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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Alexander Scriabin: Russian mystic symbolist composer - complexity of musical analysis in his late one-movement sonata form
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Dr Mark Fitzgerald
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2011
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (216pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: The controversies that arose from the complex and many-faceted work of the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, (b. Moscow 6 January 1872; d. Moscow 27 April 1915), have continued to impact upon his assessment and interpretation by scholars and musicians right up to the present day. As a performing pianist, he stretched the piano to new limits of tone and touch. As a synaesthete, he placed particular emphasis on his colour-sound associations, and he also strove to capture abstruse, spiritual concepts of theosophy in his work. As a composer, he shared some of the ideas of the Russian literary Mystic Symbolist movement and he developed his own harmonic system, which anticipated by a decade the experiments of Schoenberg, Debussy and Stravinsky.
Musicologists such as Yavorsky, Dernova, Baker, Predlogov, Garcia, and Roberts have taken various approaches in attempting to analyze Scriabinís composition systematically. However, no single solution has been found. This dissertation explores these approaches from the perspective of their practical use to the performer or listener who wishes to delve more deeply into the complex, multi-layered content of Scriabinís works.
From Sonata No.5 onwards, Scriabin reduced the numbers of movements and polished his harmonic system, coming eventually to the one-movement late sonata form. Sonata No. 9, an example of this form, is selected as a test to assess the usefulness of the different analyses mentioned above from a performerís perspective and as a subject for a fresh interpretative analysis of Scriabinís dramaturgy. This work offers a wide range of material while being of a length which is within the scope of a Masterís Dissertation.

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