Thursday, March 29, 2007

Open Portal: Alexander Scriabin's Mystic Chord



Alexander Scriabin was deeply immersed in the theosophical teachings of Helena Petrovna Blavasky when he created his "mystic chord." Scriabin's composition, Vers La Flamme, was "considered to be influenced by Scriabin's theories of synesthesia; a condition wherein one experiences sensation in one sense in response to stimulus in another. It is doubted that Alexander Scriabin actually experienced this. His color system, unlike most, lines up with the circle of fifths: it was a thought-out system based on Sir Isaac Newton's Optics. Indeed, influenced also by his theosophical beliefs, he developed it towards what would have been a pioneering multimedia performance: his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas that was to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss."

Regardless of one's opinion of the psychic power of Vers La Flamme, it is an amazing, brilliant composition. The first time I heard it, I imagined "raspberry sherbert melting in the mind." Listen for yourself and decide what you think. Another pianist who has discussed synesthetic experience is Helene Grimaud and I am wondering if she has recorded, Scriabin's, Vers La Flamme and "opened the portal for listeners."


9 comments:

Zazie said...

Mmm... this sonote for the piano is beautiful! I like it!

This music I have to listen with closed eyes! It takes and catches me to another world, that I don't know...

Pizazz said...

I have synaesthesia. I hear this piece, at the beginning I feel it as a warmth in my lower belly, in a sort of breathing rhythm, and the colour of dark navy. It spreads out in a spike that goes both up my front and back, a yellow spike that spreads out and across my shoulder blades. Then it spreads out as an opaque cloud radiating from the base of my neck away from me and just surrounding me.

In other news, those curtains are ghastly, and why would you put a vase like that on top of a piano?

Princess Haiku said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Completely wild and tame at once, I feel about this piece; it's so finely crafted that is appears chaotic on the surface. Of course, there's still definite tonality and euphony, even with seeming atonality and definite dissonance. The integration of euphony and dissonance is what inspires me most, though.

Princess Haiku said...

Yes, it is gorgeous.

Allen J.M. Smith said...

It's a long way back to my college days, and my memory isn't what it used to be (I think), but wasn't it "Blavatsky" with a T? You wrote "Blavasky." I think that's wrong.

Lost-In-Symbols said...

Looks like it's been a while since you posted - anyway - I found your site fascinating - you call yourslef an aesthetics hacker - I call myself a reality hacker - Scriabin - I was just listening to Eric Dolphy tonight and thinking is like Scriabin.....

Princess Haiku said...

Thanks Allen, you are right.

Princess Haiku said...

Well, lost...there are realities and realities. :)