Scriabine, Alexander



Prominent composer of the New Russian School, and one of the most talented and promising of the younger symphonists. Born in Moscow, and manifested at an early age a keen interest in music. He was sent to the Moscow Conservatory when he was nineteen, and studied piano under Wassily Safonoff and composition under Taneiev. In his student days he wrote numerous preludes; mazurkas; etudes; and other works for the piano. At the end of five years he began his work as a teacher, but gave up this work to devote himself to composition. He had become, under Safonoff, an admirable executant on the piano, and during a tour of Switzerland in 1895 he won many triumphs as a pianist. He was received with great enthusiasm in Paris, Belgium and Holland. His first works were four sonatas and a number of poems for the piano; but he was more interested in the orchestral field, and devoted himself to composing in that field. His first symphony appeared in 1896 and his second in 1904. As a composer Scriabine is remarkably fertile, and has written morceaux; sonatas; nocturnes; a sonate-fantaisie; a concerto; and a reverie. His marked fondness for these forms has led to his being called the Russian Chopin. Scriabine is a marvelous interpreter of his own works, but is preeminently a composer, rather than a pianist. He made his American debut in 1905 with his own piano concerto, which he played with the New York Symphony Orchestra, with Wassily Safonoff, his former teacher, conducting. In New York Scriabine also assisted at a performance of his second symphony at Carnegie Hall. He has just finished his fifth work for the orchestra, which is entitled Poeme de 1'Extase, and is at work at the present time on a poem for the piano.