Friday, September 30, 2011

Prokofiev - Tocatta For Piano

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a Russian composer and a major composer of the 20th century.  Fearing there was  no place for his experimental music in his homeland, he left Russia in 1918 during the Revolution and lived various places abroad. After missing his homeland for so many years he returned to Russia in 1935 and spent the rest of his life there.

The fate of Prokofiev and his music vacillated with the Communist Party leaders from acceptance and recognition to condemnation. During the Second World War official restrictions on the type of music allowed by the government were lifted, only to see them reinstated after the war.

He wrote for orchestra and chamber ensembles, and he was also a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer, writing many pieces for the piano. The Tocatta Opus 11, was written in Russia in 1912 and premiered by the composer in 1916. The tocatta is an old form of music originating in the Renaissance in Italy.  The word is taken from the Italian word for 'touch'. It is usually written for a keyboard or other solo instrument and it emphasizes fast, nimble finger work.  Prokofiev casts his Tocatta in a modern virtuosic idiom and it is a challenge for any pianist to play.

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