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Piano Sonata No.1 in F Minor Op.1

Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was one of music’s 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 Russia’s most brilliant bad boy.

However, the First Sonata (written in 1909 when Prokofiev was eighteen) hardly extends the language of Russia’s Romantic ancien régime, and there is more than a touch of Medtner’s ceaselessly flowing invention and of Rachmaninov’s 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 Russia’s musical die-hards, rather than tweak their ears and rouse them from musical lethargy.

©Bryce Morrison

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