The first two decades of the last century were for Serge Prokofiev a period of intensive preoccupation with the piano. A virtuoso himself, he appeared in concerts in his own country, in Europe and in the United States, and as a composer he made an enviable reputation with this impressive Visions Fugitives and the famous Toccata.
The Second Sonata in D Minor, Op. 14 dates from this period. The enfant terrible of Russian music was 22 when he wrote it in 1913. Even if six more sonatas were to follow this one, it nonetheless constitutes, thriughout its four movements, an excellent visiting-card. Tender lyricism, violence and unbridled ferocity exist side in a particularly effective manner.
The opening "Allegro ma non troppo" shows us Prokofiev the pensive dreamer who was latter to write the most ethereal sections of the ballet, Romeo and Juliet. It is followed by an agitated "Scherzo" which clearly prefigures Le Pas d'Acier (The Age of Steel). A highly lyrical Andante creates a gracefully dream-like break. Finally the sonata ends on a "Vivace" with a joyous theme in 6/8 time. This last movement on the D Minor Sonata was to amaze Prokofiev's American listeners. One of them compared it to "the charge of a herd of mammoths across an Asian plain". A back-handed tribute to the composer's vigorous temperament ?
Philippe Olivier (from the booklet)
Prokofiev & Kabalevski
[Edition Emil Gilels/4]
Concerto pour piano n° 3 en ut majeur, Op. 26
(Editions Boosey a Hawres)
1 I. Allegro 8:56
2 II. Andantino con variazioni 8:52
3 III. Allegro ma non troppo 9:15
Sonate pour piano n° 2 en ré mineur, Op. 14
4 I. Allegro ma non troppo 6:08
5 II. Allegro marcato 1:51
6 III. Andante 4:58
7 IV. Vivace 4:21
Concerto pour piano n° 3 en ré majeur, Op. 50
8 I. Allegro molto 6:10
9 II. Andante con moto 6:05
10 III. Presto 5:10
Emil Gilels - p
Grand Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio d'URSS/Kyril Kondrashin - dir. [# 1-3]
Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio d'URSS/Dmitri Kabalevski - dir. [# 8-10]
Recorded in Moscow ; 1955 [# 1-3] ; May 1951 [# 4-7] ; & December 24, 1954 [# 8-10]