SCRIABIN - STARR; Etude pathetique, for symphony orchestra (an orchestration by Mark Starr of Scriabin's Etude, opus 8, no. 12, originally for piano)

Alexander Scriabin
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page one of SCRIABIN - STARR; Etude pathetique, for symphony orchestra (an orchestration by Mark Starr of Scriabin's Etude, opus 8, no. 12, originally for piano)

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Quite possibly, no piece in all of music has packed such extroverted passion into such a brief moment in time as Scriabin's Etude in D-sharp minor, subtitled 'Patetico.' Composed in 1894, it is the last of his 12 Etudes, opus 8, for piano solo. In its two-minute duration, Scriabin overwhelms his listeners with a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, building to a white-hot climax of musical self-immolation.

Over the years, I have heard many pianists perform this etude - but, in my opinion, none of their performances remotely approaches the searing intensity of Scriabin's own, captured in 1910 on a Welte-Mignon piano roll - which you can hear on YouTube at . (The Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos were the state-of-the-art in 1910, and in many ways their rolls give a much more accurate reproduction than cylinder recordings or even early discs.)

Perhaps, a symphony orchestra orchestra can convey the intensity and depth of feeling that, for me, Scriabin alone expressed.

For reasons of orchestral technique, I have transposed the piece from D-sharp minor to D minor.

Incidentally, the musical interpretation in both the Scorch playback and the MP3 demo (i.e., the metronome vales, the ritardandos and accelerandos, and the unnotated crescendos/diminendos) are modeled after Scriabin's recorded piano performance.

You can listen online to an mp3 demo file of this piece, made with enhanced digital sounds. Just click on the green button marked LISTEN TO MP3. If you would like to download this mp3 file free-of-charge for repeated listening or free distribution on the Web (unaltered and not-for-profit,) just right-click on the following link.

To save the mp3 file on your hard disk, click on SAVE TARGET AS…

I hope browsers will express their opinions about Scriabin's Etude No. 12 from Opus 8, and my orchestration of it - either in an online review or in an email to me. I am always interested to read the comments of those who have listened to my orchestrations and compositions. To send me an email, please click on the green button marked EMAIL THE PUBLISHER.

Score ID
Alexander Scriabin
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
2 minutes
Classical music

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