Recorded on 12/11/2007, uploaded on 01/12/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
music by Sergey Prokofiev includes two sonatas for violin and piano, the second
originally for flute and piano and revised by the composer. Prokofiev completed
his Sonata in f minor, Op. 80 in 1946, although some of the material dates from
1938. The work is dedicated to David Oistrakh, who also gave its first
performance. The composer collaborated closely with Oistrakh to ensure that the
solo writing is unforced, virtuosic and eminently suited to the instrument. The
piano part is also demanding, as Prokofiev was a concert pianist of
international stature. The work's tone is highly charged, fraught with
intensity and passion.
The first movement includes a short but
often-repeated four-bar theme which makes uncommon use of the falling fifth
interval. Fragmentary references to the first theme bring on a passage with the
violin playing fast scales over almost the full range of the instrument, while
the piano has a quiet, glassy chorale. Prokofiev said it should sound like
"wind in a graveyard". A return of the original theme is briefly
extended, and the movement ends on a poignantly empty chord. The second movement seems all about hammered
chords, relieved alternately by a march, passages of triplets, and a couple of tranquillo sections. The movement ends
fortissimo. The following andante is very
"French" in effect-misty and coloristic-in simple ABA form plus coda.
The final Allegrissimo is fascinating,
particularly for listeners who like math in their music. The basic rhythmic
pattern of eighth-notes, shown in its written metrical form, is 5/8 7/8 7/8 8/8.
The pattern goes five cycles at the beginning, adds three extra chords, then
goes around twice more (decorated by the violin) and most of a third time
before breaking down into its smaller components. A brief middle section is a
moment of relaxation before the math returns. The music heats up into a frenzy
before moving into a version of the first movement, which turns into a brief
closing theme and a sweet epilogue as the piece ends. Michael Cansfield
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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