“The Scriabin Case”. The Poetics of Scriabin’s Piano Works and Their Symbolist Analogies


Symbolism and its conception of piano sound, rhythm, and musical time and space will be examined against
examples taken from Scriabin’s late period, during which the composer produced unique creations and
interpretations. The symbolist features of Scriabin’s piano works will be compared to the literary, poetic
and artistic conceptions of Andrei Bely, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Konstantin Balmont, Mikhail Vrubel and many
others. Such stylistic and aesthetic features of symbolism as ineffable, indirect suggestion, noumenon, or
“arabesque” will be analyzed in this article. We will focus on the evolution of Scriabin’s piano style from the
creation of short forms and sonatas (50s and 60s opus numbers) to the last ones (70s opus numbers). As the
only figure of Russian Symbolism in music, and an outstanding one at that, Scriabine actually went beyond
the limits of Symbolism, seeking to give a new paradigm to Russian artistic culture at the beginning of the
20th century a nd to reach a “new form of spirituality” (in cosmism, i n stepping away f rom psychological
features, in “pure form” and in abstraction).