Yefim Bronfman Recital

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Donald Isler
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Yefim Bronfman Recital

Post by Donald Isler » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:59 pm

Yefim Bronfman – Sleepy Hollow High School
Sleepy Hollow, New York
November 7th, 2015

Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 1
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 28
Schumann: Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Op. 26
Schumann: Aarabesque in C Major, Op. 18
Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14


It speaks very well for a performer when he is delayed in moving on to the next movement by audience applause inspired by his playing, not of a rambunctious fast movement, but of a slow movement of a Prokofiev sonata, played so beautifully, and meaningfully. Such was the case following the slow movement of Prokofiev’s Fourth Sonata at Yefim Bronfman’s recital on Saturday evening. The first movement has a dark character, and Mr. Bronfman made the most of it, from its murky, quirky beginning. The second movement has a great variety of expression, including a soft, otherworldly beauty, which was the cause of the strong audience reaction. The third movement had moments of delicacy and humor as well as power, and a very big sound at the end.

Indeed, this was an ambitious program to play outside a big city venue, as it included the first four Prokofiev sonatas, and two works of Schumann, but this large and sophisticated audience enjoyed it greatly, reacting with enthusiasm.

The program, which was dedicated to the memory of David Kornreich, who was for many years President of the Friends of Music, which presented the concert, began with Prokofiev’s First Sonata. It’s a relatively short sonata (about 10 minutes) which features tumult, as well as some stately, lovely themes but seems to be from before Prokofiev developed the very recognizable personality we know from his later works.

The Third Sonata, which is very well-known, had a vigorous but straight-forward beginning, a beautifully played, though not sentimental second theme, a demonic development section, great clarity in the recapitulation, and great speed at the end.

One does not hear the Faschingsshwank often so it was good to hear it on this occasion. Special features of this performance included extra time and extreme softness, highlighting the poignancy of the second movement, and the gentle, jocular Scherzino.

Following a very fine reading of the Arabesque (which specific performance the pianist dedicated to the memory of Mr. Kornreich) Mr. Bronfman plunged into the angular first theme of the beginning of the Prokofiev Second Sonata. He brought out the moodiness and tempestuosness of the second movement, which was followed by the quietly threatening and disturbing slow movement. Hearing Mr. Bronfman play this, as well as the slow movement of the Fourth Sonata made me reassess my thoughts about Prokofiev slow movements. They can be not only beautifully atmospheric and emotional, but deeper than I had previously realized. The last movement was given a terrifically fast, and bracing reading, which, again produced an enthusiastic reaction from the audience.

Mr. Bronfman played one encore, a fleet, understated performance of Chopin’s F Major Etude, Op. 10, No. 8.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

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Re: Yefim Bronfman Recital

Post by Ricordanza » Thu Nov 12, 2015 7:14 am

Don, now I'm really glad that I encouraged you to go to this recital. Thanks for posting this review.

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