Peter Donohoe

Prokofiev Piano Sonatas Volume 1


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Ladies and gentlemen: hats off, a genius. I shamelessly steal this comment by one composer about another and, equally shamelessly, share it between the piano sonatas of Prokofiev and the man who, surely, is the master interpreter of this little-known repertoire, Mancunian pianist Peter Donohoe. Great things were hoped for in Donohoe's new series, the first volume of which features the first five of the composer's nine sonatas. I am comprehensively blown away by the results. There is not a crash-bang-wallop in sight: bags of power, yes, but power focused and targeted at strategic points. What you will hear is a stream of light, pellucid lyricism, from the Romanticism of the early one-movement First Sonata to the delicious classical turn in the opening phrase of the Fifth, along with all the character and acrobatics that begin to emerge through this group. This is Prokofiev as you have not heard him. A major re-evaluation from a towering pianist is under way.

Michael Tumelty