Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18048
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Lance » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:54 pm

I have many recordings of Prokofiev's piano sonatas. Frankly, there's not much in them that I like, but all of you know how much I love piano music in general. I AM happy to listen to Prokofiev's piano concertos, particularly Nos. 1 thru 4.

I will be preparing a major concert here for a pianist who plans to play the Prokofiev Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82, composed in 1940 - and is the first of his three "War Sonatas." The work is quite a tour de force for the piano, which will go through its paces taking a good toll on the piano's hammers and strings.

I know the pianist personally; his favourite recording is that of Sviatoslav Richter. The pianist, himself, is a Russian who is blessed with inordinate talents in the interpretation and performance of music - and has a technique to burn very much in the Horowitz manner. He believes that most pianists are more involved with the notes rather than the full "meaning" of the piece and thus merely pound the heck out of the piano. We have had some discussion about it. American audiences do not often hear the Prokofiev sixth sonata (except perhaps in the big cities), and in all the years I've been preparing pianos for concerts (over 55 years!), not once have I prepared a piano using this piece. (Interesting, eh?)

How does the No. 6 rate with piano aficionados on CMG? Do you believe it to be a definite audience pleaser?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 20713
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by John F » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:33 pm

I remember vividly the first time I heard this sonata. Sviatoslav Richter played it in his Boston recital in 1960 or 1961, and it absolutely bowled me over. Still does, especially as he plays it on the live Columbia recording of his October 1960 New York recital. There's a driven quality in his playing, an abandon that I don't hear in other Richter recordings of it which seem a little cautious, and certainly in other pianists' as well.
John Francis

Donald Isler
Posts: 3013
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 11:01 am
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Donald Isler » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:03 pm

You've just reminded me, Lance, that I owe a letter to a friend who played it (and very well, indeed!) on her Master's recital years ago at the Manhattan School of Music, when we were students. Didn't realize it's so rarely heard. Don't think I have a favorite Prokofiev sonata, but I think the Sixth is a terrific, powerhouse work.
Donald Isler

maestrob
Posts: 6251
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:05 am

Richter definitely plays the piece well, and I like his rendition very much. Still, there are other pianists who have done the piece justice, most notably Anne-Marie McDermott, who I heard play it live more than a decade ago on a two-concert series of all the Sonatas (she's also recorded the complete Prokofiev Sonatas), and Frederic Chiu, who has recorded all of Prokofiev's music. Then there's Barbara Nissman, Glemser, etc.

I'm sure cliftwood will have a favorite version: I do love the War Sonatas!

barney
Posts: 3199
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by barney » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:36 am

I think this is a fantastic sonata. It's impact is intense and immediate. Certainly my favourite Prokofiev sonata.
I got to know it through an Ivo Pogorelich LP, and now have 5 accounts, two by Richter, plus Pogorelich, Kissin and someone called Behzod Abduraimov which I have no recollection of getting.
Yefim Bronfman gave a brilliant performance of it in Melbourne only two months ago. He obviously focused very much on this, having played a Haydn sonata rather lethargically first.

arepo
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 6:02 pm

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by arepo » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:05 pm

I love this work and find the percussiveness extremely attractive. As Lance points out, a piano tuner is required to be on hand at recitals. :lol:

There's a superb youtube entitled Yuja Wang at the Verbier Festival, with this artist on the top of her game.

Try recordings by Ashkenazy. Kasman, Berman, Giltburg and Kissin. Bronfman played it here at the Philadelphia Chamber Society concert and this work is perfect for a virtuoso of his status.

Overall, hard to beat Richter's rendition.

cliftwood

lennygoran
Posts: 14793
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by lennygoran » Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:18 pm

arepo wrote:
Overall, hard to beat Richter's rendition.

cliftwood
I listened to that 3 times from YouTube while sitting at my computer this morning-never heard it before-it grew on me-very nice! Regards, Len :)

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18048
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:53 pm

Well, that's that! I guess we will proceed and back up the pianist on his selection for our forthcoming reictal. In the meantime, I will reacquaint myself with Richter's recordings of the work.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

karlhenning
Composer-in-Residence
Posts: 9801
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 11:12 am
Location: Boston, MA
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by karlhenning » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:19 am

Love the piece without reservation.

Cheers,
~k.
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
http://www.luxnova.com/

Guitarist
Posts: 1160
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Davis, CA

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Guitarist » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:42 pm

barney wrote:and someone called Behzod Abduraimov which I have no recollection of getting.
Why not? He's an amazing virtuoso.

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17665
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:00 am

I much prefer the sound of jackhammers digging up the road, outside my window, on a day I have a splitting headache.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

Chalkperson
Disposable Income Specialist
Posts: 17665
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:19 pm
Location: New York City
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:06 am

John F wrote:I remember vividly the first time I heard this sonata. Sviatoslav Richter played it in his Boston recital in 1960 or 1961, and it absolutely bowled me over. Still does, especially as he plays it on the live Columbia recording of his October 1960 New York recital. There's a driven quality in his playing, an abandon that I don't hear in other Richter recordings of it which seem a little cautious, and certainly in other pianists' as well.
If I could draw a parallel here, on another thread you wish Richter had continued to churn out the Appasionata, night after dreary night.

He stopped in 1960, too many American Cocktails perhaps.

Yet you stick by his 1960 recording for another piece.

So, for you, dare I call it definitive?

The performing seal aspect of pianistic performance in the live arena always put me off going.

It put Richter off performing. Others too.
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

IN278S
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:09 pm

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by IN278S » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:01 am

I'm expecting the new Sony set of Richter next week, and it will have three recordings of this sonata: Carnegie Hall, 23 October 1960, first issued on Columbia LP; Carnegie Hall, 26 December 1960, first issued on RCA's "Richter Rediscovered" CD set; and Mosque Theatre, Newark, 28 December 1960, which will be a first issue. I'm predicting all three performances will be great, and the October one will still sound bad like it always did on the LPs.

John F
Posts: 20713
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by John F » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:22 am

I've been told by someone in a position to know that Columbia's live recordings of Richter's 1960 Carnegie Hall recitals sound bad because Richter, at the last moment, said that if he saw any microphones he wouldn't play. Since Richter had previously agreed for Columbia to record the recitals, this was unexpected, though it turned out to be typical of Richter who did this kind of thing repeatedly in later years. So Columbia arranged for Carnegie Hall to record Richter for them with a house microphone hung way above the platform where he couldn't see it - and the microphone couldn't hear him very well either. Since Richter came through with some fabulous playing, and since I've heard far worse-sounding piano records that I still treasure because of their other qualities, this never bothered me, but of course it does bother other people.
Last edited by John F on Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John Francis

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18048
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Opinions, please: Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 6

Post by Lance » Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:19 pm

John Francis, thank you for pointing that out ... I neglected to mention that Columbia didn't record it and it was Carnegie Hall's recording equipment used to record the concert - in mono only
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests