Classical Music | Piano Music

Sergei Prokofiev

Sonata No. 9 in C major, op. 103  Play

George Vatchnadze Piano

Recorded on 11/07/2008, uploaded on 05/31/2009

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

The Piano Sonata No. 9 in C major was Sergei Prokofiev’s last completed work for the piano—his Tenth Sonata was left unfinished at the composer’s death. After the emotional turmoil and violent outpourings of the previous three sonatas, known as the “War Sonatas” because of their period of composition, the Ninth returned to the simplicity, gaiety and wittiness of Prokofiev’s early music. Following such profound works, this last sonata of Prokofiev’s has been forced to live in their shadows. Consequently, it is the least known and least performed of its brethren, despite the quality of its music. Completed in 1947, it was dedicated to and premiered by Sviatoslav Richter on April 21, 1951. Eight years would pass after its completion, however, before it appeared in print.

Less than half an hour in length, the Piano Sonata No. 9 comprises four movements, ordered in a fairly regular manner, and which abound in lyricism. The opening Allegretto sonata form is modest and unassuming, with little need to make its presence forcibly felt. Comprising the inner movements is a nimble and virtuosic scherzo, followed by a melodic Andante tranquillo. Lastly, the Finale is in Prokofiev’s typical blithe and energetic style, yet not without its technical hurdles. Interestingly, Prokofiev achieves a unique unity among these four movements by foreshadowing at the close of each movement the opening theme of the next. At the close of the Finale, the first movement’s lyrical theme returns to create a serene and cyclical close to the sonata.     Joseph DuBose

1. Allegretto
2. Allegro strepitoso
3. Andante tranquillo
4. Allegro con brio, ma non troppo presto