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Alexander Skrjabin «Promethée. Le Poème du feu» | Promethée
Alexander Skrjabin, «Promethée. Le Poème du feu», 1916
Europäische Utopien seit 1800. Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk, Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (Hg.), 1984, S. 49.

Alexander Skrjabin «Promethée. Le Poème du feu» | PromethéeAlexander Skrjabin «Promethée. Le Poème du feu» | Promethée

Categories: Painting | Sound

Relevant passages:

icon: authorGolo Föllmer icon: authorJulia Gerlach «Audiovisions. Music as an Intermedia Art Form.»

Check as well:

Ivan Wyschnegradsky «Lichttempel»

piece of music

 Alexander Skrjabin
«Promethée. Le Poème du feu»

«Prometheus» is the last symphonic poem by the Russian composer Aleksandr Scriabin. An exceptional quality of the work is Scriabin’s conceiving as an instrument a so-called «color piano». In his time, the composition was no longer performed with the «luce» voices or the two voices for color piano (which first occurred in 1916, in New York, a year after his death). At least in part Scriabin was an «authentic» synaesthete. These self-invented analogies were the starting point for his arrangements and the second phase of the compositional rendering of «Prometheus». With «luce,» Scriabin designated two voices for color piano in which each tone was assigned to a color within an octave, meaning in similar colorings of the neighboring fifth-measure tones. In doing so, he aligned his ordering alias arranging of color to «the system of functional tonality that he had just suspended in the case of Prometheus» (Gottfried Eberle, Mysterium und Lichttempel, in: Europäische Utopien seit 1800. Der Hang zum Gesamtkunstwerk, Berlin Artists’ Program of the DAAD (eds.), 1984, p. 49). With respect to the colors, one of the two luce voices was aligned with the corresponding tonal-harmonic basic tones, derived in a marked elementary fashion from the systematic ordering. In the symphonic context, the second luce voice was then entrusted, formally and independently, with a different meaning regarding contents: the levels of light demonstrated the deeply psychological contents of the work’s narrative basis. It opens with a blue phase (in sharp) and – greatly intensified – returns to this tone color. Scriabin saw the blue in the beginning as «spiritual and etherizing,» as an original state of rest which finally develops to a phase of liberated human will (red-yellow) and culminates in ecstasy (an intense blue = a glowing sharp-major-tritone).
What is in part the uniting of the arts in «Prometheus» found its conceptual continuation in the unfinished sketches of Scriabin’s «Mystère». For the forthcoming generation, both concepts were deemed innovative as utopias for the merging of the senses in a universal artwork.


Julia Gerlach