Piano Concerto in F sharp minor, Op. 20

Scriabin composed his Piano concerto in F sharp minor in 1897 at the age of 24. It is his first orchestral work and remains his only concerto. It is not a spectacularly virtuoso work as far as 19th-century concertos go; none of the movements have a cadenza, and it has anessentially lyrical character with expressive, passionate melodiousness, a sensitivity to timbres and a curiously floating rhythms. The opening movement begins with a horn solo; the main theme develops in the dreamy, improvisational, increasingly fast piano solo. Although throughout the work the piano dominates and often attests to the influence of Chopin, the orchestra is more intensively present and is more of a partner to the soloist than in Chopin’s concertos. Scriabin composed the Andante as a variation; the muted strings introduce the wonderfully melodious theme that is followed by four variations of different tempo and character, and the first variation rounds off the movement. The moderately fast sonata rondo-finale again attests to Chopin’s influence. The lyrical second theme, with vigorous harmonies is a very special feature.