zbog toga njegova muzika više ne osvaja slušaoce. Ovaj argument se ne čini posebno ubedljiv. Svaki kompozitor u prošlosti odražavao je duh svog vremena i bio je pod njegovim uticajem na način značajno različit i neuporediv sa današnjim vremenom. A opet, muzika mnogih drugih kompozitora čija je slava za života bila uporediva sa Skrjabinovom nije izbledela tako brzo i drastično. Očigledno da je Skrjabinova publika čula nešto drugo od onog što mi danas obično čujemo.

 

Skrjabin, izvanredan pijanista, popularizovao je svoju muziku kroz sopstvena izvođenja. Svirao je, pogotovu u kasnijem periodu života, brojne koncerte širom Rusije, Evrope i Sjedinjenih Država. Pre izvođenja svojih orkestarskih dela, Skrjabin je često sarađivao sa dirigentima svirajući im delo na klaviru i analizirajući ga. U jednom od svojih pisama rekao je: “Veoma je teško za dirigenta da izdvoji sve detalje tako kompleksne kompozicije… Toliko je mnogo polifonije da bez svesti o kompozitorovim namerama postaje teško doneti odluku koji deo bi trebalo podvući u datom momentu. A opet nije moguće ni sve navesti u notnom tekstu.” Pošto načelno nije bilo moguće, Skrjabin je obično ulagao malo ili nimalo napora u pokušaje da svoju muziku precizno notira.

 

Za razliku od Skrjabinove očigledne nemarnosti za notaciju, njegov stav prema izvođaštvu se značajno razlikuje. Koncertnim aktivnostima je posvećivao dosta vremena i energije. Kad god je izvodio svoju muziku kao pijanista, ili u slučaju orkestarskih dela kao dirigent, publika bi reagovala ekstatično. Muzička kritika nazivala ga je fenomenalnim.

 

Očigledno da je kao izvođač Skrjabin bio veoma sugestivan, strastven i ubedljiv.  Zalazio je i duboko u pozadinu svojih kompozicija. Mnogi savremenici su uvideli da njegov izvođački stil osim što savršeno odgovara njegovoj muzici – on takođe predstavlja i ključ za razumevanje njegovih dela.

 

U cilju razumevanja protivrečnosti u stavovima o Skrjabinovom radu neophodno je istražiti poreklo Skrjabinovog pijanizma, uporediti brojne kritike iz ondašnje štampe kao i zapise njegovih prijatelja i kolega o njegovom izvođaštvu i metodama interpretiranja. Kako su ovakvi opisi obavezno subjektivni, od posebne važnosti postaje uvid u strogo objektivne tragove koje je Skrjabin lično ostavio.

 

Od kompozitorove smrti 1915. godine razmimoilaženja između zapisanih i izvođenih verzija njegovih dela imala su poražavajući efekat na njegovu ostavštinu. Na sreću Skrjabin je snimio 19 svojih kompozicija na mehaničkim klavirima firmi Hapfeld (1908) i Velte-Minjon (1910).  Rolne snimljene za Velte kompaniju su krajem pedesetih godina XX veka presnimljene na ploče i diskove.

 

Ako štampana notna izdanja ne odražavaju u celosti Skrjabinove kompozitorske namere, dragocene klavirske rolne postaju od suštinske važnosti za proučavanje Skrjabinove klavirske muzike.

 

Nažalost snimci nisu značajno doprineli vrednovanju Skrjabinove muzike. Stari zvučni zapisi zapravo ne predstavljaju kompletne interpretacije. Mnogi elementi Skrjabinovog pijanizma su prilično verno kopirani na novim verzijama snimaka, ali istovremeno postoje i umetnički izvođački elementi koji prosto prevazilaze mogućnosti reprodukcije u datim uslovima.

Dok su reakcije kritike na ove indirektne pokazatelje Skrjabinovog pijanizma različite, detaljnom analizom snimaka (u svetlu ograničenja specifične tehnologije klavirskih rolni) možemo rekonstruisati Skrjabinov slobodan stil koji karakterišu improvizacijske promene tempa, ritma, artikulacije, dinamike i ponekad čak i samih notnih vrednosti.

 

Pavel Lobanov, inženjer koji je presnimio Skrjabinove Velte-Minjon rolne za Melodiju, objavio je transkripte ovih snimaka u formi notnog teksta.

 

Na slici ispod je deo transkripta Skrjabinovog snimka Poeme op. 32, br.1 u formi notnog teksta (takt 1-6). Lobanov je napravio poređenje “takt po takt” Skrjabinovog originalnog teksta sa tekstom njegovog ličnog izvođenja. (Iznad je dodat grafički prikaz oscilacija u tempu.)

 

Grafikon tempa

Notni zapis Skrjabinovog snimka

Objavljeni original notnog teksta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profesor Anatol Laikin objavio je nekoliko tekstova o svojim proučavanjima ovih transkripta. Autor je knjige “Izvođački stil Aleksandra Skrjabina”. Ova studija je bogata činjenicama i predstavlja detaljnu analizu 11 kompozicija koje je Skrjabin snimio na klavirskim rolnama. Opisi razlika između notnog teksta i Skrjabinovih izvođenja su pažljivi, detaljni i mogu učiniti čitanje neinteresantnim. Pijanistima ova poglavlja najbolje mogu koristiti kao preporučeni vodič za pojedine komade. Skrjabinov dosledan pristup pitanjima pravih akorada, agogičkih akcenata i varijacija u tempu predstavlja autentičan obrazac na koji način bi njegovu muziku trebalo izvoditi.

 

Skrjabinova izvođenja na klavirskim rolnama obezbeđuju nam precizan uvid u vitalne aspekte njegove muzike koji nisu jednostavno manifestovani kroz štampane edicije njegovih dela. Ipak pojedini atributi njegovog izvođaštva i dalje ostaju iluzivni. Analizom detalja ovih snimaka mogu se prepoznati dva najveća elementa njegovog pijanizma koji se odnose na različite vrste rubata. To su stalne promene tempa i razdvajanje pojedinih melodijskih linija u vremenu. Naoružani znanjem dobijenim upoređivanjem štampanih i snimljenih verzija, pijanisti danas mogu stvoriti sliku prave Skrjabinističke interpretacije. Istovremeno, ako znamo da je Skrjabinov vodeći izvođački princip bio sloboda a ne ograničavanje, onda je potrebno i danas sačuvati lični stil prilikom izvođenja njegove muzike.

 

Proučavanje Skrjabinovih snimaka sa klavirskih rolni nikako ne sugeriše na postojanje samo jednog mogućeg načina interpretacije njegove muzike. Njihova svrha je prvenstveno u porastu našeg razumevanja kompozitorovih težnji u fraziranju, slobodnoj percepciji vremenskog toka kao i veze između notnih zapisa sa kompozitorovim namerama. To nam pruža dragocena saznanja izvan granica muzičkog pisma.

 

Interpretiranje dela koja su često izvođena od strane samog kompozitora predstavlja poseban izazov prvenstveno u pronalaženju fine linije između autentičnosti i individualnosti. Mada studije kompozitorovih sopstvenih snimaka vode ka većem razumevanju njegovog osobenog pristupa interpretaciji, njegov stil ne mora biti pogodan u današnjem vremenu. Aktuelnu izvođačku praksu karakteriše opsesija za perfekcijom u tempu, ritmu, dinamici, frazeologiji i proporcijama. Suzdržanost i kontrola postali su inerpretativni normativi a fleksibilnost tempa krajnje rezervisana. Razlike u bržim i sporijim odsecima mnogo su manje. Svi elementi koji ometaju nepromenjivost i tok kompozicije nisu preporučljivi. Ritam, dinamika i fraziranje postali su nekako predvidljivi. Sve u svemu izvođačka praksa preferira uniformisanost u interpretiranju a ne ekstremne kontraste. Improvizacije su takođe potpuno nestale iz klasičnog izvođaštva. Čini se da notni tekst sadrži celokupnu istinu u savremenoj izvođačkoj praksi, čak iako bi ga sam kompozitor početkom XX veka retko strogo poštovao. Onda ako notacija ne sadrži celu istinu o kompozitorovim namerama, vrednost snimaka koji su ostavljeni dobija na suštinskom značaju za studije Skrjabinove klavirske muzike.

 

Svako izvođenje predstavlja različitu interpretaciju. Pijanista prevodi notni tekst u zvuk a publika potom odlučuje da li je određeno izvođenje ubedljivo ili ne. Postavlja se pitanje kako balansirati između slobode u interpretaciji sa onim što je kompozitor zapisao u partituri. Pijanisti donose interpretativne odluke bazirane na svom poznavanju kompozitorovog rada, određenog izvođačkog stila dominantnog za to vreme, te sopstvene pijanističke i lične emocionalne pozadine. Interpretacija se menja sa pijanistima, ali kada jednom zaživi u određenom obliku pijanisti nastoje da budu fleksibilni. Kompozitori opet retko imaju strogo određenu ideju o tome kako bi njihova muzika trebala da se izvodi. Iz istog razloga i Skrjabin retko svira tačno kako je zapisao u partituri. Njegova interpretacija se menja od jednog do drugog izvođenja, ali suština njegove umetničke predstave ostaje karakteristična.

 

Na kraju, šta je tačno suština Skrjabinove interpretacije? To bi bila Skrjabinova osobena ličnost u ulozi izvođača ove muzike. Mnogi Skrjabinovi savremenici odbijali su da čuju druge pijaniste osim njega samog da izvode ovu muziku. Verovali su da drugi pijanisti ne bi bili jednako efektni. Skrjabinov stav prema sopstvenoj muzici i njenom interpretiranju takođe se menjao zajedno sa kompozitorovim filozofskim razvitkom. Za njega je važan i verovatno najveći razlog zbog čega je svirao u javnosti bio taj što je uvideo da je za regrutaciju poklonika svojih mističnih ideja, neophodno ljude najpre zavesti muzikom. Kreativni proces Skrjabinovog kompozitorskog rada takođe odražava njegov pristup izvođaštvu. Skrjabinov konačni estetski ideal bio je da kroz muziku dopre izvan granica imaginacije. Na kraju nemoguće je tačno znati kako realizovati ovakve apstraktne ideje kroz pijanizam. Jedno je samo sigurno – suština Skrjabinove muzike je u slobodi i njenom neformalnom karakteru. Zato je izvestan način za nesugerisanje ovih ideja upravo rigidan tip izvođaštva koji se trenutno smatra standardom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francuski termini koje je Skrjabin upotrebljavao

 

aigu  –  oštar

ailé, tourbillonnant  – poletno, kovitlajući, okretno

animé, ailé   –  oživljeno, poletno

appel mystérieux  –  misteriozni zov

avec éclat –  briljantno

avec élan lumineux, vibrant – sa elanom, uzbuđeno, treperavo

avec emotion – emotivno, sa emocijom

avec entraînement –  sa ukusom

avec ravissement et tendresse – sa zanosom i nežnošću

avec trouble – sa teškoćom

avec une ardeur profonde et voilée – sa dubokim, prikrivenim žarom

avec une céleste volupté – sa nebeskim zadovoljstvom

avec une chaleur contenue – sa uzdržanom toplinom

avec une douce ivresse –  sa blagom, slatkom omamljenošću

avec une douce langueur de plus en plus éteinte –  sa blagom malaksalošću koja se sve više i više gasi

avec une douceur de plus en plus caressante et empoisonnée –  sa blagom slašću koja sve više i više miluje i zaražava

avec une émotion naissante – sa emocijom koja sazreva

avec une étrangeté subite –  sa iznenadnom intrigantnošću

avec une joie exaltée – preuzbuđeno, radosno

avec une joyeuse exaltation – sa radosnim ushićenjem

avec une langueur naissante – sa malaksalošću koja se rađa

avec une sombre majesté – sa tamnom veličanstvenošću

avec une subite douceur – sa iznenadnom nežnošću

avec une volupté douloureuse – sa bolnim zadovoljstvom, čulnošću

avec une volupté radieuse, extatique – sa ozarenom slašću, euforično

 

charmes – čarobno

comme des éclairs – poput munje

comme une fanfare –  kao fanfare

cristallin – kristalno

 

de plus en plus entraînant, avec enchantement – sve više primamljivo, uzbudljivo, očarajavuće, magično

de plus en plus radieux – sve više ozareno, sjajno

de plus en plus sonore et animé – sve zvučnije i oživljeno

doux, languissant – blago, malaksalo, venući

éclatant, lumineux – briljantno, svetlo

effondrement subit – iznenadni kolaps

en délire – zanesen, deliričan

en un vertige – vrtoglavo, sa vrtoglavicom

envolé – poleteti

épanouissement des forces mystérieuses –  procvat misterioznih sila

étincelent – blistavo

étrange, ailé – čudno, vazdušasto

 

frémissant, ailé – podrhtavajući, vazdušasto

foudroyant – gromovito

 

haletant – bez daha

 

impérieux – zapovednički

 

joyeux, triomphant – radostan, trijumfalan

 

legendaire – legendaran, mitski, bajkovit

l’épouvante surgit, elle se mêle a la danse délirante –  teror se pojavljuje i prepliće se sa deliričnim plesom

le rêve prend forme (clarté, douceur, pureté) – san se oblikuje (svetlost, blagost, čistota)

lumineux, vibrant – svetao, treperav

 

mystérieusement murmuré – misteriozan žamor, šum

mystérieusement sonore – misteriozan zvuk

mystérieux, concentré – misteriozno, koncentrisano

 

onde caressante – milujući talas

onduleux, insinuant – valovito, naslućujući

 

puissant, radieux – moćan, blistavo energičan

pur, limpide – čist, bistar

 

sombre, mystérieux – taman, misteriozan

 

tout devient charme et douceur – sve postaje očaravajuće i ljupko

très doux et pur – veoma blago i čisto

très pur, avec une profonde douceur – veoma čisto, sa dubokom nežnošću, slašću

 

vol joyeux – leteti radosno

 

 

 

Skrjabin svira za Velte – Minjon.