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Complete Piano Sonatas Box set

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Sergey Prokofiev
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000007TRL
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 111,515 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 1 8:03£0.79  Buy MP3 
  2. Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: I. Allegro, ma non troppo 5:55£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: II. Scherzo: Allegro marcato 1:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: III. Andante 6:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
  5. Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14: IV. Vivace - Moderato - Vivace 4:35£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. Piano Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 28 7:28£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29: I. Allegro molto sostenuto 6:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29: II. Andante assai 7:12£0.79  Buy MP3 
  9. Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29: III. Allegro con brio, ma non leggiere 3:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 38: I. Allegro tranquillo 6:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
11. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 38: II. Andantino 4:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
12. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 38: III. Un poco allegretto 5:15£0.79  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 135: I. Allegro tranquillo 6:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
  2. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 135: II. Andantino 4:57£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 135: III. Un poco allegretto 4:43£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82: I. Allegro moderato 8:37Album Only
  5. Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82: II. Allegretto 4:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82: III. Tempo di valzer lentissimo 7:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82: IV. Vivace 6:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83: I. Allegro inquieto - Andantino 8:19Album Only
  9. Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83: II. Andante caloroso 6:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83: III. Precipitato 3:46£0.79  Buy MP3 


Disc 3:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84: I. Andante dolce - Allegro moderato - Andante dolce, come prima - Allegro16:34Album Only
  2. Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84: II. Andante sognando 4:39£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 84: III. Vivace - Allegro ben marcato - Andantino - Vivace, come prima10:41Album Only
  4. Piano Sonata No. 9 in C Major, Op. 103: I. Allegretto 8:23Album Only
  5. Piano Sonata No. 9 in C Major, Op. 103: II. Allegro strepitoso - Andantino - Allegro strepitoso 2:59£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. Piano Sonata No. 9 in C Major, Op. 103: III. Andante tranquillo 7:44£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Piano Sonata No. 9 in C Major, Op. 103: IV. Allegro con brio, ma non troppo presto 6:03£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Piano Sonata No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 137 (fragment) 1:13£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Sonates pour piano n° 1 à 10 / Boris Berman, piano

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 28 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD
There are now a number of reviews of this set of discs which were recorded in the early 1990's and then issued as a box set and becoming a Gramophone Awards Winner in 2000. Generally the reviews are favourable as one would expect of an award winning set, but one reviewer has raised strong objections to the actual recorded sound, a problem not mentioned in the awards.

In my view, it seems fairly safe to suggest that this set of the nine full sonatas plus fragment is an eminently safe bet so far as interpretations go and it has the added advantages of including both versions of the fifth sonata and advantageous price. That is not to say that individual sonatas cannot be challenged by purchasing alternative performances.

In that respect there are fine Richter recordings of the later sonatas which could possibly be described as definitive performances within less than definitive older sound. Pollini's famous account of number 7 still holds sway for me but comes with some couplings that are not to my taste. There are also several fine performances and recordings of the taxing sixth sonata which will match the one here. I personally find the second sonata as played by Elisso Virsaladze as part of a stunning live concert at the Roque d'Antheron on a wonderfully recorded DVD untouchable - and I like all the rest of the concert! Another fine DVD performance including the seventh sonata is delivered by Grigory Sokolov. There is also Alexander Gavrylyuk, Miami Piano Festival Gold Medal winner, who includes spectacular, but not the deepest, performances of sonatas 6 & 7 as part of his 2005 recital there. All of these are desirable recordings for enthusiasts wishing to add to a complete set such as Boris Berman's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. G. Saxby on 2 May 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When Peter Donahoe played all these sonatas on the radio some years ago I recorded all of his performances, which I thought were the best ever,and when I received this disc, I compared those performances with Berman's, with the sheet music in front of me. Although Donahoe's interpretations seemed to me pretty nearly perfect, Berman's were in most respects superior (both performances were technically flawless), and, unlike Donahoe he observed every one of |Prokofiev's minute instructions to the letter. I couldn't recommend this CD more highly
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These performances show so much insight into Prokofiev's sonatas that it pains me not to feel able to give the set a higher rating in crude terms of stars. And it's not just interpretative insight that they show, but also the powerful fingers and firm technique that the works continually call for. My problems are with the sound quality, and there are several of them.

I found the tone in the first sonata off-putting right away. It is a big late-romantic wash of 8-foot-grand-piano noise without much seeming interest in distinctness, but I could have put up with that to the extent that this is a very early work, not fully characteristic of what became the composer's distinctive idiom and, indeed, a late romantic effort. If the sustaining pedal is a bit overused then I suppose that goes with the territory too. What I could not reconcile myself to was a sense that the recording microphone was just too close to the instrument. This sense pervades most of the first disc in varying degrees, after which matters improve greatly. However there is still the feeling that the situation develops much like peeling an onion: you remove one layer of problem only to be confronted with others. I shall refrain from using the metaphor to suggest that the process leads to tears.

The second sonata is the Prokofiev we know, and the sound is better at least by comparison. This allows us to hear some real expressiveness and soul in the slow movement, and there is much more of that to follow at the corresponding points in the later pieces. However the recording is still bottom-heavy, detracting from the effect of the right-hand work, but also unattractive in a way that may be attributable to the performer.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike Brooks on 28 Dec. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jolly good.Not listened to all of it but sure to enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
A complete synthesis of the art of Prokofiev 20 Jun. 2000
By Massimo Marullo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The nine piano sonatas of Prokofiev occupy an important position in the history of the piano of the twentieth century and they cover a time that crosses whole compositive activity of the Russian composer. In these works we find all the peculiarities of Prokofiev: the percussive and barbaric rudeness of the first period, the synthesis of virtuosity, choreographic spirit and neoclassicism of the intermediary period and the tragic expressiveness of the last sonatas, sometimes transfigured in episodes of intense lyricism; everything is built always with a recognizable style, offering a complete synthesis of the art of Prokofiev. The interpretation of Boris Berman is very valid, idiomatic, and it respects the spirit of the composer adequately. The presence of the recordings of some sonatas (2,6,7,8,9) in the extraordinary interpretation of Sviatoslav Richter prevents me to assign the fifth star to the edition of Berman. To the amateurs of Prokofiev I would recommend the acquisition of the complete edition of the piano works of Prokofiev, in 9 CDs, effected by Berman, also for Chandos; it is surely more expensive, but it represents a cultural contribution of high value. The quality of the recording Chandos is excellent.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An Outstanding Set 9 Oct. 2007
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The recordings made by Boris Berman of the complete piano sonatas by Sergei Prokofiev were noted for their excellence when they appeared during the early 1990s. Prokofiev's piano sonatas follow the composer's career from the beginning to the very end. The first sonata, his opus 1, was reworked from music he wrote in his early teens and is quite a mature work. When we arrive at his second sonata the mature composer has arrived. This work, his opus 14, is an engaging sonata with what will be recognizes as typical melodies and colors very much looking forward to Prokofiev's music to come. The Third and Fourth Sonatas were reworked from much earlier works. Like the First Sonata, the Third is in a single movement and the Tempestoso section is noteworthy for its swirling melody that inspired the young Dmitri Shostakovich when he wrote his First Sonata. The Fourth Sonata is famous for the Andante movement which the composer orchestrated. It is in three movements and the first movement beginning with a gloomy melody that may relate to the suicide of his friend Maximillian Schmidthof for whom the sonata is dedicated (as is the Second Sonatas and Second Piano Concerto). The sonata is a lyrical and reflective work marked by some restraint of Prokofiev's self-confident writing.

The 1920s saw only the Fifth Sonata which was premiered in 1924. The Andantino movement is striking in its similarity to the "Blues" movement of Maurice Ravel's Violin Sonata but, although not overly complex, the harmonies are close to the dense orchestration of the Second Symphony. Much later Prokofiev revised the sonata as his opus 135 when he lightened the tone of the music and clarified the structure. I do not favor one version over the other. With the composition of the Sixth Sonata in 1940 Sviatoslav Richter became the foremost advocate of Prokofiev's keyboard music, and he gave the first performance of the Sixth. This sonata is arguable the composer's most abrasive and there is more conflict in the music than in prior sonatas. The Seventh is a mix of the youthful and mature Prokofiev with an abrasive first movement, a reflective middle movement and an exciting toccata finale. The Eighth Sonata has a very short movement surrounded by two enormous ones, reminiscent of the layout of Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony. Compared to the two sonatas before it, the first two movements of the Eighth are dreamy, sounding more Scubertian than the Prokofiev that wrote the earlier sonatas. The final movement - marked Vivace - is Prokofiev at his most inventive. The middle Andante returns to a reflective mood that looks back to the first movement and returns to the opening tempo.

The Ninth Sonata was completed in 1947 when the dark clouds of official displeasure were looming. The Sonata was dedicated to Sviatoslav Richter and although frequently performed by its dedicatee it has never been a popular work. The music is immediately appealing with a lyrical melody that becomes playful. The charming aspect of the sonata is maintained throughout the sonata, particularly in the short Allegro movement, which is followed by tranquil slow movement punctuated with playful phrases; the sonata closes with a charming finale. What Prokofiev was able to complete of the Tenth Sonata, just two pages of music, is interesting for what might have been. The starting point for the sonata was the Sonatina opus 54 from the early 1930s. This is a very rewarding set that anyone who loves Prokofiev's music will not want to be without this set.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TROPPO STREPITOSO 7 Nov. 2011
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These performances show so much insight into Prokofiev's sonatas that it pains me not to feel able to give the set a higher rating in crude terms of stars. And it's not just interpretative insight that they show, but also the powerful fingers and firm technique that the works continually call for. My problems are with the sound quality, and there are several of them.

I found the tone in the first sonata off-putting right away. It is a big late-romantic wash of 8-foot-grand-piano noise without much seeming interest in distinctness, but I could have put up with that to the extent that this is a very early work, not fully characteristic of what became the composer's distinctive idiom and, indeed, a late romantic effort. If the sustaining pedal is a bit overused then I suppose that goes with the territory too. What I could not reconcile myself to was a sense that the recording microphone was just too close to the instrument. This sense pervades most of the first disc in varying degrees, after which matters improve greatly. However there is still the feeling that the situation develops much like peeling an onion: you remove one layer of problem only to be confronted with others. I shall refrain from using the metaphor to suggest that the process leads to tears.

The second sonata is the Prokofiev we know, and the sound is better at least by comparison. This allows us to hear some real expressiveness and soul in the slow movement, and there is much more of that to follow at the corresponding points in the later pieces. However the recording is still bottom-heavy, detracting from the effect of the right-hand work, but also unattractive in a way that may be attributable to the performer. There are numerous fortissimo effects in the bass, here and later, and however percussive we like to think Prokofiev's piano style this kind of bass thunder should not get ugly. There is a sequence in one of the later sonatas where the sound in the bass is little better than a mess, and you will get an early warning of that here in the second sonata. In the right hands enormous power can be produced in the lower octaves without this kind of consequence, and any who have heard Serkin at close quarters can attest that, but the effect remains a problem all the way through these three discs, albeit alleviating after a while.

With sonata # 3 we are back to the same issue as in # 1, # 4 is better and we almost seem out of the wood with the sound in # 5 (first version) that concludes the first disc. We are even beginning to hear at least an approximation to the steely tone that I like as the `default option' in Prokofiev - a clean-edged glint that should be the composer's basic `trademark' sound which the interpreter will adapt as different contexts demand. Amid my complaints foregoing I did not have space to mention a slight dulling or blurring of this effect, but I'm afraid I need to say something about it somewhere. The second disc starts with the composer's later version of the 5th sonata. This revision was much like Brahms's revision of his B major trio -- not very extensive and confined mainly to the last movement. Perhaps taking warning from some well-attested disasters when performers gave Brahms's score using different versions simultaneously Prokofiev gave his revision a new opus number, but the revision is not drastic, as I say. For some reason Professor Berman elects to adopt a different touch in the second effort, which is understandable from one viewpoint, except that I wish he hadn't. Berman is more cantabile second time around, with more sustaining pedal. I also suspect that I heard (here and again later) emphasised notes played while using the damper pedal, a particular sound that I loathe.

From here on things are much better, and I am grateful for the insight and understanding that Berman shows and has communicated to me, whatever my gripes about the sound quality. I have already made reference to the slow movements, some of which are profoundly expressed indeed, but at the more virtuoso level there is a particularly fine reading of the great last movement of the 7th sonata. However although my recollections of hearing Richter in some of the sonatas are too distant now to be reliable, I still feel pretty sure that Prokofiev does not sound like this from him. If I am right, it is a matter of the sheer quality of the tone, the basic cold steel and the innumerable gradations of light and shade that I find much less of here. There is a movement in the 9th sonata carrying the alarming indication `allegro strepitoso', and I think Professor Berman may have applied this injunction a bit too widely. The set comes with a liner note by David Fanning that is really rather good; and perhaps I should sign off as the composer himself does by pointing to the fragment of the 10th sonata, just over a minute of it, and then silence.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A safe option for 'only' purchasers and a good starting point for collectors 28 Dec. 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There are now a number of reviews of this set of discs which were recorded in the early 1990's and then issued as a box set and becoming a Gramophone Awards Winner in 2000. Generally the reviews are favourable as one would expect of an award winning set, but one reviewer has raised strong objections to the actual recorded sound, a problem not mentioned in the awards.

In my view, it seems fairly safe to suggest that this set of the nine full sonatas plus fragment is an eminently safe bet so far as interpretations go and it has the added advantages of including both versions of the fifth sonata and advantageous price. That is not to say that individual sonatas cannot be challenged by purchasing alternative performances.

In that respect there are fine Richter recordings of the later sonatas which could possibly be described as definitive performances within less than definitive older sound. Pollini's famous account of number 7 still holds sway for me but comes with some couplings that are not to my taste. There are also several fine performances and recordings of the taxing sixth sonata which will match the one here. I personally find the second sonata as played by Elisso Virsaladze as part of a stunning live concert at the Roque d'Antheron on a wonderfully recorded DVD untouchable - and I like all the rest of the concert! Another fine DVD performance including the seventh sonata is delivered by Grigory Sokolov. There is also Alexander Gavrylyuk, Miami Piano Festival Gold Medal winner, who includes spectacular, but not the deepest, performances of sonatas 6 & 7 as part of his 2005 recital there. All of these are desirable recordings for enthusiasts wishing to add to a complete set such as Boris Berman's.

As regards the actual recorded sound of this Chandos set, I would suggest that this may have as much to do with the playback equipment and the playback room's sound characteristics as the original recording. This set has always sounded clearly defined with sufficient bite etc. on my own equipment. However, since installing the same equipment in another home in Scotland, what was already good to my ears has just undergone an amazing improvement and just because of the change of room space and furnishings etc.

I would suggest therefore that, although it is possible to perhaps improve on individual sonatas by expensively shopping around as indicated above, this set remains a very attractive proposition as an 'only' buy and as an overall view for collectors. Individual sonatas could then be added as needs or interests arose over following time. Such is the nature of collecting! A safe option for 'only' purchasers therefore and a good starting point for collectors.
Deeply engaged 28 Mar. 2014
By DFB Orlando - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Technically superior, Berman brings a personal engagement with Prokofiev, sympathy for the depth of emotion. A welcome addition to my library that fleshes out my perusal of Prokofiev's oevre.
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