Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Scriabin/Prokofiev
WORKS: Piano Sonata No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 5; Piano Sonata No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 3
PERFORMER: Jonathan Shin’ar (piano)
Scriabin wrote his First Sonata in 1892, as a young man of 20, and it clearly proclaims his delight in Chopin’s pianistic textures and in the chromaticism of Wagner’s Parsifal. Shin’ar’s performance is pleasing – expansive in the second movement, athletic and sinewy in the third, discreet in the doleful finale. He has a nice feel for balance and shaping, and he keeps the form on a loose rein though well under control.


The Fifth is the most frequently played of Scriabin’s 10 sonatas, and any pianist recording it has to compete with Richter’s sublime account on DG – an all-time great. Shin’ar comes through the test relatively unscathed. He has the measure of Scriabin’s bold contrasts of mood and material, though he fails to match Richter in the soaring moments of ecstasy.


Prokofiev’s first three sonatas are more overtly lyrical than Scriabin’s, with a more readily identifiable formal plan. Shin’ar gives the big treatment to the Romantically effusive First, and ranges from the acerbic to the reticent in the other two. The Second Sonata’s Scherzo is brittle and punchy, the slow movement subtly shaded, and there’s plenty of excitement in the finale. The sound throughout is clear and well focused. Wadham Sutton