Prokofiev: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 115

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COMPOSERS: Prokofiev
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi Les nouveaux interprtes
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 115
PERFORMER: Evgeni Bushkov (violin); Stephen Prutsman (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMN 911656
The First Sonata is sombre (Prokofiev described the scale passages in the opening Andante assai as ‘like the wind in a graveyard’). The Second is a glowing work, full of flowing melody, originally written for the flute but transcribed, at David Oistrakh’s request, given its full share of double-stopping, harmonics and pizzicato, and sounding as if it was intended for the violin all along.

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Bushkov and Prutsman are ideally matched, both displaying a clear affinity for this music. They pay scrupulous attention to dynamics and tonal shading and achieve near-perfect balance. In the third movement of the F minor Sonata the piano ripples delicately, its left hand melody judiciously emphasised, while the violin soars rapturously above. Parts of the finale sound like a titanic struggle – which is all to the good.

There is equally impressive control in the Second Sonata, Bushkov’s rounded tone and intonation faultless as the angular melody of the first movement twists and turns from one cadence point to another. The vivid, rollicking scherzo is taken at a headlong pace, and the final Allegro is sinewy and full of verve.

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The Sonata for Solo Violin could scarcely be better played, the intonation and style both impeccable. Wadham Sutton