by JoAnn Falletta
After a recording hiatus of two years, the Buffalo Philharmonic was very happy to return to the studio to record again for Naxos. In March of 2020 (just a day or two before life shut down due to the pandemic), the orchestra and I recorded a CD of the music of Florent Schmitt for Naxos—a CD that went on to win the Diapason d’Or Award in France. We loved playing the music of this great French composer and are really glad that his extraordinary music is becoming known and loved around the world due to Naxos’ commitment to lesser-known masterpieces.
In March of 2022, we tackled a large scale symphony by the mystical Russian composer Alexander Scriabin—a profound and pivotal work in his compositional life. His second symphony shows the composer’s strong post-romantic roots, and looks forward to the world of mysticism that became his ultimate musical home. The piece—in five movements—displays superb structure and propulsion, and combines soaring romanticism with the radiance and fragrance of impressionism. The second symphony is less known than the companion piece on this CD—Scriabin’s masterpiece, his Poem of Ecstasy—but the symphony wonderfully illustrates his color, warmth and presence. Scriabin’s synesthesia—his rare ability to see specific colors when hearing musical pitches and keys—deeply informs the symphony, and the listener can actually imagine the visual colors represented by the composer’s astonishing tonal vocabulary.
The BPO musicians and I were delighted to discover and explore this wonderful work, and we want to thank our superb producers Bernd Gottinger and Tim Handley for their guidance and musicianship. As always, the orchestra and I are extremely grateful to Klaus Heymann for his legendary vision, passion and endless curiosity about music.