Album review: Roger Woodward, Prokofiev: Works for Piano (Celestial Harmonies)


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The Independent Culture

Those familiar with Prokofiev mostly through Peter and the Wolf will be shocked at the Modernist invention of his lesser-known early piano works, delivered with enthusiastic conviction by Roger Woodward in these 1991 recordings.

Not for nothing was the composer later denounced for producing music “marked with formalist perversions... alien to the Soviet people”: the obstreporous individuality of these pieces parallels the artistic turmoil raging across Europe at the time, from the Italian Futurists whose fascination with speed and machines is reflected in the powerful rhythms of Prokofiev's “Sarcasmes” (1912-14), to the spikier piano compositions of Erik Satie, among which the 20 miniatures of “Visions Fugitives” (1915-17) could easily hide.

Download: Sarcasmes; Visions Fugitives; Suggestion Diabolique