10 Mazurkas, Op. 3; 9 Mazurkas, Op. 25; 2 Mazurkas, Op. 40; Mazurka in F major; Mazurka in B minor; Impromptu à la mazur, op. 2 No. 3
Peter Jablonski (piano)
Ondine ODE 1329.2 76.48 mins
Scriabin’s Mazurkas have tended to be side-lined by his Preludes, Études and Sonatas, but they are little jewels, especially in Peter Jablonski’s hands. He’s helped by the warm, full tone of a Fazioli piano, richly recorded in the concert hall attached to the maker’s factory in Sacile, Italy.
The aura of Chopin inevitably haunts these dances, especially in the Op. 3 set, composed when Scriabin was in his late teens. But there’s greater intricacy in the texture, and the interweaving lines are beautifully brought out here with an ebb and flow of dynamics and rubato that never loses sight of the dance. Ten years later, in Op. 25, Scriabin was even more harmonically and melodically adventurous, with the music taking unexpected twists and turns and not always resolving easily. Rhythms are more elusive too, and this set poses greater technical challenges, sometimes lying awkwardly under the fingers. Not that you’d know it from Jablonski’s performances, which make light of the difficulties.
Minor keys predominate, but the two Mazurkas Op. 40 are in the major – nominally at any rate, although flirting with chromatic inflections in their brief enigmatic course. I’d initially been wary of a whole recording in three-four time, but the mastery of composer and performer is riveting.