Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



Avie Records £12.49 post free world-wide

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Sonata no.1 op.1 in F minor (1906-09) [7:41]
Sonata no.2 op.14 in D minor (1912) [17:55]
Sonata no.3 op.28 in A minor (1907/1917) [7:19]
Sonata no.4 op.29 in C minor (1917) [16:33]
Sonata no.5 op.135 in C (1923 (as op.38)/1953) [15:29]
Alexandra Silocea (piano)
rec. St. Dunstan's Church, Mayfield, England, 6-9 September 2010. DDD
AVIE AV2183 [65:16]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the first CD of young Romanian-born pianist Alexandra Silocea. Though Avie is a relatively low-key label, this disc has been released amid a certain amount of hype which has become almost de rigueur for young female soloists in a marketing industry that often focuses as much on image or even appearance as on musicianship. Thus Gramophone magazine labels her "Alexandra the Great", a slightly patronising epithet that has ensconced itself on the internet and found its way into Avie's blurb. Silocea's biographical notes in the CD booklet do her few favours either: after her concert debut in Vienna 2008, another in Vienna and one at the Carnegie Hall in 2009, she had apparently "established herself as one of the leading pianists of her generation" - if that is not silly, counter-productive hype, nothing is.

However, it must be said straight away that this is an excellent debut. Silocea has stated that her intention on this recording "is to give an interpretation very faithful to the score, without unnecessary or superficial effects. I have experienced quite some resistance in programming these works but I hope that with this recording, listeners will discover more than they imagined." She does indeed put Prokofiev's music first, giving an understated, intelligent, limpid and coherent interpretation - that of a musician's musician rather than a show(wo)man - of these under-appreciated works. She achieves this not only thanks to a fantastic technique - there is of course no other way through Prokofiev's sonatas - but on the basis of a thorough reading of the scores.
These are recordings that Prokofiev himself would surely have approved of. Which provokes two questions: firstly, why are these sonatas as a group - as compared with the glamorous 'War' sonatas that were to follow - not much more popular with audiences, performers and critics? There is far too much breathtaking invention, beautiful lyricism and astounding virtuosity in these works for any of them to be at all marginalised. And their conciseness makes it a simple matter to slot them into almost any recital - extreme technical prowess of the pianist provided, of course.
Secondly, why are there not more pianists who play them like Silocea? Few if any, for example, have mined some of the warmth and wit in the Fourth Sonata like Silocea does here. And her obvious fondness for the Fifth enhances its lyricism and rhythmic sultriness, leaving the listener wondering what there is not to like about it. Even Prokofiev biographer David Nice does not seem all that taken in his notes.
Of the five, the Second, Third and Fourth at least have been fairly widely recorded, and in roughly equal measure. On the face of it, Silocea has a lot of competition, most notably from Boris Berman, Frederic Chiu and perhaps Emil Gilels. Yefim Bronfman's complete sonatas, repackaged by Sony Classics in 2003 - see review - come closest perhaps in spirit to Silocea's interpretations. But recent recordings of these relatively unfashionable works have been few and far between, reissued box sets of past glories aside. In the last year or so, perhaps the only recommendable version of any of them has been Freddy Kempf's of the Second Sonata on BIS - see review.
Perhaps the most famous, not to mention infamous, recording of Prokofiev's first five sonatas is the one made by Joyce Hatto, or should that be her husband, William Barrington-Coupe, released on Concert Artist/Fidelio Recordings in 2005 shortly before her death, and warmly reviewed here! [nla]
The recording quality is high, if not quite exceptional - there is a tiny bit of background hiss in places, and Silocea's breathing is quite noticeable at times, though certainly not intrusive. The Steinway D piano plays its part admirably as usual. The trilingual booklet is glossy and informative, particularly David Nice's generous, if rather dry, commentary on the works.
This release is marked "volume 1 of the complete sonatas". The second volume - presumably in a double-disc set, as Prokofiev was not sufficiently considerate to make the nine sonatas quite short enough to be squeezed onto two discs - will pose a greater pianistic and artistic challenge for Silocea, but there is every reason to believe, on the basis of this recording, that she will be up to it.
Collected reviews and contact at


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.