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1872 - 1915

Etude pathétique

arranged for symphony orchestra by Mark Starr
from Scriabin's original, the Etude, opus 8, no. 12, for piano 2-hands

link to biography of Scriabin

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


Quite possibly, no piece in all of music packs such extroverted passion into such a brief moment in time as Scriabin's Etude in D-sharp minor, subtitled 'Patetico.' Composed in 1894, it is the last of his 12 Etudes, opus 8, for piano solo. In its two-minute duration, Scriabin overwhelms his listeners with a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, building to a white-hot climax of musical self-immolation.

Over the years, many pianists perform this etude - but perhaps none of these performances approaches the searing intensity of Scriabin's own, captured in 1910 on a Welte-Mignon piano roll - which you can hear on YouTube at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK2... . (The Welte-Mignon reproducing pianos were state-of-the-art player pianos in 1910; and in many ways their rolls give a much more accurate reproduction than cylinder recordings or even early phono discs from the same period.)

Mark Starr has arranged this etude for symphony orchestra in the hope that a full symphony orchestra might be able to convey the same intensity and depth of feeling that Scriabin expressed in his performance.

For reasons of orchestral technique, the piece has been transposed the piece from D-sharp minor to D minor.

The full score for Mark Starr's orchestration of Scriabin's Etude, opus 8, no. 12, is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website of www.sibeliusmusic.com.  Here is a link to the score:


The orchestral parts are available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions for concert performances and recordings.


2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets
4 horns
3 trumpets
3 trombones

duration: 2 minutes