Schumann, Prokofjew, Saint-Saëns / [performed by] Alexandra Costin [piano] ; Romanian National Radio Orchestra.

[Italy?] : Classic Art, [2007]
1 online resource (76 minutes)


Library of Congress genre(s)
Classic concert records
Summary note
Schumann - Prokofiev - Saint-Saens. At first sight, the three pieces on this CD seem to have no connection with one another, and yet they have a common characteristic: all the three of them belong to virtuoso pianists and composers, who from their own experience were familiar with the subtleties of piano art; they wrote them so that they should be the ones to perform them, concentrating not only the sincerest inspiration, but also a brilliant instrumental approach that could be capitalized on: Robert Schumann, who devoted his most hidden emotions to the keyboard, Serghei Prokofiev with his "steel fingers" that could express anything from tough physical outbursts to the most suave raving slides, and finally Camille Saint-Saens, the last direct carrier of the message conveyed by the Liszt piano revolution. 1. Maybe with no other composer does biography blend so closely with his work as with Schumann, the leitmotif of his life, his love for Clara Wiek obsessively permeating his entire creation; his Sonata nr. 1 for piano in F sharp minor, op. 11 is, as he confesses himself "a cry of the heart" for Clara. Actually, its initial title was "Sonata devoted to Clara by Florestan and Eusebius", the two pen names representing him. The Sonata has four parts: the first is proceeded by Introduzione, un poco adagio with a grandiose portal, conducive to the story; Allegro vivace, which is said to be in a fandango rhythm, up to the climax, reintroducing the ample theme of the Introduction. The second part - the Aria - consisting of only 45 bars about which Liszt said that it was one of the most exquisite pages ever known - is a lied with refined harmonies, with a soft, cello-like melody. Scherzo is also a typically Schumann page with its punctuated, insolent rhythm, whimsical leaps, sudden tempo changes. The second unusual Trio - a parody is described to be "in jest but pompous" and has quotes from Beethoven on a polonaise rhythm. The Finale, free from restraints, juxtaposes like in an improvisation stormy, dreamy, jubilant, painful, heroic images in a staggering whirl, a sort of roundabout movement, up to the fiery end. The Sonata is a touchstone for the performer, who must get emotionally involved, also raising difficult problems of construction and execution. 2. "It is such a long way"  from the tumultuous Schumann to the "earthly" Prokofiev ... ; after a shady, odd sonorous world, we deal with angular outlines, concise, bright formulas, also revealing the poetry of original melodics. Sonata nr. 2 in D minor, op. 14, which Prokofiev wrote in 1912, when he was only 21, already has the characteristic features of his art: the connection between the classical structures and the modern spirit, sharp contrasts, vigorous rhythms and harmonies, the suggestive Russian lyricism, the sense of form underlying all his nine Sonatas for piano. The second Sonata, with the leitmotif of an expressive melody and the cyclic recurrence of dancing figures in the external parts, has a bucolic serenity; its frolicsome themes and transparent approach herald the crystal clear ambience of the "Classical Symphony" or of parts from "Romeo and Juliet". Moreover, it provides piano solutions, which all his other pieces for keyboard will feed on. The first part, Allegro non troppo, has something of Scriabin's rush; it is more dramatic and links percussive passages with syncopated, recurrent rhythms; and the central episode piu mosso with its mechanical ticking in the head register surprisingly leads to a melody of a heart-rending lyricism, but only for a short while since the development of the theme with its convulsive chords strongly comes back. The second part, the short Allegro marcato with its throbbing liveliness-robust staccatos on the left and light, flexible leaps rom one tonality to another on the right does not bring the desired relaxation yet. (...).
  • Streaming audio files.
  • Title from cover (viewed March 21, 2016).
Alexandra Costin, piano ; Romanian National Radio Orchestra.
  • Sonata Nr. 1 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 11 / composed by Robert Schumann
  • Sonata Nr. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14 / composed by Sergey Prokofiev
  • Concer Nr. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 / composed by Camille Saint-Saëns.
Other title(s)
Schumann, Prokofjew, Saint-Saens
Statement on language in description
Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage. Read more...
Other views
Staff view

Supplementary Information