Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Geoffrey Burleson

Committee Members

Norman Carey

Ursula Oppens

Sylvia Kahan

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Music | Music Performance


Scriabin, Performance analysis, Fantasy in B minor, Allegro de Concert, Allegro Appassionato


The piano works of the fascinating and enigmatic Alexander Scriabin have become an integral part of twentieth-century concert repertoire. A prolific composer, these works span his entire compositional life beginning from his adolescent years. Scriabin’s output consists of more than a hundred works for solo piano, mostly miniatures in the form of mazurkas, poems, preludes, waltzes, etudes, nocturnes, impromptus, character pieces, and dances. The ten sonatas have found an enduring place in the repertoire, and have been championed by pianistic giants of the twentieth century, including Horowitz, Rachmaninoff, and Richter. There have been numerous recordings and research devoted to the works of Scriabin, in particular the Sonatas, Preludes, Op. 11, Etudes, Op. 8, as well as a shorter works from his later period, such as the Vers la flamme, Op. 72. However, with the exception of the Preludes, Op. 11, Etudes, Op. 8, and the early sonatas, very little attention, both in the way of recordings and scholarly writings, have been garnered by his other works from his early period up to 1900.

Often dismissed as too Chopinesque and yet lacking an individual voice, four substantial sonata-inspired opuses from his younger years will be explored in this dissertation, ranging from 1886-1900: Sonata-Fantaisie in G -sharp minor, Op. posth. (1886), Allegro Appassionato, Op. 4 (1894), Allegro de Concert, Op. 18 (1896), and the Fantasie in B minor, Op. 28 (1900). These pieces have remained relatively unknown and thus have been neglected in recital programs and in educational settings.

Each chapter will be devoted to one of these works. A brief introduction and pertinent background of the piece will be presented, followed by performance analysis, which will focus on the design and architecture of the work, notable and unusual material (harmonic, motivic, and dynamic), resulting interpretative and technical challenges, and references and relationships to other works – particularly those of Chopin.