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Sonata in D major, Op 94

composer
1943; originally written for flute
arranger

 
In 1943, during the Second World War, Sergey Prokofiev was in Perm to discuss staging his ballet Cinderella with the evacuated Kirov company. There he completed a Flute Sonata, Op 94. According to his biographer Israel Nestyev, its themes had been sketched before the war, inspired by the French flute player Georges Barrère. The Sonata became even more famous in a version for violin, transcribed at the suggestion and with the assistance of the Soviet violinist David Oistrakh. However it seems appropriate that the Sonata should now find new life in a transcription for another woodwind instrument, to which it seems particularly well suited.

The opening movement harks back to the neoclassical style of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No 5 of 1923 (which in turn appears to have inspired Poulenc’s Flute Sonata of 1956-7) as well as Cinderella. The second movement scherzo is initially light and capricious, but the piano part in particular introduces an increasingly sardonic tone, and the movement does not so much finish as precipitously wind up. There are further hints of disquieted emotions in the third movement, which has some thematic material in common with the third movement of Prokofiev’s then not yet completed tragic Violin Sonata in F minor. It also contains a striking passage of bluesy rumination: an admirer of jazz, Prokofiev at one stage held semi-clandestine meetings with fellow aficionados in his Moscow apartment in which he played recordings he had brought back from his foreign tours. Ultimately, though, the Sonata ends with an upbeat finale which includes in a central interlude one of Prokofiev’s sweetest melodies (which Poulenc, again, would recall in his Oboe Sonata, dedicated to Prokofiev’s memory).

from notes by Daniel Jaffé © 2014

Recordings

Glinka, Milhaud & Prokofiev: Clarinet Sonatas
Studio Master: SIGCD384Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Moderato
Movement 2: Presto
Movement 3: Andante
Movement 4: Allegro con brio

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