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Scriabin, a Biography: Second, Revised Edition (Dover Books on Music)
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2004
The book is rich in facts and documents, you find there most if not all the important dates, places, pieces and persons. Scriabin's personal letters bring him very close to the reader - sometimes even uncomfortably close. Young creative persons reading that could lose their motivation to get famous - not everybody wants his or her private letters to be published like this. After reading this book it becomes nearly impossible to be as successful as Scriabin himself in ignoring his human weaknesses.
In this book we find some translated poems of Scriabin, including the "Poem of Ecstasy", describing in poetic language the same spiritual process as his Symphony #4 (Op.54) under the same name. Compared to this great music having many good recordings and easy to find in Internet, the text is almost forgotten by general public - it took some years for me to dig out the text in its original Russian language.
About Scriabin's philosophy and mysticism Bowers gives us the facts and citations with a slightly ironical bystander's smile. He understands Scriabin's seeking for ecstasy and the "I am God" thing that are so easy to confuse with escapism and "mania grandiosa". But he does not share Scriabin's exalted feelings and fails every hope of dedicated fans to serve this God together. Author of the biography is honest enough not to pretend that he has understood every little thing in Scriabin's ideas. He also avoids the primitive freudism that is too often seen in biographies. I recommend this book for every enthusiast of Scriabin who is not afraid of unveiled reality.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Mr. Bower's biography of Scriabin is more than a biography. It is at the same another window into the life of the more priviledged classes of prerevolutionary Russia before WWI...a virtual syllabus of names and personalities to be investigated in further readings. It is a lively illustration of a lost culture, a worthwhile addition to the cultural picture painted in Massey's THE FIREBIRD.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2000
A lovingly crafted insight into one of the greatest of musical minds. Extensive excerpts from letters, postcards, and notebooks yields a startling account of Scriabins progression from child prodigy to poet, philosopher, and composer. However this is not just a biography, it's presentation is akin to a Scriabin Sonata, with structure yet diversity and surprise. A joy for all music lovers and a must for Scriabin fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2008
My Great-Uncle Faubion wrote this book,and I can honestly say I find it to be the best biography on a famous composer that I've ever read. In school I learned of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, but never heard of Scriabin. It wasn't until later when I was told who my Great-Uncle was and started communicating with him and reading his many books that I learned about Scriabin. I read the book before I had ever even heard any of his pieces, and when I listened to them, it was as if it just all fit together magically. Yes, my Uncle was the first to tell you he could never completely understand all that was the enigma of Scriabin, but he came much closer than I think anyone else could to putting it into words.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2000
A lovingly crafted insight into one of the greatest of musical minds. Extensive excerpts from letters, postcards, and notebooks yields a startling account of Scriabins progression from child prodigy to poet, philosopher, and composer. However this is not just a biography, it's presentation is akin to a Scriabin Sonata, with structure yet diversity and surprise. A joy for all music lovers and a must for Scriabin fans.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2007
I own this book and personally I think the sellers are inflating the rating of this book. It is nowhere near magnificent. It is a good casual read, but I think there could be much better. The layout is confusing and at times inconsistent and incorrect. In fact, the catalog of Scriabin's works at the end of the book is not even complete. I would caution anyone to go to your local library and check out this book first before you spend over $100 for it. I bought it when it was in print and on sale for under $20 and that might even have been too much to spend.
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