One of the most innovative composers in the transition between Romanticism and Modern classical music was Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. Starting out as a late romantic composer inspired mainly by Chopin, but from 1903 he becomes increasingly dissonant, and in his later (1907-1915) period his works becomes almost atonal, based on unusual cord structures and innovative chromatic effects.
Symphony No. 3 (1902-1904)
Scriabin was into mysticism, and very philosophical in his understanding of the world and his music. In notebooks he made complex diagrams, explaining his philosophical intension and the relation to his understanding of music. He had a color system, relating to tones and keys. In the extreme of his mysticism, for years, he was working on a last enormous piece called Mysterium. This seven-day-long work should be performed as a multimedia event with dance, lights and more, at the foot of the Himalayas, after which the world would dissolve. “a grandiose religious synthesis of all arts which would herald the birth of a new world”.
Mysterium: Prefatory “Part 1” (between 1903-1915)
Scriabin was very popular in Russia, and very influential amongst the composers of his time, highly regarded as one of the most important modern composers up to the times of Stalinism. In the West however he was mostly dismissed as unimportant, and it seems his “wild” ideas, blocked for appreciation of his musical genius, however that has all changed and today Scriabin ranks amongst the most important composers from the turn of the century, performed and recorded all over the world.
Le Poème de l’extase (1905-1908)
Scriabin noted special light effects to be arranged to his music, predicting the invention of special effects and lightshows in the late 1960’s by Pink Floyd and others.
Sonata No 9 Op. 68 ‘Black Mass’ .( 1912–1913)