Piano Sonata No. 10 (Scriabin)
The Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 70, was written by Alexander Scriabin in 1913. It was his final work in this form. The piece is highly chromatic and atonal like Scriabin's other late works, although arguably less dissonant than most of his late works. It is characterized by frequent trills and tremolos. It is sometimes called his "Insect Sonata", referring to his words:
"My Tenth Sonata is a sonata of insects. Insects are born from the sun [...] they are the kisses of the sun."
The atmosphere of the introductory pages of the Tenth Sonata is veiled and distant, like an impressionist reflection, but much more intensely elevated and spiritual. Trills soon sweep into every corner of the music, and in the last pages they are transformed into a glorious reverberation, as if shimmering with pulses of glowing light and taking on lives of their own. Such life and light/sound corroborations are typical of the composer's own imaginative world.
Unlike most of his other sonatas, the tenth follows the traditional sonata form. It opens with a few desolate notes, forming an augmented chord and then a diminished chord. Then, it moves on to a simple chromatic theme, and then back to the opening theme. Scriabin then introduces the luminous trills that pervade the rest of the piece, and then moves on to a third theme with a chromatically descending melody. Following the sonata format, these three themes take on a modified form in the development before settling down to the recapitulation. The piece ends by repeating the opening.
Like Scriabin's other sonatas, it is both technically and musically highly demanding for the pianist. A typical performance is about 12 minutes.
- Scriabin's Tenth Sonata available for download on UBUWEB (Aspen issue no. 2 item 3), along with three preludes and introductory comments by Faubion Bowers.
- Sonata No. 10 (Scriabin): Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project