Alexander Scriabin's Grand Niece NicoleThursday, April 06, 2006
At precisely 11am, every Saturday, Juan Castelao, Rebecca's piano teacher, knocks on the door. At 11:45 we have lunch. The language at the table is Spanish. It is a mixture of Rosemary's Mexican with a Canadian accent, my Argentine and Juan's crisp Oviedan Spanish. After lunch Rebecca and Lauren are read to by Rosemary while Juan and I retire to the living room to listen to music. This last Saturday we listened to Vladimir Horowitz play two Alexander Scriabin Etudes (Etude in C sharp minor, op. 2 no.1 and Etude in D sharp minor, op 8 no. 12). We then compared the performance to Glen Gould playing Scriabin's Piano Sonata no. 3 in F sharp minor, op 23. According to Juan he thought that Gould was the better pianist, particularly in the loud passages where the piano was banged percussively. I think I agreed with Juan, but I was initially swayed by the Russians' enthusiastic clapping in Horowitz's live Moscow version. Juan appreciates Gould's penchant for the perfection of a studio recording. I feel lucky to have a friend with whom I can listen to someone like Scriabin and have a discussion. The topic of Scriabin also gives me the marvelous opportunity to place here a photograph of his grand niece, Nicole Scriabin. She is posing by the very piano that Juan teaches Rebecca. It's a Chickering baby grand. Our piano tuner told us that Gould had a Chickering in his living room, too.