Here are 2 Preludes that my student is working on. She didn’t particularly like the way Horowitz played them — ha, everybody’s a critic! Of course there are wonderful performances on Youtube, but I decided to try them myself. I channeled my beloved teacher George Sementovsky, who has long since passed away. He and my other teacher Marian Filar were polar opposites (though they respected each other). While Filar was the no-nonsense classicist with dazzling clear passagework, Sementovsky was the colorist who, in his own words, “lived for blur.” His flutter-pedal technique could never be duplicated; it was his own.
As I was playing these Preludes this morning, I imagined his voice over my shoulder, with his thick Eastern European accent saying, “God gave you pedal. Use it!” and “Don’t break the line. Never break the line!” and one of my favorites, “Every finger must be diamond needle. You must inject the key.”
I never had the chance to study Scriabin or Debussy with Sementovsky — one of the great regrets of my life. But with my imagination working overtime, I recorded these Preludes this morning as if Sementovsky were coaching me. I hope you like them.
PS. It’s the next day, and my student heard my original recordings. She said, “Those opening chords should be bells from the distant mountains. Didn’t you say that?”
“Did I say that?”
“Yes, so why are you clobbering them? And shouldn’t that middle part be more playful?”
“OK, Ok, I’ll do it over,”
So here is Take 2 of the Prelude in c sharp minor.
Alexander Scriabin, Prelude Op. 11, #10 in c sharp minor
Alexander Scriabin, Prelude Op. 11, #13 in G flat major