Friday, February 04, 2005

Prokofiev: Sonata for Cello & Piano in C Major II. Moderato, Andante dolce

What first caught my attention when listening to this piece was the crisp, staccato rhythm of the piano part. It gives the piece a sense of playfulness. The cello adds to this feeling by mimicking the piano part. The technique used by the cello is plucking the strings. During the beginning there are a couple instances where the end of a phrase will have the cello pluck sol-mi-fa-re-do (high)- do (low). From this point the piece moves on adding more notes to the cello part, and by doing this it is adding thickness and building intensity. Building in dynamics, the piano at a forte playing staccato and the cello forcefully playing the accented notes that gives the feeling of being thrashed around. Also, the eighth note runs descending causing a feeling of dizziness. I get this feeling of being dizzy because of non-chord tones being played in between the scalar notes. For a short while we return to A to get the sense of home and after the plucked sol-mi-fa-re-do-do on cello, a dissonant scale on the piano part enters into a new section of light floating sensations because the cello has the primary part here. A very flowing, legato melody is played. The piano is laid back at this point but definitely comes through to increase intensity in the middle of this section. It’s staccato octaves in the treble line help propel the tempo and dynamics up, and then gently bring them back down to return into the A again. In this transition I believe that the modulation back into the original key is done my common tone. You can sense we are returning when the cello is no longer playing legato and starts to pluck, mimicking the piano line. The ending gives you this feeling that the conversation between the piano and cello is coming to an end. For the last few measures they no long play together, just one at a time. Short staccato answers back and forth. On the pianos fourth response back to the cello it plays every note from do to sol with pedal down to give a fuzzy sound. The cello responses back, then the piano plays the closing remark with the same, every note from do to sol pedal down, but then continues to extend it this time to end on a do, leaving us with the feeling of mystery because of the dissonant scale (ex. To be cont… like at the end of a t.v. show), yet pure simplicity.

1 comment:

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Very astute observations! You portray your listening experience vividly, with great choices of descriptive words: crisp, thickness, dizziness, etc.