- Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat major ("War Sonata 2/Stalingrad"), Op. 83
- Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major ("War Sonata 3"), Op. 84
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 7 & 8 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I must admit, when I first heard this recording I was impressed by the clarity and technical precision of Bronfman's playing. His playing is, overall, quite excellent: I would expect nothing less from a pianist of his stature and reputation. However, I believe that the discerning listener might not be too satisfied with this recording. Bronfman's executions of both sonatas are technically dazzling, yet lack in artistic interpretation. The first movement of the seventh sonata IS too fast. Prokofiev marked it as "Allegro inquieto"; a speed which is normally suggested around 120 bpm. It is not marked vivace, presto, or even allegro scherzando. He is also lacking a sort of mysterious quality which other players, most notably Pollini, possess while playing this Sonata. Once again this is most evident in the first movement. The last movement of the seventh is played brilliantly and precisely, fully conveying what I believe Prokofiev meant while writing this piece. I am also disappointed in Bronfman's interpretation of the first movement of the 8th sonata. It is marked "Andante dolce", and once again Bronfman rushes, playing it more at a "Moderato" rather than an andante. In addition his playing lacks this quality of bittersweetness which I believe Prokofiev intended in this movement: a beautiful first theme with an eriee undercurrent. The most important thing about the Sonata-Allegro form is the contrast of thematic and tonal relationships. In Prokofiev's 7th and 8th sonata, commonly called the War Sonata's, the thematic contrast CANNOT be more juxtaposed. That is what makes the development section so interesting: the use of material from two strangely different themes. Bronfman ignores this concept entirely. The themes are supposed grow on to each other in an organic sense. I suggest Garrick Ohlson's recording of the 8th Sonata (recorded on Arabesque along with the Barber Sonata, the Bartok studies, and the Webern variations), and Pollini's recording of the 7th Sonata (Deutsche Grammophon, with Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Webern’s Variations, and Boulez's 2nd Sonata). Both recordings offer the pinnacles of 20th century piano repertoire, and both are considered the standard in terms technical prowess and artistic interpretation in these two momentous works.