Thursday, March 31, 2011


Alexander Scriabin was born in Moscow, on January 6, 1872. He was taught music at an early age from his aunt. When he was 12, he began lessons with two prominent Moscovite piano teachers: Conus and Zverev. He commenced his studies of composition in 1885. In 1888, he enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory. He never showed much promise as a performing pianist, but he graduated with a gold medal nonetheless. He remained at the conservatory after his graduation to study fugue, but did not meet the requirements for the course when he failed the examination. Scriabin was offered a contract by a publisher who also offered to pay for his planned European tour. Scriabin performed some of his music in Paris in 1896 before returning to Russia where he completed his Piano Concerto. In 1897, Scriabin married Vera Isakovic, a fellow musician with whom he began to give joint recitals of his works. He began to teach piano at the Moscow Conservatory in 1898, and remained part of the faculty until 1903.
In 1904, Scriabin earned an annuity of 2,400 rubles from a successful Moscow merchant, Morosov. He seperated from his wife in 1905, and moved in with Tatiana Schloezer, the sister of a music critic. In 1906, Scriabin appeared as a guest soloist with the Russian Symphony Society in New York. He left America for Paris in 1907 for fear of moral charges being brought against him and his common-law wife; he had never been legally divorced from his first wife. In 1908, Scriabin signed a five- year contract with publisher Serge Koussevitsky worth 5,000 rubles annually. He signed in 1912 with another publisher, Jurgenson, for an annual salary of 6,000 rubles. Scriabin died on April 27, 1915 in Moscow.
He had developed blood poisoning from an abscess in his lip. It was once said that Alexander Scriabin's solitary genius had no predecessors and left no disciples. His incredible inventiveness in harmony remains unmatched. He had an unusual conception of tones, which led to some interesting performances. For example, Scriabin saw certain keys as being associated with certain colors: C Major was red, F-sharp Major was bright blue. This led some performers to accompany their playing of Scriabin's works with displays of laser light.

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