Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas (complete); Visions fugitives; Sarcasms; Four Pieces, Op. 4; Toccata, Op. 11

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Prokofiev
LABELS: Pierian
WORKS: Piano Sonatas (complete); Visions fugitives; Sarcasms; Four Pieces, Op. 4; Toccata, Op. 11
PERFORMER: Barbara Nissman (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 0007-09 Reissue (1989)
The virtues of Nissman’s Prokofiev, now available again thanks to Pierian’s ‘Women in Music’ project, become ever more apparent with time. Her intellectually rigorous focus allows few interpretative eccentricities, and the technical command is formidable: weighty when it needs to be, momentarily spacious to avoid potential congestion and undeterred by all but the handful of soaring fireworks towards the end of the Fourth Sonata. Prokofiev’s introspective vein is sometimes nudged a shade too forcefully into action – Chiu is supreme because he proves that rigour can occasionally afford to yield to expressive freedom – but the wilder the explosive force the more thankful one is for Nissman’s lucidity. There is one truly great performance, of the Seventh Sonata; not even Pollini has a stronger grip on its unquiet spirit. The shorter pieces on the third disc emphasise a time when the young Prokofiev was merely playing at nastiness and morbidity; again, Nissman pulls it all together. David Nice

Advertisement