Alina Ibragimova / Steven Osborne

Prokofiev: Violin Sonatas; Five Melodies

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Sergey Prokofiev's output for violin and piano was quite small, and it would have been limited to the Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor had he not also arranged his Five Songs Without Words and the Flute Sonata in D major, the latter at the request of David Oistrakh. One experiences a degree of discomfort in the Violin Sonata No. 1, which is one of Prokofiev's more unsettling pieces, due in part to its sinister tone and harsh dissonances, but also to its conflicting expressions. Even so, the lyrical third movement is the work's most appealing section, and the work as a whole has a rugged integrity that compels listening. Much lighter are the Five Melodies, which are comparatively quiet and sweetly poignant in expression, with little of the previous work's edginess. The Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major is a highly active piece, with many opportunities for the players to show off their skills, yet its overall feeling is conversational and witty. The performances by violinist Alina Ibragimova and pianist Steven Osborne on this Hyperion album are lively and technically secure, though the violin's tone is a bit scratchy when the music is fast, and the booming bass of the piano sometimes threatens to throw the balance off.

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