• Bloomline

A new Scriabin

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

13.07.2018 | 'VISUALIA' | DAGBLAD vh NOORDEN

I just heard a music fragment on master pianist Marietta Petkova’s website. Scriabin. A magical moment. You don’t expect to hear this kind of poetry and sensitivity in the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915), based on listening to other renditions. Even the less fierce pieces such as the Preludes opus 11 often seem little more than a pale version of Chopin’s preludes opus 28. But the fragment that grabbed my attention was from Scriabin’s opus 11. Scriabin was considered an oddity for a long time. But that fragment on her website proves how lethal biases can be. I heard a new Scriabin. And I want to hear more.


Marietta Petkova is a celebrated pianist whose exceptional quality was quickly recognized in The Netherlands and far beyond. Her interpretation of Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux is legendary. She’s a pianist who knows how to reach the soul of music, whatever you understand by soul. But that’s what you experience. She leaves the score behind and gets into the psychology of the composer. She searches for the connection between the person who composed the music, revealing an underlying world of sound. That requires a finely tuned sensitivity and emotional maturity that few pianists possess. Whoever attends her concerts is sure to have an exceptional experience.   Marietta Petkova knows how to move you to the bone, and how to make even over-familiar pieces sound fresh. Mighty grand pianos like the Steinway melt like wax under her hands.


With Marietta’s playing, Scriabin reveals himself not as a lesser Chopin, but as an obstinate yet poetic composer, a master in balance and sophistication.

On her new double CD 'Préludes’ (Bloomline) she plays Sechs Kleine Präludien by Bach (BWV 933-938), Chopin’s 24 Preludes opus 28, and the 24 Preludes opus 11 by Scriabin. Her style of Bach and especially Chopin are a new standard. But I had not heard her Scriabin. With Marietta’s playing, Scriabin reveals himself not as a lesser Chopin, but as an obstinate yet poetic composer, a master in balance and sophistication. The refinement is in the details. Through a subtle interplay of the left hand and the pedal, Marietta Petkova focusses on the emotional core of Scriabin and Chopin, rather than their virtuoso qualities. This is what hits us unexpectedly.


Eric Bos | www.visualia.nl

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