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Serge Prokofieff: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-9 on 3 CDs

Serge Prokofieff: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-9

3 CDs
CD (Compact Disc)

Conventional CD that can be played with all CD players and computer drives, but also with most SACD or multiplayers.

  • Artist: Boris Berman (piano)
  • Label:Chandos, DDD, 90-94
  • Order number:8816009
  • Release date: 6.7.1998

Product information

Prokofiev: Complete Piano Sonatas

A coupling of the Sonatas from Boris Berman's acclaimed recordings of Prokofiev's complete piano music. Prokofiev the composer-performer frequently played his own compositions, and those who heard him were bowled-over by the sheer energy and vivid colors he produced.

Among those who took up Prokofiev's music after hearing him play it were Horowitz, Gieseking and Rubenstein.

The First Sonata is a reworking of the second of six piano sonatas composed by Prokofiev in his late teens. The original composition dates from 1907 and in 1909 he dropped the second and third movements, revising the first. The Sonata adopts a rhetorical Russian late-romantic tone, in which general driving energy is the only trait pointing towards the mature Prokofiev.

The Second Sonata is a microcosm of Prokofiev's mature sonata style, and its avoidance of technical and expressive excesses has made it a favorite choice for students.

Two of the juvenile piano sonatas were reworked as the third and fourth sonatas. The Third derives from ideas set down in 1907 and the reworking took place in 1917, shortly before prokofiev began to work on the "Classical" Symphony. Like his first mature sonata it is in a single loosely structured sonata-form movement. The restrained, even brooding, quality of much of the Fourth Sonata may be as a result of the suicide of one of his closest friends, the pianist Maximilian Schmidthof. It is essentially a more introverted work than any of the other sonatas.

The Fifth Sonata was composed just before his marriage to the Sanish singer Lina Llubera and jsut after the completion of the vocal score of The Fiery Sonata to carry out a revision in the last year of his life, clarifying and adjusting the balance of the structure, especially in the final. The revision was given the opus number 135. Both versions are represented here.

The Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Sonatas are often grouped together as the "Wartime Sonatas". The sixth is the longest, most abrasive and painistically most spectacular of the sonatas, and has become one of the cornerstones of twentieth-century piano repertoire. Apart from its brilliance, the Sixth Sonata embodies a sense of conflict, and a depth of feeling far beyond anything in his earlier paino works.

The Seventh Sonata is a powerful and convincing synthesis of youthful exhibitionis and mature reflection on the most profound issues of the time. The dramatic sweep of the Eighth Sonata carries the listener through the two large outer movements. The central slow motion should be percieved as something more troublesome than the courtly slow-motion minuet it purports to be.

The outline of the Ninth Sonata was sketched in mid-1945 at a composers' rest home, where Prokofiev's favorite recreation was volleyball with the likes of Shostakovich, Kabalevsky and Khachaturian. It was not until the autumn of 1947 that it was completed, and, in a climate of increasing hostility towards the Arts, it was not performed until April 1951. It is a remarkably restrained work, never attaining the popularity of the three previous sonatas.

The Tenth Sonata was planned, but never realized. Only two pages survive based on a reworking of the E minor Sonatina, Op 54.


ยป... While other pianists ... have made the three mighty wartime sonatas very much their own. Berman's winning strength is his ability to master the youthful brashness of the first two sonatas with the same conviction as he brings to the larger-scale works, pieces of deep emotion and profound thought which have been largely under-rated. The recording is well-focused and natural ... "The Scotsman - July 17, 1998
  • Track listing
  • Details
  • Contributors

Disk 1 of 3

Sonata for Piano No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1
  1. 1 Allegro
Sonata for piano No. 2 in D minor op.14
  1. 2 1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. 3 2nd Scherzo: Allegro marcato
  3. 4 3. Andante
  4. 5 4. Vivace - Moderato - Vivace
Sonata for piano No. 3 in A minor op.28
  1. 6 Allegro tempestoso - Moderato - Allegro tempestoso
Sonata for Piano No. 4 in C minor, Op. 29
  1. 7 1. Allegro molto sostenuto
  2. 8 2. Andante assai
  3. 9 3. Allegro con brio, ma non leggiere
Sonata for piano No. 5 in C major op.38 (original version)
  1. 10 1. Allegro tranquillo
  2. 11 2. Andantino
  3. 12 3. Un poco allegretto

Disk 2 of 3

Sonata for piano No. 5 in C major op.135 (revised version)
  1. 1 1. Allegro tranquillo
  2. 2 2. Andantino
  3. 3 3. Un poco allegretto
Sonata for piano No. 6 in A major op.82
  1. 4 1. Allegro moderato
  2. 5 2. Allegretto
  3. 6 3. Tempo di valzer lentissimo
  4. 7 4. Vivace
Sonata for piano No. 7 in B flat major op.83
  1. 8 1. Allegro inquieto - Andantino
  2. 9 2. Andante caloroso
  3. 10 3. Precipitato

Disk 3 of 3

Sonata for piano No. 8 in B flat major op.84
  1. 1 1. Andante dolce - Allegro moderato - Andante dolce, come prima - Allegro
  2. 2 2. Andante sognando
  3. 3 3. Vivace - Allegro ben marcato - Andantino - Vivace, come great
Sonata for piano No. 9 in C major op.103
  1. 4 1. Allegretto
  2. 5 2. Allegro strepitoso - Andantino - Allegro strepitoso
  3. 6 3. Andante tranquillo
  4. 7 4. Allegro con brio, ma non troppo presto
Sonata for piano No. 10 in E minor op.137 (fragment)
  1. 8 Allegro moderato