Alexander Scriabin: Multimedia Artist c.1910

Of the fourteen composers whose work was played out during Marina Frolova-Walker’s talk at the British Library last month, only one warranted the garish accompanying graphic to help describe his peculiar artistic condition. In A Revolution in Sound: Russian Avant-Garde Music of the 1910s and 1920s, Frolova-Walker described the work of the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin and played a section from his Prometheus Opus 60 (written in 1910). It began, as we heard, with a very mysterious chord; one that Scriabin could have no doubt described in some of the vivid colours featured on the keyboard above. Having a form of synaesthesia, what Scriabin wrote in sound, he saw in colour. It was this that drove him to try and create what would have been one of the most adventurous multimedia experiences ever performed…

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