>Summary for the Busy Executive: Stronger than steel.
>I tend to forget Prokofiev as one of the great pianists... According
>to contemporary accounts and reviews, Prokofiev's piano technique -
>formidable to the point of intimidating - came over as hard and glittering.
That's the way I like to hear him performed--and rarely do. Too
many performances of his piano music strike me as mushy. Not Richter's.
Would that there were more well-recorded performances by him. I like
Bronfman also. Probably best not to mention the ones I dislike.
>Prokofiev's stock has declined as Shostakovich's has risen. In
>recent years, one notes a tendency among writers to patronize him as a
>shallow, though musical petite maitre, a psychological lightweight.
Stravinsky tended to look down on him too, as I understand. But
Prokofiev had a tremendous stylistic range, a distinctive voice, melodic
and rhythmic inventiveness, and his tonality, if fairly traditional, was
yet fresh and pungent. I consider him one of the best composers of the
>The seventh [sonata] - the most widely-played -is the most direct, the
>most efficient, saying the most in as few notes as possible. It's also
>the starkest and most aggressively Modern of the three. The first
>movement is as tonally untethered as Prokofiev ever got, but the rhythms
>are strong to the point of brutality.... [The] last movement [of] the
>seventh... though undoubtedly powerful - always smacks to me of agitprop
>and bravado, possibly because Prokofiev attacks the material so
Not sure why you want to say that about the finale, Steve. It's opening
strikes me as jazzy, not a quality I'd think of as agitprop.