Most helpful positive review
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Scriabin for normal people
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.