The A. N. Scriabin Memorial Museum
His art is one of the most remarkable musical phenomena of the early 20th century. A daring art innovator, he created a world of very peculiar new visions. In order to incarnate them, he found purely bright and ingenious music language, which extended music art expressive potential.
Scriabin’s music involves and absorbs a listener with its passionate performance expression, its epic charismatic spirit, and high intensity of expressed emotions. When it comes to talking about some characteristics, specifically peculiar to Scriabin’s music, such definitions come to mind as “dazzling”, “light-bringing”, and “flaming”… No wonder that one of his central works is named “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire”. A classical myth about Titan Prometheus, who dares to steal Olympus fire from deities for the welfare of mankind, demonstrates the idea of heroic challenging feat. Scriabin connected Prometheus origin with the concept of constant striving to vigorous activity, fighting against stagnation and depression, and overcoming obstacles. This striving permeates through all his artistic life.
The A. N. Scriabin Memorial Museum is the only museum in Moscow and one of few in the world, which was able to keep the composer’s apartment interior safe and sound. In Bolshoy Nikolopeskovsky Lane, 11, Alexander Nikolayevich spent three years of his life (from 1912 to 1915). Crème de la crème of Moscow intellectuals gathered in the house, the brightest representatives of the Silver Age, fertile in genius; they were Konstantin Balmont, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Jurgis Baltrušaitis, Nikolai Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, Leonid Pasternak, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Alexander Tairov, and many others.
The Museum was officially open to the public on 17 July 1922. Tatiana Schlözer, the spouse of Alexander Nickilaevich, became the first head of the Museum.
Furniture, which remained uncorrupted over so many years, creates the atmosphere where the composer lived and exercised his talent. Every exhibited bit of furniture was originally made by famous furniture designers of the early 20th century; a popular designer Gustave Serrurier-Bovy from Liege, who worked in Art Nouveau style, is among others. A dining-room suite, a bureau, a writing desk, some chairs, and favorite composer’s cozy armchair are some pieces of furniture of that style. Art Nouveau furniture was brought by Scriabin from Belgium in 1912.
Also the exposition demonstrates Scriabin’s documents, printed autographed papers, photos, letters, as well as posters, programs, manuscripts, and scores, which were edited in composer’s lifetime by Mitrofan Belyayev’s and Boris Yurgenson’s publishing houses as newspaper and periodical articles.
The composer’s private library consists of books and periodicals; it features editions of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. They are mainly philosophy and theosophy writings, works on ethics and esthetics, natural science papers, books of poems, and collections of newspapers and periodicals published in different years. Many books have Scriabin’s margin notes; that is the reason for the library to be reputed as unique. Up to the present day researchers of Alexander Scriabin’s art invariably address the composer’s library.
The Museum is interesting not only to professional musicians, but also to mainstream audience, as a typical example of a city apartment with Art Nouveau interior of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. Various lectures and concerts, literary meeting and recitals, annual music festivals, such as “Prometheus” and “Arbat’s cultural heritage”, participated by popular musicians and young talents, and multiple exhibition projects, all those are always in great demand among museum visitors.
A small estate, where the Museum locates, used to belong to Apollon Grushka, a professor of Moscow University. It is one of miraculously survived Moscow estates dating back to 19th – early 20th century. A stone dwelling house, where Scriabin rented seven-room apartment on the second floor, was laid in the early 19th century. Both the first floor and the basement date back to 1802. In 1850 the second story was added to the dwelling according to the project of an engineering architect Sergey Voskresensky. By 1903 the building had acquired the appearance, which has come down to us.