Scriabin Piano Works
This recital spans virtually Scriabin’s entire creative life, ranging from his early, Chopin-inspired but already idiosyncratic Op. 11 Preludes to his later, darker and more opalescent mysteries. Alain Cochard’s stylish accompanying note quotes Scriabin’s inclusive claim that he created “the world through the play of my moods, with my smiles, my sighs, my caresses, my anger, my hopes, my doubts”, a heady assertion hardly borne out in Pletnev’s surprisingly demure performances. By the time he reaches the Eighth of the Op. 11 Preludes he sounds more exhausted than elated and both here and in No. 14 Scriabin’s savage octave play emerges in a dim and apologetic light. He excels in gentler, more introspective numbers, clearly drawn to reverie rather than ricocheting virtuosity but in both the Sonatas Nos. 4 and 10, whether “soaring towards a star” or considering “insects born of the sun” (Scriabin’s descriptions) his playing is, again, oddly diffident and one-sided, particularly when compared with less muted, indeed razor-sharp and mercurial discs of the Fourth Sonata by Gavrilov (EMI, 8/86 – incomprehensibly not currently available) and Cherkassky, and with Horowitz’s blazing incandescence, his black fire in the Tenth Sonata.
These disappointing performances are not helped by Virgin’s lacklustre sound, and the overall impression is of a distinguished monotony.'