- Piece for piano in B flat minor, Anh. 16
The title Nuances is uncommunicative and has nothing to do with the ballet of that name assembled from Scriabin's music by composer Alexander Nemtin. Instead, this recital by pianist and Internet marketing phenomenon Valentina Lisitsa represents a very specific kind of program, and it's good to see her essay something like this rather than the mainstream repertory she has generally done thus far. What Lisitsa offers here is a recital that focuses on a composer's youth, and the signs it may offer of that composer's maturity. Much of the music here comes from Scriabin's teenage years, and was never published. It's heavily modeled on Chopin, but keep your ears pricked and you'll hear all kinds of hints of the later Scriabin. It's not a question of chromaticism, for Chopin at his most experimental outdid anything in all but the last few pieces here. Instead, Scriabin experiments with blocks of static texture, with decorations Chopin would not have used, with little unanswered harmonic questions. Sample the second of the "Two Impromptus, Op. 14" (track 16), for a piece that's right on the edge of what Scriabin would soon accomplish, some examples of which close out the program. Lisitsa doesn't do anything spectacular here, but the originality of the concept is notable, and she conveys the just slightly inward atmosphere of the earlier pieces effectively. Decca's Britten-Pears studio sound is very well suited to the project.