Scriabin/Shostakovich: 24 Preludes, Op. 11; 24 Preludes, Op. 34

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Scriabin/Shostakovich
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: 24 Preludes, Op. 11; 24 Preludes, Op. 34
PERFORMER: Marta Deyanova (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5026 DDD
Scriabin’s early works show this Russian visionary firebrand still developing his prodigious gifts, very much under the influence of Chopin. The preludes, especially those of Op. 11, sometimes evoke and almost quote Chopin himself; at other times they contain in embryo the wayward world of his late works.

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Fergus-Thompson’s disc offers lyrical, Chopinesque playing with a particularly singing tone quality. My argument with this disc is firstly that the idea itself (all the early preludes) is flawed because of its intrinsic lack of variety. Fergus-Thompson’s playing is certainly beautiful, and the dramatic preludes are powerfully performed, in no way lacking in contrast; I do, however, feel a lack of fantasy. For instance, he could have made more of the references to Chopin’s B flat minor Sonata in the B flat minor Prelude in Op. 11.

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Deyanova on Nimbus provides a better balanced programme, interestingly contrasting Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, Op. 11, with those of Shostakovich. She also has the requisite fantasy to bring these works more intensely to life. And in the same B flat minor Prelude we notice not only the rhythm of Chopin’s funeral march, but also traces of that sonata’s wild unison final movement, Her Shostakovich is sharply observed and characterised. Jessica Duchen