Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was one of musics true originals. And after a
tentative start he produced a sufficient number of squibs to create a musical scandal.
Works such as the First Piano Concerto, A Diabolical Suggestion, and the Toccata
were graphically denounced as football music, fit only to win first prize in a
Conservatory in Hell. Within a reasonably short time, Prokofiev was firmly established as
Russias most brilliant bad boy.
However, the First Sonata (written in 1909 when Prokofiev was eighteen) hardly extends
the language of Russias Romantic ancien régime, and there is more than a
touch of Medtners ceaselessly flowing invention and of Rachmaninovs yearning
intensity and love of sequence. Written with all the exuberance of a young pianist anxious
to confirm his virtuoso status, Op. 1 is nonetheless opulent and fulsome in a manner
Prokofiev later came to despise. It is his first ad last attempt to curry favour with
Russias musical die-hards, rather than tweak their ears and rouse them from musical