Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Alexander Scriabin

Désir is the first of two works comprising Scriabin's Morceaux (Pieces), Op. 57. In the latter part of his career, he composed a number of sets he classified under the catchall Pieces -- the Opp. 45, 49, 51, 52, 56, 57, and 59 -- each containing two, three, or four short works. In many ways, Scriabin had become the master of the keyboard miniature, ever-facile and imaginative in creating mystical moods. He was unconcerned about dazzling the listener with Lisztian pyrotechnics, as evidenced here by the sparsely textured and glacially paced Désir. He could still write challenging music, but by 1907 was beginning to invest his works with a spiritual and cosmic sense. In Désir, Scriabin conveys not some sensual or materialistic want, but a spiritual or mystical urge. This two-minute piece opens slowly, its music moving forward with a stop-and-start gait, its ethereal theme a short-breathed creation that gradually develops greater range as it reaches deeper into mysterious spheres. Eventually, the music builds up, reaching a brief climactic moment before retreating to the subdued manner of the opening. The music fades slowly at the close, creating a mystical, even ghostly, atmosphere.