Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos 1-5

Reviewed on Tue 13 Aug, 2013

In 1991, Peter Donohoe recorded a stunning CD of Prokofiev's 'War Sonatas' trilogy for EMI. Many hoped – and expected – that the remaining sonatas would follow; 22 years later, we finally have our wish. Once again, Donohoe's authoritative playing shines through in every work – he has lived with these pieces for a long time. The short, one-movement First Sonata (the composer's official Op 1) is full of broad sweeping gestures: heroic and romantic in turns, it is unique in Prokofiev's output. Donohoe gives an urgent, compelling account, which is exactly what it requires. In the Second we are in familiar Prokofiev territory – motoric rhythms and angular melodic lines, which Donohoe delivers with bravura, panache and precision. Indeed, these are the descriptives that inform Donohoe's readings throughout. In his hands every sonata makes a memorable impression, and the Fifth, with its cool classicality, receives one of the finest performances I have ever encountered on disc. A wonderful anthology. Next instalment, please!
–Michael J Stewart