There was some extremely valuable information that I hadn't seen elsewhere, however, such as the comparison of Prokofiev's manuscript for the Ninth Sonata with the published version, which has several mistakes. I wish Berman had been able to consult more manuscripts, sketches, and the like, as this would have made for a more enlightening book. After two chapters discussing Prokofiev's life as a composer and pianist, respectively, Berman considers each sonata individually. Each of these chapters has two main sections: When writing verbal descriptions of music, it is hard to discuss specific details without being deadly boring.
Too often Berman writes sentences like the following: In the parlance of sports announcers, I would have appreciated more color commentary and less play-by-play. Berman could have conveyed the same information much more effectively with a simple illustration from Prokofiev's score. There are some musical examples in the book, but Berman could have used many more. Without them, readers are forced to consult their own score to which they must supply their own measure numbers to follow Berman's descriptions, a minor nuisance in itself or listen along to Berman's own recordings, for which he has supplied timings as in the sentence I quoted above.
In the second section of each sonata chapter, Berman gives us a virtual "Master Class," with himself as teacher and the reader as student performer. Here he provides the sort of practical suggestions that can come only from having studied and performed these works in depth. I didn't always agree with his conclusions, but I think these sections showed his gifts as a teacher and musician more than the preceding "Listening Closely" sections.
I think this book will prove most useful to pianists who are trying to learn one of Prokofiev's sonatas, rather than the general reader. I hope to learn the Eighth Sonata at some point soon, and I will certainly consult this book as I am preparing it for performance. But in the meantime, I will hold out hope for a better book on the same subject. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.
Very helpful to pianists to understand Prokofiev'works. One person found this helpful. This new book by Boris Berman is a magnificent read for those who care about the ingenious music of Prokofiev.
Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas. A Guide for the Listener and the Performer work to guide music lovers and pianists through the composer's nine piano sonatas. Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Boris Berman is professor of piano, Yale University School of Music, and an internationally renowned concert pianist. Start reading Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas on your Kindle in under a minute.
Dedicated to his mother, Berman tackles the virtually limitless piano repertoire, the piano sonatas of Prokofiev which are considered a serious part of the repertoire by almost every accomplished concert pianist. He was the only 20th century composer to give such consistent attention to form.
Prokofiev had a lifelong compassion of the sonata form and Berman begins the book with an outline of how sonata form evolved from Beethoven to Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms, continuing into the important composers of the 20th century. Berman provides an in depth chapter on Prokofiev's life and the evolution of his "musical language", which also includes reference and descriptive discussion on how all of his compositions came to fruition.
The book then devotes considerable insight to "Prokofiev the pianist", which conveys how the piano played a central role in his oeuvre. Berman sites specific examples of movements, bars, types of piano textures of his early and late works as well as his articulations, active finger work and resulting sonorities. The incredible fascination of this book truly begins when Berman gives each of the piano sonatas an in depth discussion and overview.
Berman then leads us to the next step called "Listening Closely". Each movement is analyzed in a well laid out format showing examples of thematic material, what is taking place in each hand, and even gives measure numbers and timing spots where the examples occur on the disc. It is most important that you write bar numbers in your scores, as Prokofiev never provided bar numbers. By doing this it makes for less searching when locating Berman's examples. Once this section is completed Berman presents us with his own "Master Class". Being the virtuoso Berman is, this master class is given from his own point of view and makes you feel like you are virtually participating.
Having performed all nine sonatas, Berman gives us a chance to see how the main stylistic traits of Prokofiev's music plays out within the context of each sonata. In the fifth sonata for example, Berman "teaches" each movement. In the first movement he discusses how the opening theme should be played "with simplicity, but sensitive to every fresh, unexpected harmony. In the preceding chapters, he has examined each of the sonatas and discussed the challenges they present to their performers. Berman now summarizes the qualities and skills a pianist must possess in order to be a successful Prokofiev interpreter.
He touches on the essentials that must be observed, indicating elements regarding tempo, dynamics, and articulation. Boris Berman, renowned concert pianist and teacher, is one of the world's foremost authorities on Sergei Prokofiev. His personal guidance is indispensable for serious pianists and music lovers. See all 3 reviews. Customers who bought this item also bought. Notes from the Pianist's Bench.
Each of these is divided into three parts, the first two of which are accessible to any reader while the third is intended strictly for pianists. With the possible exception of the First Sonata, about which even the composer spoke in apologetic terms see pp. The book has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish. After two chapters discussing Prokofiev's life as a composer and pianist, respectively, Berman considers each sonata individually. Boris Berman is professor of piano, Yale University School of Music, and an internationally renowned concert pianist.
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Search my Subject Specializations: Civil War American History: Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. A Guide for the Listener and the Performer Boris Berman Abstract This book draws on his intimate knowledge of Prokofiev's work to guide music lovers and pianists through the composer's nine piano sonatas. More This book draws on his intimate knowledge of Prokofiev's work to guide music lovers and pianists through the composer's nine piano sonatas.
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