Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2; Three piece from 'Romeo and Juliet'
Though himself a pianist, Prokofiev was inspired by several great violinists to compose some of his most candidly expressive music for their instrument. The greatest work recorded on these two albums is arguably the F minor Sonata written for David Oistrakh. A profoundly expressive work encompassing rage and grief, it was completed two years after the Violin Sonata No. 2 (itself an arrangement of his Flute Sonata) yet was designated No. 1, since Prokofiev started the work in 1938 at the height of the period known as Stalin’s Terror.
Still, one should not underestimate the Second Sonata. Its pre-echoes of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony are particularly evident in Vadim Gluzman’s lively account with his regular pianist Angela Yoffe. Unfortunately, Gluzman’s perky approach does not work so well in the First Sonata. His choppy phrasing and accents sound all too self-conscious here, compared to the more absorbed and absorbing interpretation by the work’s dedicatee, David Oistrakh. That said, at least two of the three excerpts from Romeo and Juliet which end the recital strike unexpectedly deep emotionally, proving an excellent complement to the Sonatas.