Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Vol 3 / Bernd Glemser
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For all its rhythmic propulsion and caustic surface style, Prokofiev's solo piano writing contains more beauty and lyricism than many pianists let on. Happily, Bernd Glemser paints the composer's sunny, French-tinged Fifth Sonata in expansive brush strokes, with a ravishing legato, generous pedaling, and motoric bass notes that gain cumulative momentum without knocking the listener on the head. He similarly "orchestrates" the larger-scaled Ninth Sonata, letting the first movement's pedal points proudly ring out. His subtle textural differentiation and wide palette of articulations and colors in the Allegro Strepitoso and the Finale justify their slower than usual tempos (quite different from Frederic Chiu's lighter-footed transparency).
Conversely, Glemser takes the A minor sonata's opening Allegro at a breezy pace that markedly (yet convincingly) contrasts to Richter's heftier approach. The Allegretto's staccato chords are carefully voiced in perfect perspective to the melodies that pass back and forth from register to register. The waltz movement is rapturous and massive in the manner you might play late Brahms, while Glemser's Finale, if not quite so scintillating and silvery as Richter's, is clear, characterful, and full-bodied, with the stark, wistful allusions to the first movement impeccably timed. In sum, this is a disc that counts among this pianist's finest Naxos releases--and it's beautifully recorded too. Don't pay attention to the Sixth and Ninth sonata timings listed on the back cover: they're way off the mark.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: 8555030
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Performer: Bernd Glemser