Prokofiev: Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28
The Third Sonata, like the Fourth, is based on old notebooks and previous outlines.
Unlike the Fourth, it has achieved considerable popularity and is the most widely
performed of the entire set. Brilliant, witty and concise, the Third Sonatas
dramatic alternation of motoric energy and elegantly disengaged lyricism (two of
Prokofievs hall-marks) has endeared it to many pianists. And it was long associated
with Benno Moiseiwitsch who, with characteristic aplomb, often commenced rather than
concluded his recitals with the Third Sonata.
Written in 1917, Op. 28 was first performed by the composer the following year. Fierce
chromatic gusts oppose the openings bold and percussive start, though the
musics equestrian rhythm and virtuosity are later stemmed as Allegro tempestoso
becomes Moderato tranquillo. Violence and assertion and Prokofievs
distinctive sweet-and-sour lyricism are joined and contrasted throughout, and a barrage of
chords and repeated notes climax in a gradual and sinister resumption of the prime
material, and the coda, with its sudden dip from fff to pp and back to ff,
ends with an emphatic confirmation of the sonatas underlying rhythmic drive.