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Piano Concerto No.5 in G Minor Op.55

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 5 in G, Op.55

To some degree the fifth and last piano concerto completed in 1932 and first performed by the composer himself with the Philharmonic under Wilhelm Furtwängler in Berlin on 31 October of that year, represents a reaction from the intense expression and formal complexity of the Fourth Concerto. But as we grow more familiar with this ostensibly brittle, almost frivolous work, it seems to grow in stature. There are serious concerns just a little beneath the surface of the first three movements: they take charge in the Larghetto, which attains to a climax of formidable emotional effect, and even reappear to check for a moment the hectic course of the finale. With all its disparate moods, the Fifth Concerto neatly exemplifies the fingerprints of his style identified by Prokofiev in his autobiography. The listener will need no signposts in identifying the shifting emphases among these distinct musical characters. But it is perhaps worth pointing our that the highly individual sound of the work, with its stratospheric keyboard effects as it were spangling the already brilliant orchestral sound, is pure Prokofiev, and takes the instrumental explorations of earlier concertos like the Second to their logical conclusion.

© Phillips


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