Violin Sonata No. 1 (Prokofiev)

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Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op 80, written between 1938 and 1946 (completed two years after Violin Sonata No. 2), is one of the darkest and most brooding of the composer's works.

The work is about 30 minutes long and is in four movements:

  1. Andante assai
  2. Allegro brusco
  3. Andante
  4. Allegrissimo - Andante assai, come prima

Prokofiev had described the slithering violin scales at the end of the 1st and 4th movements as 'wind passing through a graveyard'.

The work was premiered by David Oistrakh and Lev Oborin, under the personal coaching of the composer. During rehearsals, Oborin played a certain passage, marked forte, too gently for Prokofiev's liking, who insisted it should be more aggressive. Oborin replied that he was afraid of drowning out the violin, but Prokofiev said "It should sound in such a way that people should jump in their seat, and people will say 'Is he out of his mind?'".[1]

The first and third movements of the sonata were played at Prokofiev's funeral by Oistrakh and Samuil Feinberg.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Barney Zwartz, A masterclass in Prokofiev, The Age, 5 July 2008. This anecdote was supplied to the writer by Boris Berman, who studied with Oborin.
  2. ^ Simon Morrison, The People's Artist, Oxford, 2009

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