Piano Concerto No. 1 (Prokofiev)

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Sergei Prokofiev set about composing his Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat major, Op. 10 in 1911 and finished it in 1912. A one-movement concerto, it is the shortest of his five complete piano concertos, lasting only around a quarter of an hour.

Structure[edit]

The concerto can be divided into three sections as follows:

  1. Allegro brioso (7–8 min)
  2. Andante assai (4–5 min)
  3. Allegro scherzando (4–5 min)

The first and last sections have a clear thematic relationship, as the concerto begins and ends with the same spacious D-flat major theme. The middle section (G-sharp minor) is darker but hardly less glorious than the other two, its climax abysmal rather than overbearing.

Prokofiev dedicated his first piano concerto to the "dreaded Tcherepnin".[1]

The concerto was first performed in Moscow on 25 July/7 August 1912, with the composer as soloist and Konstantin Saradzhev conducting. Prokofiev later wrote that Saradzhev "realized splendidly all my tempos".[2][3]

Prokofiev won the Anton Rubinstein Prize for his pianistic accomplishments in a performance of the work before the Saint Petersburg Conservatory on 18 May 1914.[4] Prokofiev proposed his own concerto for the competition programme, reasoning that though he may not be able to win with a classical concerto, with his own concerto the jury would be "unable to judge whether he was playing it well or not". The rules of the competition, however, required that the piece be published; Prokofiev found a publisher willing to produce twenty copies in time for the competition. The performance went well and the jury, headed by Alexander Glazunov, awarded Prokofiev the prize, albeit rather reluctantly.[5]

Notes[edit]

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