The Scriabin Etudes are extremely difficult to play, but magical to listen to. Their music ranges from the serious to the fanciful, sublime, and sometimes even silly (intentionally), but the technical prowess required to pull them off is always tremendous, and the musicianship of the performer always literally makes or breaks them. You've got to know when Scriabin was being ironic, sarcastic, romantic, passionate, or narrative. The slightest slip will spoil the effect; Ohlsson never lost the groove.
Garrick Ohlsson has the chops, the ear, and the heart for all these etudes. His power is reminiscent of Horowitz's performance of some of these works, such as Opus 42 #5, but he's no copycat. Every ph0rase is his own, and I'd go so far as to say that among his contemporaries, Ohlsson owns these pieces, easily on the difficulty level of Ravel or Prokofiev.
These are not only well-performed, but well-recorded and duplicated. If Scriabin is your music, Ohlsson is your...
After several listenings I cannot detect any gaps in this conception. Envision a fully mature performer, in perfect health, on his best day, on an optimum instrument, with optimum production equipment, with plenty of oxygen for clear-thinkingness... need I go on any further?
Lately, I've purchased/listened to Trpceski (another of the latest Eastern pianists). Ohlsson's recording easily reveals the complete futility of that impaired & overpriced effort at Scriabin.
My favorite track is the last one. Asmodeus of Tobit himself performing Op65 #3. Overall an excellent CD, you are spending the money wisely here.
Garrick Ohlsson, the great virtuoso with more than 80 concertos and a huge amount of solo recital programmes in his current repertoire, the artist with an impressive discography behind him (ranging form Bach and Handel to the most contemporary opuses), the American who in Warsaw some 40 years ago won the Gold Medal of the famous "Frederic Chopin" International Competition for pianists, is now worldwide recognized as the undisputed master of the Chopinesque style.
Therefore, his approach to the music of Alexander Scriabin seems at a large extent a natural and awaited step further on this line, since the Russian composer claimed for himself the quality of musical successor with regard to Chopin. Even the forms he expressed his music through were borrowed from Chopin's arsenal, involving especially miniatures such as nocturnes, mazurkas, preludes, impromptus or... studies, as the case is with the recording under consideration here.
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