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Sergey Prokofiev: Concertos

Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto, completed in 1912, marked a significant change in Russian music, from the romanticism of Rachmaninov and Scriabin to a new world of clear and sometimes harsh colours. He chose to play the work at his graduation from the St. Petersburg Conservatory - a bold move that left the jury divided, but Prokofiev was eventually awarded the prize. A second concerto was completed in 1913, again provoking a very divided response. The orchestral score of this concerto was rewritten in 1923 after the first version was destroyed in a fire during Prokofiev's absence from Russia after 1918.

Of the five piano concertos, the third is Prokofiev's most played and popular. It was composed almost a decade after the first two, when the composer had settled in the West, but makes use of earlier material, written before he left Russia. Since its world premiere in Chicago in 1921, with the composer himself as the soloist, it has been a modern classic. The fourth concerto, for the left hand, was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm in the war. Unfortunately Wittgenstein greeted the concerto coldly, thanking Prokofiev for the work, but saying that he did not understand a note of it and would not play it.

The Fifth and last Piano Concerto was composed in the south of France and premiered in Berlin, with the Berlin Philharmonic under Wilhelm Furtwängler and with the composer as the soloist. The work was well received, although Prokofiev himself later had doubts about it.

Sheet Music Downloads:

Collection ID: 217
TitleASTKey Composed Type Level
Piano Concerto 3 Op. 26C Major 1921 Concerto 8+

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