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At-A-Glance

Length: c. 11 minutes

Orchestration: solo piano

About this Piece

“I am God! I am nothing, I am play, I am freedom, I am life. I am the boundary. I am the peak.” –Alexander Scriabin

Scriabin was greatly influenced by Chopin in his early music, composing a set of 24 preludes like Chopin, as well as numerous nocturnes and mazurkas. He was also much under the influence of theosophy, and his ten piano sonatas are all, in some measure, programmatic works expressing mystical ecstasy. The Fourth, composed in 1903 and published the following year, is no exception. The poem he wrote about the work begins with the distant gleam of a star that calls to him. He takes flight towards the star in a leaping dance of liberation, and by the end, he has engulfed the star. This is reflected in the music, opening in calm, alluring reflection, then diving into a cathartic celebration; the original Andante theme is transfigured at the close, as the composer and the flaming star become one.

— John Henken