Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Sonatas Nos: 2, 4, 7
Evgeni Koroliov (pn)
PAN 10281 (56:26)
Since I first heard them decades ago on a Vox box, I have been satisfied with the sometimes mild-mannered Prokofiev sonatas of György Sándor, who emphasizes the playfulness of works such as the first two sonatas recorded here, and their lyricism. Evgeni Koroliov is a bolder pianist in this recording: His dynamics are wider and more surprising. He is exciting, even if he makes stimulating but somehow innocent-sounding
pieces such as the first movement of the Sonata No. 2 sound less coherent than did Sándor. There are immediate compensations. Koroliov makes the last movement of that early sonata jump and sparkle in a way no other recordings I know of does. Here, in a movement that can sound obsessive in its rhythmic insistence, technique and temperament and taste seem ideally to come together.
The Fourth and Seventh sonatas were played repeatedly by Richter, and the Seventh has also received a stunning recording by Pollini. Both are recommended. So are these new recordings by Koroliov, which come with much better sound. I am impressed with the lyricism, and the convincing turbulence, with which Koroliov plays the middle movement of the Fourth Sonata. He plays the lovely middle movement of the Seventh just a touch slower than does Pollini, yet he has a similarly exciting approach to Prokofiev in general. His recording will be welcomed by anyone who appreciates these sonatas.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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