An unexpected pairing of Debussy and Prokofiev makes for a sensational piano recital.
Prokofiev once dismissed Debussy as “watery”, but when you hear the Frenchman’s marvellous, shimmering effects of rain and reflections it’s impossible not to read that as a compliment. In this recital, Scottish pianist Steven Osborne makes a striking juxtaposition between the fragrant, exotic sonorities of Debussy and the propulsive vigour of Prokofiev’s mature sonatas. Debussy loved pictures almost as much as music and his “prints” and images conjure up vivid impressions: Oriental pagodas, an evening in Granada, gardens in the rain, bells, moonlit temples, darting goldfish… The two Prokofiev sonatas come from the opening and closing years of World War II. Their strength and sometimes savage bravura is expected, even the debonair march of Sonata No.6, but then Prokofiev surprises with haunting melodies, a whimsical waltz and dreamy tranquillity.