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Sonata No. 4 (Scriabin): Wikis


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The fourth piano sonata (Opus 30) written by Alexander Scriabin in 1903 is in the key of F sharp major. It consists of two movements, Andante and Prestissimo volando, and is the shortest of Scriabin's sonatas (a typical performance is about 8 minutes).

Stylistic traits

The sonata is written in a post-Romantic style, similar to Scriabin's other works of the time, and the mood could be described as erotic. The first movement, expressive and calm, is monothematic (based on a single theme). The second movement, celebratory and climatic, starts attacca right after the Andante movement.

A more Romantic idea is the use of cyclic form in restating the Andante’s main theme (dolcissimo) as the ecstatic climax of the Prestissimo volando movement (Focosamente, giubiloso). This outlay appears closely related to the last two movements from the 3rd sonata, also linked by an attacca, where the climax of the finale likewise restates the lyrical Andante theme of the third movement. Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov often restated the lyric theme of the finale movement as climactic coda (for example in the piano concertos). Scriabin shows more boldness in using the ‘slow’ movement’s theme, and this may have led to further experiments with a condensation of form in the one-single-movement 5th sonata where the climax (estatico) is again a restatement of the Languido theme (dolcissimo).

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