Scriabin: Piano Works
Gordon Fergus-Thompson
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4829034
Barcode
00028948290345
Format
5-CD
About

Over the course of the 1990s, the Scottish pianist Gordon Fergus-Thompson recorded five albums of Scriabin on the ASV label. Long unavailable, they are compiled and reissued here for the first time complete with original booklet essays by Bryce Morrison.

Interviewed in 1995, at roughly the halfway point of the series, Fergus-Thompson remarked that he found ‘an essential continuity in Scriabin’s language. There’s a special sort of logic in the progress from the First to the Tenth Sonata. Scriabin was a new, entirely original kind of composer/pianist and even in his earliest works his flightiness and volatility are paramount. It’s an extraordinary experience playing and recording this music, alternately exhilarating and unnerving.’

Renowned both for his Debussy and his Rachmaninov, Fergus-Thompson is thus ideally equipped to elucidate the transient, haunted world of Scriabin. His playing strikes a balance between precision and spontaneity, between intellect and emotion. He faithfully mirrors the development of Scriabin’s style as it departs from the sideways romance of the Op. 3 Mazurkas and becomes increasingly fragmented, full of tensions abruptly set up and terminated.

At the point where the series itself was terminated in 2001, Fergus-Thompson had recorded the complete Etudes, Preludes and many other shorter pieces as well as six of the ten sonatas (Nos. 2-5, 9 and 10). Throughout the series, critics noted his refined tonal elegance, fully conveyed by the spacious and detailed ASV recording, and his innate feeling for Scriabin’s superfine intricacy and exotically perfumed harmonies in the later music.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN
CD 1
Étude, Op. 2 No. 1
Eight Études, Op. 42
Piano Sonata No. 4
Piano Sonata No. 5
Piano Sonata No. 9
Piano Sonata No. 10

CD 2
Two Nocturnes, Op. 5
Piano Sonata No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 3
Twelve Études, Op. 8

CD 3
Prelude, Op. 2 No. 2
Prelude, Op. 9 No. 1
24 Preludes, Op. 11
Six Preludes, Op. 13
Five Preludes, Op. 15
Five Preludes, Op. 16
Seven Preludes, Op. 17

CD 4
Ten Mazurkas, Op. 3
Nine Mazurkas, Op. 25
Two Mazurkas, Op. 3

CD 5
Four Preludes, Op. 22
Two Preludes, Op. 27
Four Preludes, Op. 31
Four Preludes, Op. 33
Three Preludes, Op. 35
Four Preludes, Op. 37
Four Preludes, Op. 39
Prelude, Op. 45 No. 2
Four Preludes, Op. 48
Prelude, Op. 49 No. 2
Prelude, Op. 51 No. 2
Prelude, Op. 56 No. 1
Prelude, Op. 59 No. 2
Two Preludes, Op. 67
Five Preludes, Op. 74
Two Pieces, Op. 57
Impromptu à la Mazur
Two Impromptus à la Mazur, Op. 7
Two Impromptus, Op. 10

Gordon Fergus-Thompson, piano

Track previews
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 15 in D-Flat Major
Sonata, Op. 30, No. 4
Piano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 23, No. 3: 2. Allegretto
Piano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 23, No. 3: 3. Andante
Piano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 23, No. 3: 4. Presto con fuoco
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 1 in C-Sharp Minor
2 Nocturnes, Op. 5: No. 1 in F-Sharp Minor
2 Nocturnes, Op. 5: No. 2 in A Major
Piano Sonata in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 19, No. 2 "Sonata Fantasy": 1. Andante
Piano Sonata in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 19, No. 2 "Sonata Fantasy": 2. Presto
Piano Sonata in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 23, No. 3: 1. Drammatico
Sonata, Op. 53, No. 5
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 4 in B Major
Sonata, Op. 68, No. 9
Sonata, Op. 70, No. 10
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 4 in F-Sharp Major
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 6 in D-Flat Major
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 7 in F Minor
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 8 in E-Flat Major
Etude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 2, No. 1
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 1 in D-Flat Major
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 5 in E Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 3 in B Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 11 in B Major
Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 9, No. 1 for the Left Hand
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 12 in G-Flat Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 13 in G-Flat Major
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 14 in E-Flat Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 8 in F-Sharp Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 9 in E Major
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 10 in C-Sharp Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 4 in E Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 5 in D Major
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 6 in B Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 7 in A Major
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 1 in C Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 2 in F-Sharp Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 2 in A Minor
24 Preludes, Op. 11: No. 3 in G Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 10 in D-Flat Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 11 in B-Flat Minor
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 12 in D-Sharp Minor
3 Pieces, Op. 2: No. 2 Prelude in B Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 6 in A Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 7 in B-Flat Minor
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 8 in A-Flat Major
12 Etudes, Op. 8: No. 9 in C-Sharp Minor
8 Etudes, Op. 42: No. 3 in F-Sharp Major
Recording information

Recording Producer: Alexander Waugh
Balance Engineer: Martin Haskell
Recording Locations: Henry Wood Hall, London, UK, 1990 (CD 1), 1994 (CD 2, CD 3); Hanslope Parish Church, Northamptonshire, UK, 21–24 June 1999 (CD 4), 1–3 November 2000 (CD 5)
Original ASV Releases: DCA 776 (CD 1); DCA 882 (CD 2); DCA 919 (CD 3); DCA 1086 (CD 4); DCA 1096 (CD 5)

Reviews

‘Gordon Fergus-Thompson clearly has his hands on the nerve centers of this music, and he has here given an all-too-brief collection of revelatory performances.’ Fanfare (CD1)

‘Fergus-Thompson’s playing is very fine indeed, particularly in the more fiery movements of the Third Sonata, cleanly articulated but still warm and atmospheric. The sound is ideal.’ BBC Music Magazine (CD2)

‘For those who wish to savour Scriabin’s often bewildering changeability without having their emotions torn to shreds, Fergus-Thompson is uniquely spellbinding in this repertoire.’ International Piano (CD3)

‘The elusive character of these fascinating and neglected works could hardly be presented more vividly and insinuatingly than by Fergus-Thompson.’ Gramophone, June 2000 (CD4)