Alexander Nikolajewitsch Skrjabin (1871/72 – 1915)
Mazurka op. 3 No. 1 in B minor – Tempo guisto
The Ten Mazurkas, Opus 3, were written between 1888 and 1890. At this time Scriabin was still an adolescent, but he was already finding something of the musical language so evident in later works. The ten mazurkas were published in two volumes by Jurgenson in 1893. Starting with the very first mazurka in the set, the Mazurka in B minor, the first bar reveals a characteristic tendency. Virtually all biographers of Scriabin dismiss these early works as under the influence of Chopin or Schumann. Although one may hear a harmonic turn or melodic phrase that reminds one of these composers, Scriabin creates mazurkas that are far more distinctive. Each one in the set is a poetic improvisation, full of magic and charm. The second, the Mazurka in F sharp minor, contains fresh modulations at each bar. The third, the Mazurka in G minor, is brimming with melancholy, reminiscent of Chopin. The fourth, the Mazurka in E major, has a floating, graceful theme. The Mazurka in D sharp minor, the fifth in the collection, is contemplative and the melodic line is more complicated. There are definite glimpses of later Scriabin works in the shadows of this innocent work. The sixth, the Mazurka in C sharp minor, is a curious, scherzo- like piece, with a pleading meno mosso section in G sharp minor. Next is the Mazurka in E minor, full of passion and with an unforgettable descending musical line. The eighth, the Mazurka in B flat minor, contains dusty echoes of Chopin memories, almost dream-like, with peculiar Scriabinesque glimpses. The ninth of the set, the Mazurka in G sharp minor, is regal and distinguished. Scriabin omits a tempo marking, but a deep melancholy pervades the work, despite some stormy interludes. The very charming tenth Mazurka in E flat minor, is wistful and playful. Scriabin weaves a complex tapestry here, with a middle section full of pathos and more glimpses of his developing musical characteristics.