scriabin sonatas

anonymous asked:

Hey! I love reading what you post! Do you have any recommendations for really sad pieces? Thanks in advance :-)

Thanks for the kinds words! Really sad pieces? Get ready to cry, here are some of my favorite “sad” works:

Arvo Pärt: Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten. Slow, a canon that becomes more and more dense and tragic as it continues.

Samuel Barber: Adagio from String Quartet op.11. Would later be written for full string orchestra as the Adagio for Strings, and later the music would be used for a setting of Agnus Dei

Johann Sebastian Bach: Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ. Meaning, I call to you, Lord Jesus Christ. It feels so bleak, hopeless, yearning for something better.

Fryderyk Chopin: Various Works. Chopin is like the master of sad piano music. Some that come to mind; his first nocturne, his prelude in e minor, and his waltz op.64 no.2

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Elegy. The opening to his Morceaux Fantasie, op. 9…it is very reminiscent of Chopin and so, so lovely.

Arvo Pärt: My Heart’s in the Highlands. A haunting setting of a poem about homesickness. For soprano and organ, chilling.

Max Richter: Path 5 (delta), from Sleep. Similar to the Pärt song, this is for two wordless singers and organ. Meditative, repetitive, but so addicting.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Lacrimosa from the Requiem in d minor. The sacred lamentation that may be cliche in this category but it is fitting. So much drama in such a short amount of time.

Alexander Scriabin: Andante from Piano Sonata no. 3. Such a longing heartfelt melody, one of the most underrated in the literature.

John Cage: In a Landscape. Ponderous, calming, but a sense of nostalgia and pain. What landscape are we in? It’s more of a soundscape, waves of notes.


Piano Sonata No. 9 “Black Mass”, Op. 68 (1912-13)

A late piano sonata in one movement by Russian composer and pianist Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). A highly chromatic, dissonant work, this sonata exploits the harsh sound of the tritone interval, which has traditionally been associated with the Devil, for mystical effect.

Pianist: Grigory Sokolov


Scriabin - Sonata no. 9, “Black Mass”

13 pieces for Halloween, no.12: Scriabin’s synesthesia caused him to see color from different pitches. It’s hard to imagine how dark and murky his 6th sonata was for him to shutter from playing it. He found it so “dark” he wanted to “purge” it through the relatively “bright” 7th sonata which he called the White Mass. After hearing the bleakness of the 9th, people gave it the nickname “Black Mass” which Scriabin seemed to approve of. This work is stark and brittle, almost like old bones, and it makes me think of cultish rituals, festering bodies, it carries this sense of dread that never lets up. I picked this older performance by Vladimir Horowitz because the way he articulates the climax adds an extra layer of grotesque.

10 pieces under 10 minutes

If you follow my blog, you know that I love classical music and music history [and let’s face it, you probably do too]. But when people who want to get into the genre ask me for recommendations, I don’t know what to choose. The problem is the sheer AMOUNT of music out there…we’re talking hundreds of years worth of music to go through…so I decided to narrow down a list of ten pieces I’d recommend to anyone who’s new to classical and wants to explore more. Also, because time length was a major factor when I started out listening, I’ll keep the pieces relatively short, and I’ll try to pick music for different ensembles, from different time periods, and for different moods. This list is directed to complete newcomers to the genre, so if you’re into classical and want to read this, don’t get too concerned about the different titles and what they mean yet [i.e. you don’t need to know what makes a sonata a sonata in order to enjoy it], check out whichever of the pieces in the list stand out to you. If you like them and want more recommendations, you could always message me. My list of 10 pieces under 10 minutes:

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Top 10 piano sonatas?

Oh this is going to be beyond hard to list. This list is going to be super biased of course because it’s my personal favorites, so right away Scriabin is going to be disproportionally frequent here, since his set of 10 is my favorite set of sonatas in history, and Beethoven is also disproportionally here because, well, he’s Beethoven, his sonatas defined and destroyed the genre and it’s hard not to include at least three. 

Also, adding in retrospect, this took me almost 40 minutes to put together. It was not easy. I was going to abide by a “no more than two per composer rule” but I couldn’t because I have too many favorites by few composers. Also to reiterate, this is a top 10 of my favorites, not objective best, because looking over my own music collection as well as some “best sonatas” lists by others, there are a few “great” sonatas on lists that I either haven’t listened to enough to hold an opinion, or personally don’t care for. Those won’t be mentioned as I’m not here to start a flame war. Anyway, here it is, my top 10 piano sonatas:

10: Scriabin - Sonata no. 3

The best of his “early” sonatas, imo, that started out as a program work to depict the ruins of some medieval castle, and that was scrapped and instead became a poem about the journey of the soul, and that was scrapped and now it’s a piece of absolute music. But the whirlwind of afterlife drama remains. Also, the slow movement has one of the most gorgeous melodies in the literature.

9: Beethoven - Sonata no. 32

His last sonata and so of course he goes out with a bang by going against sonata convention. Two movements. The first is a fiery Beethovenian drama, complete with an improvisatory nature and fugato section, while the second is in the major, is double the length, and a set of variations on a simple theme, some of the variations predict ragtime.

8: Chopin - Sonata no. 2

His darkest music, this sonata is very gloomy, very energetic, and yes it has the iconic and perhaps overused Funeral March, but it ends in one of the most shocking gestures I’ve seen in Chopin’s music: a flurry of notes, a perpetuum mobile toccata that never rests in any distinguishable key. 

7: Rachmaninoff - Sonata no. 2

It is like a concerto for solo piano. Better than Alkan’s hidden gem. This work is full of fire, the second movement is Classic Hollywood level Romantic, and the finale coda is breathtaking. It’s amazing to think what kind of sound can be created by one instrument.

6: Scriabin - Sonata no. 8

My personal favorite of the late sonatas. The opening is hypnotic in it’s mystic tonality and its dizzying multi-voice polyphony, throwing all of the main melodies together in a way that seems effortless and natural. As if these eerie melodies came from somewhere in nature, in the depths of the subconscious. This piece inspired a short story idea of mine that I’m still trying to flesh out. No spoilers, but it involves dreams, out of body experiences, phantoms, and the night.

5: Beethoven - Sonata no. 21 “Waldstein”

Like another concerto for solo piano. I think the smartest aspect of this work is how much attention Beethoven pays to structure and contrast, and instead of giving us three relentless heavy movements, which would seem over the top, overkill, he gives us two heavy glorious movements that sandwich a calmer, shorter reflective one that becomes a great transition between the two. Also, the ending “sunrise” melody is so uplifting, it gets stuck in my head days after I hear it. And to think I shrugged this one off in high school.

4: Beethoven - Sonata no. 29 “Hammerklavier”

His most powerful sonata, IMO. So much is going on over such a long stretch of time. To use the tired word, it is “epic”. Also, the crazy “pre-post-modernist meta-musical” fugue ending is ingenious. And if that description did your head in, try listening to the music itself. It’s just as bizarre. 

3: Liszt - Sonata in b minor

I’ll be honest, I would probably put this at my personal “2″ but the top sonata on this list is so similar I wanted variation. This is my favorite 19th century sonata, it has everything: great themes, emotional journeys, thematic unity and transformation, and so compact that you notice new details with every listening, and it becomes more awe inspiring with each listen because you say to yourself, “wait a second, this is a pattern used in X theme but slowed down, or used as the bassline, wow I can’t believe he thought of everything”

2: Scriabin - Sonata no. 5

Apocalyptic, otherworldly. Another Scriabin sonata that inspired my own fantasy/sci-fi story, no spoilers here either but basically the story ends with an eerie calm after an escape from an oppressive force, floating on his back in a lake looking at the moon, the wilderness, what the forrest in moonlight feels like, what the stars feel like. And it’s only 12 minutes. 12 minutes of music from another planet.

1: Medtner - Sonata no. 7 “Night Wind”

Basically, the same things I wrote under Liszt’s sonata, but add in Russian Romantic poetry, thick textures, an impressionist program, and even more fluid melodies. This work is great, exhausting to listen to the first time around, and may even seem like too much. But the more you listen, and notice what is going on, the more captivating it becomes. Sure the “Night Wind” may feel more like a whirlwind out of control at times, but everything is heavily weighted and constructed.

anonymous asked:

Top 5 Russian composers in your opinion?

Keep in mind, everyone, it is only my opinion, and so my ranking is not based on anything that can be argued. I’ll also list three of my favorite works by each:

5. Stravinsky: the Violin Concerto, the Symphony in Three Movements, The Rite of Spring

4. Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto 2, Serenade for Strings, Orchestral Suite 1

3. Medtner: Violin Sonata 1, “Night Wind” Sonata, Piano Concerto 2

2. Scriabin: Sonata 5, Sonata 8, the Poem of Ecstasy

1. Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto 2, the All Night Vigil, the Chopin Variations

Piano Sonata No.3 In F Sharp Minor, Op.23 - I. Drammatico
Sergey Kuznetsov
Piano Sonata No.3 In F Sharp Minor, Op.23 - I. Drammatico

Piano Sonata No.3 In F Sharp Minor, Op.23 - I. Drammatico

Year/Date of Composition : 1897–98
First Publication : 1898
Composer Time Period : Romantic
Piece Style : Romantic
Instrumentation : Piano

By Composer Aleksandr Scriabin

Sergey Kuznetsov, Pianist

For My Comrade-in-Arts, nigra-lux  🎵


[2] Days till Halloween

Scriabin - Piano Sonata no. 9, “Black Mass”

Scriabin considered his 6th sonata to be ugly, too dark for him to play. He had the neurological phenomenon of color-sound synesthesia, so one can only wonder what horrible colors that work produced. He wrote his 7th sonata to be more energetic and “colorful”, in order to purge the darkness of the 6th. This one he nicknamed the “White Mass”

Years later, he came out with his most atonal and chromatic sonata, the 9th. It was nicknamed the “Black mass” by critics, and Scriabin approved. The work creates an atmosphere of murkiness and shadows. This is the music of the forest at night, when you are alone and in the cold and in the dark


Scriabin - Sonata No. 9, Op. 68 Black Mass

External image

The ninth sonata is a single movement. Like Scriabin’s other late works, the piece is highly chromatic and atonal. The Black Mass Sonata is particularly dissonant because many of its themes are based around an interval of a minor ninth, one of the most unstable sounds. Its marking ‘legendaire’ exactly captures the sense of distant mysterious wailing which grows in force and menace.

The opening theme is constantly transformed, from the early trill arpeggio’s sounding unsettling and then completely shifting, eventually tumbling in rapid cascades into a grotesque march. Scriabin builds a continuous structure of mounting complexity and tension, and pursues the combination of themes with unusual tenacity, eventually reaching a climax as harsh as anything in his music. The piece ends with the original theme reinstated.

Like Scriabin’s other sonatas, it is both technically and musically highly demanding for the pianist, sometimes extending to three staves as opposed to the standard two used in piano music.

anonymous asked:

ooh please I'd love a piano piece one!

ISTJ: Rachmaninov: Sonata No. 1

ISFJ: Brahms: 6 Klavierstucke Op. 118

INFJ: Schumann: Fantasie

INTJ: Schubert: Sonata No. 20

ISTP: Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie

ISFP: Bach: Goldberg Variations

INFP: Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

INTP: Liszt: Sonata in B minor

ESTP: Balakirev: Islamey

ESFP: Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7

ENFP: Scriabin: Etudes

ENTP: Beethoven: Sonata Op. 106

ESTJ: Beethoven: Sonata No. 21

ESFJ: Kaikhosru Sorabji: Opus Clavicembalisticum

ENFJ: Debussy: Prelude

ENTJ: Chopin: Sonata No. 2


ok but turns out this piece was so like scary n mysterious or something to scriabin that he had some exorcism crap going on when he played it and he wouldn’t make it past like bar 5 or something lmao ok scriabin………….