Recorded on 10/02/2011, uploaded on 10/02/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Sergei Prokofiev composed is Third and Fourth Piano Sonatas in 1917. Both sonatas bore the subtitle “D'après de vieux cahiers,” or “From Old Notebooks,” and were wrought from sketches the composer had made a decade earlier during his student years at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The Third Sonata, in A minor, marked a significant departure for the composer, its demeanor being far more serious than its predecessor. In the Fourth Sonata, Prokofiev would turn even more introspective. Like his First Piano Sonata composed in 1909, the Third is comprised of a single movement in sonata form. Where the First Sonata was segmented in its form and even derivative, the Third is evidently the work of a more mature mind, one that has learned to follow the natural course of its ideas and allows the form to proceed organically from them. It juxtaposes two diverse themes—an angular theme in Prokofiev’s “motoric” style, and a lyrical second theme. Both themes are then worked extensively in the Sonata’s development. The recapitulation abandons a restatement of the first theme, while continuing to develop upon the work’s ideas as the lyrical second theme returns in an almost unrecognizable transformation. A coda follows the recapitulation in which the second theme returns in its original form. The Third Piano Sonata is regarded as one of Prokofiev’s best compositions for piano, and, interestingly, was one of his few works to receive similar praise from critics. Joseph DuBose
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