Prokofiev: Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor; Violin Sonata No. 2 in D; Five Melodies

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COMPOSERS: Prokofiev
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor; Violin Sonata No. 2 in D; Five Melodies
PERFORMER: Pierre Amoyal (violin), Frederic Chiu (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907237
The warm, soft-throated lyricism of Pierre Amoyal’s approach to Prokofiev’s Violin Sonatas is reminiscent of Perlman’s recordings, with the same generosity of tone. The Allegro brusco of the First Sonata is particularly fine, Amoyal’s sparkling effervescence laced with a songful purity of tone. Frederic Chiu partners him with great sensitivity, his delicacy of touch apparent throughout, although his approach in the First Sonata’s Andante is unusual: over-pedalling creates a blurred, Impressionistic soundworld which does add to its air of exquisite stillness. The variety of Amoyal’s tonal colouring in the Second Sonata is impressive, from the scampering flair of the Scherzo to the tender wistfulness of the Andante and the bravado of the final Allegro con brio. Amoyal’s disc also offers the edgy charm of Heifetz’s arrangement of the March from Love for Three Oranges, and the Five Melodies, played with a supreme gentleness of touch.

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Brothers Jaako and Pekka Kuusisto take one sonata each on their Prokofiev disc. The piano is very forward in the First Sonata, Ilkka Paananen’s approach rather heavy-handed, and Jaako’s bright, brittle-edged tone colour occasionally lacks the depth of Perlman’s reading. His finesse and strength of expression are finally revealed in the explosive brilliance of the Allegrissimo. Pekka’s performance of the Second Sonata is more successful, sweet-toned and agile, the fluttering delicacy of the Moderato’s opening theme particularly fine, and Raija Kerppo gives eloquent support. The Sonata for Two Violins is compelling, the brothers combining virtuosic precision with a powerful intensity of expression. Catherine Nelson