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Alexander Skrjabin


Russian composer and pianist. He studied piano and composition at the Moscow Conservatory and then launched a successful concert career. His early music was mostly for piano (including études, preludes, and sonatas) but also included two symphonies and a piano concerto.


After 1900 he was much preoccupied with mystical philosophy and began using unusual harmonies, producing a third symphony and the Divine Poem (1904).


He became involved in theosophy, which provided the basis for the orchestral Poem of Ecstasy (1908) and Prometheus (1910); the latter called for the projection of colors onto a screen during the performance.


No longer thinking in terms of music alone, he made sketches for a huge operatic ritual, Mysterium, which was never composed.

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