The Poet of Fire: Aleksandr Skriabinâ€™s Synaesthetic Symphony â€œPrometheusâ€ and the Russian Symbolist Poetics of Light
AbstractThis paper discusses the synaesthetically informed metaphors of light, fire, and the Sun in Russian Symbolism and shows their scientific, technological, and cultural resonance in the novel experience of electric light in Russia. The essay studies the harmonic synaesthetics of Aleksandr Skriabinâ€™s symphony â€œPrometheus, A Poem of Fireâ€â€”which also includes an enigmatic musically notated part for an electric organ of lights, along with Symbolist texts concerning light and electricity and the synaesthetic poetry of fire by Skriabinâ€™s close associate Konstantin Balâ€™mont. The article investigates how Skriabinâ€™s Mystic sonorities and his language of colored lights square with the peculiar Symbolist engagement with scientific notions of electricity and light at the Russian fin de siÃ¨cle. Thus, it demonstrates the Russian Symbolistsâ€™ fascination not only with aesthetic synthesis and mystic transfiguration, but also with the sciences and technology: both with divine light and with electric light.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, UC Berkeley in its series Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt25b624gd.
Date of creation: 03 Aug 2009
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Aleksandr Skriabin; symbolism; Russian; composer;
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