A recital by Adam Neiman,
reviewed by LAWRENCE BUDMEN
When Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) composed his Piano Sonata in D minor Op 14 No 2, he was still a student at the Moscow Conservatory and the 'bad boy of the Russian avant-garde'. At the conservatory Prokofiev had run afoul of Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov, his principal teachers, over his modernist tendencies. The young composer-pianist found an outlet in the Evenings for New Music concert series at which progressive student composers (among them Nikolai Miaskovsky and Gavriil Popov) premièred their newest creations without the official sanction of the Conservatory establishment. The Second Sonata was written in 1912 and premièred at the avant-garde concert series in January 1914. The sonata is a major work that combines the young composer's acerbic wit and uncompromising harmonic astringency with a lyrical bent and cross-cultural echoes of Far Eastern musical modes. Prokofiev was a formidable piano virtuoso and this score requires a musician with stellar technique, a palette of glowing pianistic colors, and deeply perceptive interpretive ideas. The young American pianist Adam Neiman is one of the most gifted artists of his generation. He gave a superb performance of this technically demanding work on 19 January 2005 at Northern Trust Auditorium in Aventura, Florida, USA -- presented by Patrons of Exceptional Artists.
Neiman's scintillating tonal colors made the sonata's first movement Allegro ma non troppo (with its Eastern gong effects) sound like a veritable pianistic orchestra. His brilliant rhythmic dexterity and idiomatic sense of Prokofiev's 'Music of New Russia' captured the sarcasm and biting wit of the Scherzo: Allegro marcato. In his introductory remarks Neiman correctly stated that the Andante is the score's artistic heart. He views this rhapsodic movement as a portrait of a windswept Siberia -- at once beautiful and desolate. Neiman played this rapt, moving section with rapturous beauty. His glistening tone and absolute pianistic control brought forth the poetic essence of this music. The pianist's dazzling rendition of the Vivace finale was a pianistic tour de force. Beneath the rapid fire bravura of Neiman's playing, a surging lyrical line informed the great arc of Prokofiev's brilliant creation. A 20th century masterpiece in a bracing, dynamic performance!
Copyright © 27 January 2005
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA