Piano Sonata No. 1 (Prokofiev)

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Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1 was written in 1909. It consists of a single movement in sonata form.


  • Once, leaving her class, I heard her calling:
    —Prokofiev! I turned back.
    —When are you going to play your compositions for me?
    —Anna Nikolaevna, I did not know that they interest you. She nodded.
    —Besides, I play them like a composer, not like a pianist.
    —This is all right, play like a composer.
    —In this case, allow me to bring it to you next Friday.
    I began studying my Sonata... in a very thorough way. For the first time in my life I practiced each hand separately. On November thirteenth I took the Sonata... to her.... Esipova was following with the score.
    —This is very interesting music, she said,—but I would like to hear it performed not by you. One can make accents, but it is impossible to play everything fortissimo. Besides, you slam on pedal without any relief. Leave it with me—I will mark the pedal....
    • Sergei Prokofiev, Dnevnik[Diary], 1907–1918, vol. 1 (Paris: sprkfv [Serge Prokofiev Foundation], 2002), 100.
  • That summer I decided to write a long piano sonata. I was determined that the music would be more beautiful, the sonata interesting technically, and the content not superficial. I had already sketched out some of the thematic material. In this way I began to work on the F minor Sonata No. 2, in three movements, and wrote a good deal of it in a very short time. It proved to be a more mature work than my other compositions of that period, and for several years it towered above them as a solid opus. Later I discarded the second and third movements, then reworked the first and made it into Sonata No. 1, Opus 1. But alongside my serious numbered works, this sonata seemed too youthful, somehow. It turned out that, although it was a solid opus when I was fifteen, it could not hold its own among my more mature compositions.
  • ‘I don’t think you ought to bother numbering your sonatas,’ Myaskovsky once said to me with a smile. ‘The time will come when you will cross out all the numbers and write “Sonata No. 1.”’ That is exactly what happened, although some of the material from these early sonatas did go into later sonatas (No. 2 after some changes became No. 1, Op. 1; No. 3 remained No. 3; No. 4 and No. 6 were lost; No. 5 was incorporated in No. 4, Op. 29.
    • Sergei Prokofiev, In: S. I. Shlifshtein, ed., S. Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences, trans. Rose Prokofieva
  • As a rule the publication of his first opus is a landmark for the composer, a sort of dividing line between his early work and his mature compositions. With me it was different: the Sonata No. 1, a naïve and simple little piece, marked the end of my early period; the new began with the Etudes, Op. 2.
    • Sergei Prokofiev, In: S. I. Shlifshtein, ed., S. Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences, trans. Rose Prokofieva

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