WORKS: The Poem of Ecstasy; Symphony No. 2; Symphony No. 3 (The Divine Poem); Rêverie
PERFORMER: Chicago SO, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Danish National RSO/Neeme Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 241-5 Reissue (1986-91)
From the unique trajectory of Scriabin’s career – two decades of ecstasy in its old-fashioned sense and of egotism in its timeless one – come the Second and Third Symphonies plus the two Poems: music raised through the engorgement of sumptuous timbre and chromatic harmony to the richness of foie gras.
Alluring and even elevating, their flood of notes must also be rigidly measured by the conductor, which Järvi does, though not perhaps to create an illusion of truly overwhelming sound. Scriabin adepts and doubters alike should try the birdsong Andante of the Second Symphony, a movement that speaks volumes about the breadth and depth, both positively and negatively, of the composer’s imagination. Nicholas Williams