Classical Music Sentinel

Divine Art Records push on with their fine overview of Russian Piano Music , and now with Volume 7 they focus their attention on one of the composers that defines Russian music, Sergei Prokofiev . The recordings gathered together on this CD are not new. They are all taken from ‘live’ performances between 2000 and 2005 by Russian pianist Sergei Dukachev , previously released as individual recordings on the Dunelm Records label. Thanks to Divine Art, they have all been collected together to fit nicely on one disc.

1- Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 14 (1912)
2- Visions Fugitives, Op. 22 (1917)
3- Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75 (1937)
4- Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat, Op. 83 (1942)

As you can see, it presents a far reaching overview of Prokofiev’s output spanning 30 years of his creative career. From the early tentative beginnings of the Sonata No. 2 to the steely, determined and assured demeanour of the Sonata No. 7, the barebones solo instrument essence of Prokofiev is omnipresent. The Visions Fugitives suite of pieces are often tackled by piano students as an initial foray into 20th century piano music, as it presents new and different expressive and technical challenges, as well as a strong exposure to the Russian music style. The piano transcriptions of Romeo and Juliet offer a personal and close-up view of one of the greatest ballet scores ever written. This solo piano version carves out a relief of the level of melodic invention now attained by a mature Prokofiev. And of course, the Piano Sonata No. 7 stands as one of the best examples of music to come out of Russia during the war years, and will test the mettle of any pianist.

Pianist Sergei Dukachev , who now enjoys a solid worldwide reputation, finds the Russianism within each work and places it front and center. His playing is constantly at the music’s service, and shapes the outcome of the composer’s vision clearly. Because the recordings were done at different times and in different venues, there are slight variations in the piano sound from one piece to the next, but not enough to be distracting. If you are looking for an all-in-one neat little package of the piano works of Prokofiev, you can’t do much better than this.

—Jean-Yves Duperron