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Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

Isabelle van Keulen / Ronald Brautigam

Complete works for violin & piano

  • Type CD
  • Label Challenge Classics
  • UPC 0608917258028
  • Catalog number CC 72580
  • Release date 06 December 2012
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€ 12.95
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About the album

Sergej Prokofiev:
Complete works for violin and piano

Prokofiev’s works for the combination violin and piano limits itself to these few works, of which two are transcriptions by the composer himself. The Second Sonata was originally written for flute and piano, the Five Melodies are transcriptions from five songs written for the soprano Nina Koshetz in 1920. Misleading are also the opus numbers and titles of both Sonata’s: the Second Sonata in D major opus 94 had it’s premiere before the First Sonata in F minor opus 80. In 1943, in the middle of the chaos of the Second World War, Prokofiev composed the abundant Second Sonata opus 94 for flute and piano, the piece was premiered on 7th December 1943 in Moscow by flautist Nikolaj Charkovski and Swatoslaw Richter. David Oistrach was in the audience, and was so enthusiastic that he suggested Prokofiev after-wards to arrange the piece for violin and piano.

The piano part remained exactly the same, the flute part was transcribed for violin in collaboration with Oistrach. The premiere of the violin version took place on 17th June 1944. The first movement is strongly dominated by a repeated, gentle pastoral, alternated with rhythmical passages with a more martial character; the idiomatic material reminds in parts of Prokofiev’s 5th Symphony, which was composed in the same years.
The second movement is a Scherzo with a slender Trio, the following third movement is written in the shape of a Serenade in three parts: In the first part one is reminder of the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliette, the middle part is rhythmically more emphasized, only to be merged in the last part. The last movement is a Rondo, full of life and energy, and so overwhelming, that one could mistakenly take it for irony in it’s expression. This work, described by Prokofiev himself as a work in a 'gentle, flowing style', has been a favorite both with violinists and flautists, not in the least because of the contrasts between long, lyrical lines and deep feelings on one hand, dancing theme’s, humor and pathos on the other hand.

Darkness on the contrary is the main atmosphere for the First Sonata opus 80, premiered by commissionist David Oistrach, with pianist Lev Oborin. The rehearsals took place in presence of the composer, who
constantly prodded the artists to go to their limits of dynamics and expression. „Like a wind on a grave yard“, was the composer’s wish for the execution of the fast scales, con sordino, at the end of the first and last movement, to David Oistrach, who was deeply touched by the beauty and musical depth of this sonata. Prokofiev started composing his First Sonata in 1938, a time in which about 7 million Russians were locked- in in the prison camps, and another half million high society civilians were murdered. Two years previously he had returned to the Sowjet Union, he was composing non-stop and put the work on the sonata aside various times, in favor of composing several ballets, opera’s and film music; in this time he also composed the monumental piano sonata’s number 6, 7 and 8.


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