Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin 6 January 1872 [O.S. 25 December 1871] – 27 April [O.S. 14 April] 1915) was a Russian composer and pianist. Scriabin's work initially possessed a lyrical and idiosyncratic tonal language in line with the innovations of Frédéric Chopin, but developed an increasingly atonal and dissonant musical style.
He would have been more popular in the short term, but he would have never written the transcendental masterworks that he did. Inany case, Scriabin never let a negative cash flow cramp his style, and he always lived beyond his means.
After performing his own works to very positive reviews Scriabin was engaged to compose for the Belaieff publishing firm, which included other notable composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov.
In 1898 he became a professor of piano at the Moscow Conservatory, an occupation with which he became increasingly bored.
Over the last five years of his life, he composed relatively little, as he was working on a supergrandiose project that he never completed. Scriabin's grandiosity, which had delusional qualities, might have diminished his creativity towards the end of his life and contributed to his destructive fantasies.
Scriabin's original colour keyboard, with its associated turntable of coloured lamps, is preserved in his apartment near the Arbat in Moscow, which is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Scriabin was affected by a neurological phenomenon known as synesthesia by which different notes stimulate the perception of different colours. This had an influence on his music.
While Scriabin wrote only a small number of orchestral works, they are among his most famous, and some are performed frequently. They include a piano concerto (1896), and five symphonic works, including three numbered symphonies as well as The Poem of Ecstasy (1908) and Prometheus
Scriabin recorded nineteen of his compositions on the Hupfeld and Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos in 1908 and 1910, respectively. Full score transcriptions of the piano rolls, which are included in the book, provide many substantial features of Scriabin's performance: exact pitches and their timing against each other, rhythms, tempo fluctuations, articulation, dynamics and essential pedal application.
Baker places Scriabin’s harmony in the perspective of voice leading, applying Schenkerian techniques of analysis to his music for the first time. He explains the great variety of sonorities and their complex relations within the framework of set-complex theory and introduces an original method of statistical analysis to survey Scriabin’s harmonic practice from 1903 to 1914.
He became a noted pianist despite his small hands with a span of barely over an octave. Feeling challenged by Josef Lhevinne he seriously damaged his right hand while practicing Liszt's Don Juan Fantasy and Balakirev's Islamey.
Scriabin was also heavily evolved in the teachings of Theosophy and in mysticism and his whole life and his music leaned more and more in this direction as time went on.
The Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was born on Christmas Day 7 January 1872, and died on Easter, 14 April, 1915. He was very, very famous during his lifetime, one of the greatest pianists every, but almost forgotten after his death.