By Boris Berman
Sergei Prokofiev is one in every of my favourite composers, and i've played a number of of his sonatas with hopes to play extra sooner or later. whilst i found that Boris Berman, whose Prokofiev recordings i like, had written a e-book in regards to the nice Russian composer's piano sonatas, i could not wait to learn it. i finished up being disillusioned within the end result, however.
Going into this publication, i used to be hoping for whatever alongside the strains of Messiaen, by means of Peter Hill (another wonderful pianist) and Nigel Simeone, which delved into the letters and musical sketches of one other of my favourite composers to offer a deep portrait of his lifestyles and works. Berman does draw on convinced Russian resources which are primarily inaccessible to western readers, yet too usually in a superficial manner basically (e.g. "Givi Ordzhonikidze saw one other trait of the 9th Sonata: the real function performed by way of the imagery of children," p 194--here Berman only rates one other author's opinion with out remark, instead of drawing on a few basic source). there has been a few super precious details that I hadn't obvious somewhere else, despite the fact that, reminiscent of the comparability of Prokofiev's manuscript for the 9th Sonata with the printed model, which has numerous errors. I want Berman have been capable of seek advice extra manuscripts, sketches, and so on, as this may have made for a extra enlightening book.
After chapters discussing Prokofiev's existence as a composer and pianist, respectively, Berman considers every one sonata separately. every one of those chapters has major sections: "Listening heavily" and "Master Class." within the former, Berman supplies a chronological account of what occurs in each one circulation. whilst writing verbal descriptions of tune, it's demanding to debate particular information with out being lethal dull. Too usually Berman writes sentences just like the following: "The moment subject takes form progressively; first an extended D-sharp looks, preceded through grace notes (m. 37, 01:08); within the following bar the D-sharp alterations to a D; within the succeeding bar the D, now an octave better, is preceded through 3 grace notes" (p 86, within the bankruptcy at the Fourth Sonata). within the parlance of activities announcers, i'd have favored extra colour statement and no more play-by-play. Berman may have conveyed an analogous info even more successfully with an easy representation from Prokofiev's ranking. There are a few musical examples within the publication, yet Berman may have used many extra. with no them, readers are pressured to refer to their very own ranking (to which they need to provide their very own degree numbers to stick with Berman's descriptions, a minor nuisance in itself) or hear alongside to Berman's personal recordings, for which he has provided timings as within the sentence I quoted above.
In the second one portion of each one sonata bankruptcy, Berman provides us a digital "Master Class," with himself as instructor and the reader as scholar performer. the following he offers this sort of useful feedback which can come in basic terms from having studied and played those works intensive. i did not continuously trust his conclusions, yet i feel those sections confirmed his presents as a instructor and musician greater than the previous "Listening heavily" sections.
I imagine this booklet will end up most beneficial to pianists who're attempting to research one in every of Prokofiev's sonatas, instead of the final reader. i am hoping to profit the 8th Sonata at some point, and that i will surely seek advice this publication as i'm getting ready it for functionality. yet meanwhile, i'm going to carry out wish for a greater ebook at the similar topic.
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Extra resources for Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas: A Guide for the Listener and the Performer
Facility but at other times he could not play a simple scale or an ordinary arpeggio. . Seryozha’s chief trouble was the incorrect hand position. Technically his playing was careless and inaccurate, his phrasing was poor and he paid little attention to detail. . ”1 Having entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1905, Prokoﬁev became a piano student of Alexander Winkler. He later remembered that, at his ﬁrst lesson, Winkler “said that for some two weeks I would have to play only exercises aimed to strengthen the ﬁngers and to develop the wrist.
119 (1949), and the Seventh Symphony, op. 131 (1951–52), although marked by the same self-conscious “simplicity,” still show Prokoﬁev’s individuality and genius. Mira Mendelson-Prokoﬁeva wrote: In the last months of his life . . Prokoﬁev worked on seven compositions at the same time. A few days before the end . . , Prokoﬁev asked me to inscribe the titles of these works in the list of his compositions . . : Op. 132—Concertino for Violoncello and Orchestra, in three movements; Op. 133—Concerto No.
4 is played without pedal, thus creating a stark, severe character. In Vision fugitive, op. 22, no. 5, Prokoﬁev’s performance even disregards his own indication Pedale al Fine (pedal until the end), which is intended to create a polytonal sonic haze for the last twelve measures of the work (Ex. 19). A comparison between Prokoﬁev’s performing style and that of presentday interpreters of his music reveals some important di¤erences. While Prokoﬁev’s drive could be quite relentless (Suggestion diabolique, Concerto No.