Monday, March 21, 2011

Le Poeme du Feu

I have heard it twice today. I went back to it. I heard the Martha Argerich/Berlin/Abbado version though I am posting below the Vladimir Ashkenazy version for its brilliant visuals.
Aleksandr Scriabin's Le Poeme du Feu - Prometheus is a great impressionistic piece of music creation. He uses fourth-based harmonies. This composition was a hit when it was first premiered on 2nd March 1911 with Scriabin as the soloist in Moskva with Serge Koussevitzky conducting. Scriabin died early at the age of 43 in 1915. This work would have made Debussy, Ravel and Glazunov proud.
The work's harmonic structure is evolved from a tonal centre in a six-note complex of different fourths (c f# Bb e a d). Here, the sound makes you feel that space has become time. For Scriabin, the theft of fire was central to the Prometheus myth. This symphonic poem with a piano accompaniment and choir is representative of Prometheus with the central theme narrated by the trumpets. The music describes the flickering and shimmering permutations of fire through piano and woodwinds with tremolos on the strings. Scriabin felt that Prometheus is the bringer of light and through sound and colour he reaches for the stars themselves as aptly showed in these visuals.

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