Spanish pianist Javier Negrín invites his listeners along an adventure through Scriabin's Travel Preludes, bringing to the Russian composer his Mediterranean flair and technical mastery.
In seeking to connect to the mystical truth beyond the physical world, Scriabin created a musical world all of his own. His feverish personality and his sensitivity towards higher states of consciousness produced a very special art, which tended to be either adored or ignored by his contemporaries and by audiences in general. I have always been attracted to this elusive personality, who only played in public his own music and was often criticized for his unpredictable rubato, his lightness of touch and erratic tempos. However, those who heard Scriabin play fell under the enchantment of his tone colors, his imaginative pedaling and the sincerity of his sentiment.
This is the music of a genius who deeply admired Chopin and his legacy, but who was at the same time very conscious of developing the unique qualities of his own art, even at an early age. Finding the right balance between the emotional intensity of his idiosyncratic language and the thoughtful discipline of his music has been the primary challenge for me time while learning and performing this repertoire.
This compilation of early Preludes reveals a whole new approach to the instrument, and takes the form of a musical diary which reflected Scriabin's experiences and emotions during his travels abroad, while never quite abandoning his natural affinity towards his homeland. Tracing Scriabin ́s musical footsteps in his visits to cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Witznaw or Kiev – he left a note at the end of every Prelude stating where it was composed -– has been a compelling, fascinating experience. The Travel Preludes were for me a spiritual journey of self-discovery, a point of departure towards a communion with the forces of nature and the ecstasy which Scriabin sought for the whole of his life.
“As if Scriabin had written for Javier Negrín”
LA PROVINCIA Guillermo García Alcalde
"Everything about his playing is poised and beautifully proportioned; textures are luminously clear, and he copes with Scriabin's subtle shifts of emphasis and texture very skillfully."
The Guardian Andrew Clements July 25 2013
"The little-known travel preludes of Alexander Scriabin, dating from the 1890s, sound more Mediterranean than Russian and the performer seems to need more than the average number of fingers and feet. Negrin, a Spanish pianist, tells a beguiling adventure story, rich in thrills and spills, and in a slightly swoony sound that is just right for these pieces."
La Scena Musicale Norman Lebrecht “CD of the Week”, January 15 2013
"The new record label Odradek features, on a wonderfully presented CD, one of Spain’s most prominent pianists, the Canaries-born Javier Negrín (1977). His Scriabin consists solely of the Preludes of the Russian composer’s first period.... given in complete cycles. The pianist displays an exquisite treatment of the instrument, a delicate sound palette, and a very deep knowledge of the typical universe of Scriabin, where Chopin (Op. 11 no 10), and in a certain sense Rachmaninoff (Op. 11 no 16) are the main points of reference. As if turning pages of the composer’s diary, every new cycle, every new Prelude is delivered in a distinct mood. This is perhaps Negrín’s intention – showing Scriabin’s different moods. Since no piece is written after 1896, we are dealing with a Scriabin in a process of crystallization, yet to arrive to his luminous final states. However, Negrín’s pianistic concept is very classical, and thus of much melodic beauty. The only ‘but’ that the disc might have is the excessively meditative and contemplative tenor that we find prelude after prelude, with constant changes of tone and atmosphere."
Ritmo Gonzalo Pérez Chamorro January 2013
"Spanish pianist Javier Negrín recorded the all of [Scriabin's] early Préludes for his CD with Odradek, the democratically controlled label... 47 in number,.. most impressive is the fact that all of the Preludes are treated with the same care and diligence, even those lasting only 30 seconds. Whether brilliant arpeggios, elaborate pedal treatment, breathing well-crafted arches, a soft cantabile of the right hand, a sense of the flexible lines or the sensitive balancing between growling consecutive octaves in the bass and the melody in the treble - Negrín mastered the requirements of these miniatures and, always with style, performs in the service of music, without any airs...
For those interested in Scriabin's pianistic early work... this is the interpretation that one should want."
Klassik Aron Sayed
“Seen in the overall context, this catalogue of Scriabin’s Preludes – 47 pieces in total – is an authentic portrait of the composer’s pianistic aesthetics. Written between 1888 and 1896, these preludes summarize the salient characteristics of his piano solo output: Schumann’s mercurial style, Chopin’s melodic sketches, Liszt’s virtuoso fireworks, and the harmonic palette of the French school. They are all short, with tight and concise development sections, of a clearly fragmentary nature, introductions to a story yet to come. They are at once very similar and yet very different to one another, and all connected. Listened to in succession, they seem to be the outline of a forgotten epic story, hence the mysterious charm that emerges from all the works of the Russian composer.
Negrín examines them meticulously and with authority. We know the rough, Slavic tradition of Scriabin interpretations (Horowitz, Gilels): with extreme contrasts, humorous outbursts, pathetic character. There is another Scriabin, in line with the interpretations of Gieseking and Magaloff, with a more collected temper, blending opposites, working with the instrument’s sensual sonorities, more concentrated and of a more intimate romanticism. Negrín enters into the latter tradition. It is, if you will, a Scriabin translated into the Latin sensitivity. Negrín’s fine touch explores endless timbres within a very clean and thorough reading. As we already said, one must care about similarities and differences. The meditative moments alternate with the more passionate, but they are always given with elegant discretion, achieved by the equilibrium of the high and low registers. Altogether, a reference recording that enriches the composer’s discography with a very solid and personal contribution.”
Scherzo Blas Matamoro
“He understands Scriabin's tiny statements (the beautifully fluent 51-second Op. 15 No 2)... and he also appreciates the importance of beauty of sound, as in the tiny droplets in the treble of Op. 16 No. 1... This is an important disc... from a talented young pianist."
International Piano Magazine Colin Clarke April 2013
“Javier Negrín is a good guide to the music, and plays with plenty of panache; he is recorded in a lively and resonant acoustic, and the piano is kept at just the right distance... Negrín carefully follows the composer’s detailed instructions, and adds a number of personal touches which always sound totally idiomatic.”
Music Web International Paul Corfield Godfrey August 12, 2013
“Negrin, a prize-winning Spanish pianist living and teaching in Madrid, plays them very well indeed, with a variety of tonal color and a consistently singing tone. The recording emulates a concert sound.”
American Record Guide