Alexander Scriabin – Symphony No. 3 “The Divine Poem” (1902)



Painting Info – “Dracula’s Castle” by Gaius31duke on deviantart.

I. Lento – 00:00
II. Luttes – Allegro – 1:04
III. Voluptes – Lento – 24:36
IV. Jeu Divin – Allegro – 37:03

“The only true romantic musician produced by Russia,” in the words of his friend Boris de Schloezer in 1919, Scriabin, a contemporary of Rasputin, was a loner, emotionally, temperamentally and stylistically removed from the last Tsarists to whose number he belonged historically. In the Mahlerian sense, his philosophy, spiritual and physical, was an embracement of the world. He spent his hours in mystic contemplation, in psychic transcendence. He spent his days looking for ecstasy, the “highest rising of activity …the summit”. He spent his years loving womankind. He spent a whole life worshipping the private mysterium of an astral neosphere only he knew anything about.. “I will ignite your imagination with the delight of my promise. I will bedeck you in the excellence of my dreams. I will veil the sky of your wishes with the sparkling stars of my creation. I bring not truth, but freedom”.

One of the legendary cosmic soul journeys of the twentieth century – massively imagined, massively realised, massively risky – the cyclic Third Symphony in C minor, the Divine Poem (1902-04), dates from a time of significant change in Scriabin’s life, during which period he left his teaching post at the Moscow Conservatory, read Nietzsche and Marx, seduced pubescent girls, abandoned his wife Vera and four children for a new young mistress, Tatyana, and went to live in lake-land Switzerland in the hope that such a refuge might release new ideas within him. Years later, the early writing of the symphony, at a country dacha near Maloyaroslavets during the spring of 1903, was vividly remembered by Pasternak: “Just as sun and shade alternated in the forest and birds sang and flew from one branch, bits and pieces from the Divine Poem, which was being composed at the piano in the next-door dacha, were flying and rolling in the air. Oh God, what a music it was!

The symphony was crashing and collapsing again and again, like a town under artillery fire, and then building and growing again out of the wreckage and ruins. It was brimming with an essence chiselled out to the point of insanity, and as new as the forest was new, full of life and breathing freshness”. In November 1903 Scriabin played through the piano draft “for the crowd of St. Petersburg composers, and what a surprise! Glazunov was delighted and Rimsky-Korsakov was also very favourable”. Announced as “a grandiose creation which transports the listener fantastically into another world”, the first “manifestation” took place in Paris on 29th May 1905, under Nikisch for a fee of $750. The Russian premiere in St Petersburg, on 8th March 1906, with Rimsky-Korsakov and Prokofiev at the rehearsals, was directed by Felix Blumenfeld.

The French language “programme” of the work -not so much Scriabin’s (lost) poem as a condensed explanation, by Tatyana and de Schloezer, her brother -centres on the Ego, divided into Man-God and Slave-Man. These forces struggle with each other, experience the discord and concord of human experience, and finally through unity and blissful ecstasy attain freedom “in the sky of other worlds”. There are three principal (sonata-form) chapters: “Struggles” (Allegro, “mysterious, tragic”, “red” C minor); “Sensuous Delights” (Lento, “sublime”, “whitish-blue” E major -the distinguishing key contrast of not only Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Second but also Liszt’s Faust Symphony); and “Divine Play” (Allegro, “with radiant joy”, “red” C major). A short germinal Prologue (Lento, C minor) encloses a trinity of leitmotifs: “Divine Grandeur” (a unisonal bass idea derived from the opening of the unfinished D minor Symphonic Poem [Allegro] of 1896-97; “Summons to Man”; and “Fear to approach, suggestive of Flight”. These are combined with, or are the source of, the many various ideas running through the work, reaching a climax in the so-called Ego theme (second subject) of the finale.

source

Fahad Hameed

Fahad Hashmi is one of the known Software Engineer and blogger likes to blog about design resources. He is passionate about collecting the awe-inspiring design tools, to help designers.He blogs only for Designers & Photographers.

28 thoughts on “Alexander Scriabin – Symphony No. 3 “The Divine Poem” (1902)

  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    Love this so much… certain repeating and incredibly memorable themes will suddenly play in my mind at random moments during the day… one of those pieces you can listen to over and over and always appreciate. I hope to have it sonically memorized, ingrained, so that I can listen whenever

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    Think that most of the pieces of Scriabin are (rather short) pieces for piano. How could this man conceive so large pieces with a perfect art of orchestration, which so many composers never reached by far? For me, this is a total mystery.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    As always, the tetragrammaton applies: "IMHO!…" Each to their own. De gustibus non est disputandem. But I performed in this piece twice in my long career as an orchestral violinist, and both times I had great trouble staying awake through all the repetition and unchanging solemnity. (This from one who always loved playing in Schubert's "Great" C-Major Symphony, even the thankless 2nd fiddle part!) Same reaction when I try listening to a recording (which often yields wondrous discoveries about pieces I didn't enjoy playing, like Sibelius 7th.)
    My soundbyte takeaway about AS: the SHORTER a Scriabin piece is, the BETTER, and those are excellent and fascinating! Waltz in Ab, Black Mass Sonata, the late Preludes and Etudes… his greatest strengths found in smaller forms. I've only read about his attempted opera, whose leading character as I remember is a Great Composer, endlessly singing about his inspired magnificence, and all other characters agreeing with him… Snxxxzzzzxxx…

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    baffles me at how many times "brahms" and "Mozart" have been mentioned as favorite composers by people but very rarely do you hear a person stating Scriabin as they're favorite composer. VIVA LA SCRIABIN. Brahms is garbage.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    wow! your channel i just found is great. Vlad Dracula castle is up for sale believe it or not. this sounds like concertgebau w/ maybe haitink? or close… ck out my channel… have some remasters from the 78 rpm error… works that only deserve the best… but long neglected… similar to what you are doing here….i love scriabin….never heard the 3rd i did hear in about middle to later middle sections a srcriabin interpretation of some of the leitmotiv and development (via scriabin view) from tristan & isolde vorspiel act 1… was well done and fascinating …. its great and so is orchestra my second guess after amsterdam would maybe be LA philharmonic… duh… Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; i was a little tired and missed the credit at begining… some really fantastic orchestras and chamber groups from scandanavian countries

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    Or try John Pritchard conucting the BBC Phlharmonic on Artium (if you can find it!) Still my favourite after many, many years!

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    I disagree with f1f1s : this is a very decent rendition of this piece, although I prefer Kondrashin's.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2017 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    Oh, why? The worst interpretation I have ever heard. Very sorry to write that, but this one is SO hasty… It is supposed to be The Divine Poem. Scriabin himself wrote such annotations as “divin”, “grandiose”, “mysterieux, romantique légendaire”, “fier, de plus en plus triomphant”… This recording does not convey Scriabin’s utter megalomania, his ambitions and vision of his uniqueness; it just recites the notes verbatim.
    Gergiev’s version is equally mediocre.
    Try Golovtchin’s one (Naxos)!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *