The Scriabin “Etude” Op. 42, No. 4 in F# is drawn from his Eight Studies published in 1903 during his middle period. Another pianist recently asked me why Scriabin wrote this piece as an etude at all. My thought is that in its own way, the etude is not unlike Chopin’s “Etude” Op. 10, No. 6 in E flat or Liszt’s “Paysage” in his Etudes d'execution Transcendante. That is, these composers believed that learning to play lyrical music was a necessary part of the pianist’s training along with fast and brilliant bravura playing. Scriabin’s Etude 42/4 focuses mainly on playing a cantilena line, including the voicing of chords that might occur within the line. However, unlike Chopin who took a more narrow view of imparting technique through a study of thirds, arpeggios, etc., Scriabin took a broader view of an etude in my opinion. Thus, in this piece he inserts other challenges too such as playing portato touch quietly and managing a contrapuntal bass line written in triplets. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing it.
Piano: Baldwin Model L Artist Grand (6’3”) with lid fully open
Recorder: Korg MR-1000
Microphones: Earthworks TC-20 matched pair of small diaphragm omni-directional condenser mics in A-B configuration