(Born at Moscow on Christmas Day, 1871;
died there on April 14, 1915)
DE L'EXTASE), OP. 54
A SINGULAR and at times interesting composition. Victor Hugo has said that agony when at its height is mute. Some, on hearing Scriabin's score, have wished, no doubt, that this were true of ecstasy. Is the music really ecstatic? There are anthropological sociologists who find extreme voluptuousness in physical pain. Mantegazza has a chapter on this subject, a chapter that is not for the jeune fille. We are told that Scriabin in this music wished to express the ecstasy of untrammeled action, the joy in creative activity. Let the poem he wrote, and the title, be put aside; there are fine and original passages in the composition, and there is certainly untrammeled action. The themes themselves are not important, not expressive, not significant enough to warrant the extravagant development and the polyphonic complexity. There is also irritating repetition.
"Le Poème de l'Extase" was performed for the first time by the Russian Symphony Society of New York in New York, DECEMBER 10, 1908. Modeste Altschuler conducted. We were indebted to Mr. Altschuler in 1910 for the following information about The Poem of Ecstasy: