Sergey Prokofiev

Sonata in D major

Op. 115

About this work

It is a little-known fact that Prokofiev's Op.115 Sonata was not originally intended as a work for solo violin, but rather for a group of twenty or so violinists playing in unison. The inspiration behind this unorthodox indication was Prokofiev's exposure to the practice, prevalent in the pedagogy of student violinists in Russia, of a group playing a solo violin part in unison. The three movements of Prokofiev's Sonata are relatively simple from both a musical and technical standpoint; in the hands of inattentive performers, the work may even take on a certain triteness. The opening sonata-allegro movement (Moderato) begins in a sprightly manner, marked by spiccato, broken-chord figuration; from there, the movement continues with something quite similar to a hoedown, and then, in turn, a dance-like theme built on chordal repetition. The tension between these conflicting musical ideas is played out in the movement's totally traditional formal plan, which culminates in an exciting, busy conclusion. The second movement, a theme and variations, never departs very far from the original theme; though straightforward, the movement has a certain charm. The final movement (Con brio) is characterized by a wild mazurka rhythm. Although certain features of this work suggest that it was hastily, or, perhaps, not very carefully, assembled, it makes for a delightful listening experience when played in its original massed-violin configuration.