Recorded on 09/04/2010, uploaded on 05/30/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
With the Piano Sonata No. 2 in D minor, composed in 1912, Sergei Prokofiev distanced himself from the mannerisms of Rachmaninoff and Scriabin that had served as a model for his first foray into the genre. What emerged in its place was the composer’s own burgeoning unique voice and a style that would mature in the succeeding piano works. Comprised of four movements ordered in a typical Romantic fashion, the Second Piano Sonata is a significantly larger work compared to its predecessor. Yet, throughout the work Prokofiev handles well the requirements and nuances of thematic connections across movements. The first movement, a vigorous Allegro ma non troppo, juxtaposes two highly contrasted themes. In D minor, the opening melody is somewhat agitated and rushes with wild abandon towards a brusque conclusion, while the following secondary theme is lyrical, gliding eerily along atop a figured accompaniment. The following Scherzo is particularly lively, relying on an incessant motoric rhythm for its vitality, and is an example of the style of piano writing with which Prokofiev became associated. Venturing into the distant key of G-sharp minor, the Andante third movement is a lyrical contrast to the preceding Scherzo. Its opening theme is tinged with an archaic sound and casts a pall over the entire movement. Lastly, the Vivace finale, with its spirited principal theme and jazz-influenced second theme, provides a fiery and brilliant conclusion to the sonata. Joseph DuBose
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