Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5

Alexandra Silocea

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Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 Review

by Blair Sanderson

If recording Sergey Prokofiev's piano sonatas isn't the most startling way to make a debut, then it is certainly one of the most interesting strategies to be taken seriously as a rising artist. Romanian pianist Alexandra Silocea performs the first five of the sonatas with absolute confidence and brilliance, and her deep involvement in the music on all levels shows that she is at least as intellectually committed as she is technically accomplished. In an age when phenomenal virtuosity is expected of any pianist who wishes to break through, Silocea demonstrates that she has all of the prerequisites to succeed and will survive when many of her heavily promoted contemporaries will have been forgotten. Yet if Silocea is a talent to be reckoned with and a name to be remembered, it is because she is undaunted by interpretive challenges. In his sonatas, Prokofiev switches mercurially from one style to another, often without warning, and his range of expressions encompasses ardent Romanticism, abrasive modernism, raw folk elements, and witty neo-Classical parody. Beyond style is expression, and since Prokofiev never wore his heart on his sleeve, it's no small matter to understand the varied emotions his music is supposed to conjure. Silocea reads the sonatas with an acute awareness that, as chameleon-like as they may be, behind them is a great composer who can be presented in all his complexity, and she does this convincingly. Avie's sound is wide open and spacious, and the piano is clear and present without being too close.

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