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     Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) spent in Poland only the first twenty-one years of his life.
Born to a French immigrant, Chopin soon realized his musical ambitions and moved in
1831 to Paris.  He was loved, especially by women.  His sweet, salon piano miniatures
were popular.  Even without writing symphonies and operas, he was considered the most
talented Polish composer of the 19th century and became a founder of the Polish national
music school.
    Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28, were composed during eight years (1831-1839), and embrace 24 keys set in the fifth order.  The most noticeable and adorable is Chopin's melodical gift.  An abundance of beautiful melodies, which express a large range of emotional
states, characterize the cycle.

    Scriabin, Alexander Nikolayevich (1872-1915), one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, was born at Christmas and died at Eastertide according to the Western calendar.  He wrote that he was God, but died during hours of a simple blood poisoning
caused when he carelessly damaged a small pimple on his face.
    The huge evolution conceived during 43 years of his life brought Scriabin close to the
discovery of dodecaphony.  The addition of a couple years to his life would have made
Moscow the birthplace of the 12-tone technique.
    Though he started with admiration for romantic music, and his 24 Preludes, Op.11,
are sometimes considered a "diluted" Chopin, Scriabin's individuality was exposed already
in his early compositions.  Being a great pianist he was a master of pianistic effects and sonority.  Scriabin was versatile and absorbed major zeitgeists of his time - romanticism,
atonality and symbolism.  He was preoccupied by theosophy, synthesis of arts, theory
of colours, smells and touches.  It is common to read, that Scriabin rushed to the future.
In fact many of his ideas, for example, the realization of abstract ideas of darkness, evil,
divinity and ecstasy in music refers us directly to ancient Greek art and to the aesthetics
of his teacher Taneyev, who gave lessons in composition to ten-year-old Scriabin.
    Scriabin made major, revolutionary discoveries and established new branches of art
and science.  For example, Scriabin made researches on the positive and negative influence
of music.  Today this is a young, rapidly growing industry called "music therapy".  His accomplishments can only be defined as genius.  Becoming more and more eccentric and contradictory, Scriabin became neglected by Western society, which only recently took fresh interest in his heritage.
    Scriabin's late works and particularly the poetry created for these compositions bore the impact of two famous theosophists of that time - Helen Blavatskaya and Rudolf Steiner.  The poetry of Steiner and Scriabin is incredibly similar.
    The boundless ambition of Scriabin was revealed in his last composition - "Mysterium".
A performance of this work would last seven days.  It should be staged in the foothills of the Himalayas, in India.  The world would be transformed and dissolved into bliss by the end of the performance.  This mega-work would contain words, music, dance, perfumes and sensations of touch and smell.  The doomsday in which all characters would be in present, including Scriabin as Jesus Christ, did not come.  Only 72 pages of the introduction to "Mysterium" were composed.

    Igor Zhukov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1960.  He studied in the piano
class of Heinrich Neuhaus along with such giants of piano performance as Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels.  Starting in 1957, after his victory at the Marguerite Long Piano Competition in Paris, Zhukov played at all the major venues around the world drawing acclaim and recognition.  His interpretation of Chopin's and Scriabin's preludes is notable for freshness and delicacy.  Zhukov's performance embraces the best features of great Russian piano tradition.

2003 Evgeni Kostitsyn


Frederic Chopin
1. 24 Preludes, Op. 28 - 44:52

No. 1 in C major No. 9 in E major  No. 17 in A flat major
No. 2 in A minor No. 10 in C sharp minor No. 18 in F minor
No. 3 in G major No. 11 in B major No. 19 in E flat major
No. 4 in E minor No. 12 in G sharp minor No. 20 in C minor
No. 5 in D major No. 13 in F sharp major No. 21 in B flat major
No. 6 in B minor No. 14 in E flat minor No. 22 in G minor
No. 7 in A major No. 15 in D flat major No. 23 in F major
No. 8 in F sharp minor No. 16 in B flat minor No. 24 in D minor

Alexander Scriabin
2.  from 24 Preludes, Op. 11 - 18:54

No. 1 in C major No. 9 in E major No. 15 in D flat major
No. 4 in E minor No. 10 in C sharp minor No. 16 in B flat minor
No. 5 in D major No. 13 in G flat major No. 23 in F major
No. 6 in B minor No. 14 in E flat minor No. 24 in D minor

Total Time - 63:54


Igor Zhukov, piano

cover painting "Poplars" by Claude Monet

(1) was recorded in 1983; (2) was recorded in 1979.
Recording Engineers - Veprintsev and Buneyeva