About this work
In this Piano Sonata in D minor, Prokofiev clearly broke from the influence of Rachmaninov and Scriabin, as exemplified in the Sonata No. 1, Op. 1, (1907; rev. 1909), and he thus laid the groundwork for his highly individual keyboard style. Cast in four movements, it is unified by shared thematic material in the outer panels and by other motivic and intervallic elements. The opening movement (Allegro ma non troppo) begins with a rapid descending theme that is heard twice, each time seeming to crash upon its conclusion. The ensuing theme is the dominant one, a lovely, lyrical, somewhat ethereal creation also of a mostly descending contour. The development features an exciting buildup, weaving the two themes and climaxing in a powerful statement of the second one. A reprise and brilliant coda close out this panel. The very brief succeeding Scherzo (Allegro marcato) is lively and spicy, motoric in its rhythmic drive, the kind of wild piano music with which Prokofiev became identified. The Andante third movement is lyrical but dark, with a theme that exudes tension in its constant roiling and harsh climaxes. It alternates with a gentle, descending melody whose mysterious manner brings calm following the two stormy appearances of the main theme. The finale (Vivace) features a playful opening theme and a more driven, almost jazzy alternate one. After the second theme from the first movement is recalled, there follow a brilliant reprise and coda.