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Alexander Scriabin

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Moscow, Russian Federation (1872 – 1915)

Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (Russian: Александр Николаевич Скрябин; 1872-1915, Moscow) was a Russian composer and pianist.

Many of Scriabin’s works are written for the piano; the earliest pieces resemble Frédéric Chopin and include music in many forms that Chopin himself employed, such as the etude, the prelude and the mazurka. Later works, however, are strikingly original, employing very unusual harmonies and textures. The development of Scriabin’s voice or style can be followed in his ten piano sonatas: the earliest are in a fairly conventional late-Romantic idiom and show the influence of Chopin and Franz Liszt, but the later ones move into new territory.

Scriabin has been often considered to have had synaesthesia, a condition wherein one experiences sensation in one sense in response to stimulus in another; it is most likely, however, that Alexander Scriabin did not actually experience this. His thought-out system of relating musical notes to colours lines up with the circle of fifths. Prometheus: Poem of Fire includes a part for a ‘clavier à lumières’ (keyboard of lights) though this is not often featured in performances.

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