This is the second of Peter Dimitriew's projected cycle
of the Prokofiev piano sonatas, but it is also interesting to note that
he chooses to include a substantial selection of pieces beyond sonatas.
And The Tales of an Old Grandmother and the Four Pieces, both completed
in 1918 just after the composer's departure from Russia, are certainly
worth investigating. They also make this well-filled CD extremely good
value, the more so because they receive such dedicated performances.
Perhaps the best performance on offer here is that
of the Fifth Sonata. This is one of the less celebrated among the cycle,
and is a little problematic in that Prokofiev subjected it to revision
towards the end of his life, some thirty years after it was first written.
Dimitriew plays the revised version, and makes a most convincing case
for it, with particularly clear articulation, and suitable weight of
tone when it is required.
Although Prokofiev was himself a star pianist and made
his way in the world as a pianist-composer, his First Sonata needs rather
more conviction and imagination than it seems to receive here. It can
too easily sound rather like second-rate Rachmaninov. Likewise the Sonata
No. 3 could be more characterfully phrased and paced; perhaps Dimitriew
plays a little safe in the more hectic sections, demanding though they
The Seventh Sonata is, of course, one of Prokofiev's
greatest works in any medium. Dimitriew can certainly meet its notorious
technical demands. However, once again the response to some of the tempi
might have included taking more risks, not least in the final Precipitato,
whose title says it all.
The booklet notes are a little thin and generalised,
but as usual with Arte Nova, the recorded sound is warm and pleasing.