Scriabin - Symphonies 3 and 4: Even sceptics may find it hard not to be swept along

Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra concentrate on the big picture

Scriabin Symphonies Nos 3 & 4
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Artist: Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Scriabin
Genre: Classical
Label: LSO live

Scriabin was one of music’s most extravagant visionaries, whose personal adaptation of Madame Helena Blavatsky’s theosophical ideas became crucial to his thinking.

His Third (1902-4) and Fourth (1905-8) symphonies both carry subtitles, Le Poème Divin and Le Poème D'Extase, respectively.

The composer’s exotic and highly charged writing was stamped by a fondness for a “mystic chord”, which gives much of his music its distinctive harmonic colouring.

Valery Gergiev’s approach in these two works is to concentrate on the big picture, to paint the glowing orchestral surges in a way that’s soft-contoured rather than sculpted.


Even sceptics may find it hard not to be swept along.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor