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Peter Donohoe launched his international career with a win at the 1982 Tchaikovsky Competition, and this disc serves as a reminder of his affinity with Russian repertoire. It is something of a coup for the Somm label, one might think, to have Donohoe in Prokofiev (this is Volume 1). The first five sonatas, often overshadowed by the great ‘war trilogy’ of Sonatas Nos 6-8, offer rewards of their own, especially when treated with the respect they receive here. They move from the Glazunov-inspired No 1 through the motoric gestures of No 2 through the darkness of No 4’s central movement to the gentle No 5 (which Donohoe plays in the composer’s original version). The recording is exemplary, fully projecting Donohoe’s massive dynamic range (anyone who has heard him live will attest to this aspect of his playing).

The finale of the Second Piano Sonata epitomises all that is Prokofiev, and, in Donohoe, all that is great Prokofiev playing, form the angularity of the principal theme to moments of melting lyricism through to teasing comedy. The helter-skelter character of No 3 is perfectly conveyed through Donohoe’s impressive technique. There are performances of both No 2 and No 3 by Gilels in existence, and Donohoe loses little in that exalted company. It is No 4 that is the highlight, though, a performance of magisterial intensity. No 5, with its enigmatic close, its bitonal passages and its Prokofiev-spiced faux-simplicities, receives a performance of the utmost integrity. Magnificent.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing