Alexander Scriabin

Alexander Scriabin

Alexander Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. He began playing the piano at the age of five, but received his first lessons only at the age of eleven. He could not play from sight, but studied the score and played the compositions by heart afterwards. He was also a gifted improviser.

During the rest of his live Scriabin made a living as a composer and concert pianist.He established contracts with publishers and also had a patron in his former student Margarita Morozova for some time. In addition, he annually won a money prize in the context of the Glinka-prize for new compositions that was set up by Beljajev.

Scriabin primarily wrote for solo piano and orchestra. His music progressively evolved over the course of his life, although the evolution was very rapid and especially brief when compared to most composers. His earliest piano pieces resemble those of Frédéric Chopin. The works from his middle and late period use very unusual harmonies and textures.

From 1904 till 1910 Scriabin lived in western Europe, primarily in Switzerland, but also in northern Italy, Paris and Brussels. After his return to Russia he found himself in the middle of a circle of admirers who were attracted to his exalted and mystic ideas. During the last years of his life he worked on a grandiose manifestation, a Gesamtkunstwerk, Mysterium, in which all arts and all people would have been united. He left only sketches of the prelude to this piece (L'action préalable) and large amounts of text.