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Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas 2,4,7 / Evgeni Koroliov, piano

Notes & Reviews:

Evgeni Koroliov, born in 1949 in Moscow, although doubtless an outstanding phenomenon in the international pianists' scene, still remains an insider tip, albeit one who has long enjoyed cult status. With his recording of the 2nd, 4th and 7th Piano Sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev, we can now finally obtain an item that was not available for a long time. The 2nd Sonata, composed in 1912, is characteristic of Prokofiev's formally strict and sonically original personal style. It is marked by a modern aesthetic; numerous elements take up futuristic ideas of the period that "idolize speed and sing praises of modern machines", supporting the hypothesis that there is "a beauty of noises" as described in the magazine Muzika, the voice of the Moscow avant-garde consortium shortly after this Sonata was composed. The 4th Sonata of 1917 has a completely different character, its first movement beginning with restrain and archaic grace - the oppressive sounds are explained by the dedication to a friend who had recently committed suicide. After many years abroad, Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s with a downright naive optimism. The 7th Sonata was composed there a decade later, about which Glenn Gould had the following to say: "The first movement not only contains some of Prokofiev's best music, but is, in open disregard of the Soviet musical maxim of direct accessibility, perhaps the closest to an atonal harmonic plan he ever applied."

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
Koroliov displays a great scope of sound, dynamic range, and character in this breathtaking recording. II is playful; and the last movement, truly in the spirit of vivace, is executed to perfection. I have never heard it played so fast. The range of sound Koroliov conjures in Sonata 7 is amazing. Koroliov has impressive interpretive power. His decisive control is absolutely captivating.


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