Review: "Prokofiev's 'War Sonatas' in a landmark concert"

Another review of last week's performance of Prokofiev's "War Sonatas" at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

That, combined with a virtuoso-level technique I hadn’t previously heard from him (the piano was retuned at intermission), made the Prokofiev program a landmark experience. There wasn’t the slightest problem following the music’s train of thought. Performing the sonatas together seemed essential, with his ability to highlight their cross-references.

The last and greatest of the three sonatas became infinitely more meaningful in this concert. The music itself has a late-Scriabin remoteness, along with layered compositional techniques not often heard in Prokofiev - best appreciated from hearing the other two sonatas. The middle-movement waltz, initially so trivial, took on a convincing ghostly irony. The clarity of the helter-skelter final movement showed how grotesque the music intends to be, reminding you that hell is defined as a place where nothing makes sense.
— David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer