Damn, don’t know how you can not be into the Second concerto.
That’s my favourite Prok by a mile, I actually don’t like to listen to the Third that often.
Favourite sonata would either be 6th or 8th, more specifically the fourth movement of the 6th and third movement of the 8th.
Can’t really pick between them.
Honourable mention to the 2nd sonata.
I’m a bit torn between the 2nd and the 8th. I do think the 8th is a better work, but I haven’t listened to it much, and I guess that speaks its clear language. With concerti my fav is definitely the 2nd no matter how you twist and turn things, but as Tony here will know Pär Lund we talked a little about here earlier completely ruined it for me 5 years back or so, and I haven’t been able to listen to it since. He played it completely differently to anyone else I’ve heard, where it almost came across as a sacral composition. It was titanic and terrifying, but also insanely beautiful, and that is an element I haven’t found elsewhere. It just fell in place and suddenly felt so right and so profound, that I’ve come to despise the shallow, fast-paced showpiece Ashkenazy turned it in to in the 50s and which everyone has just copied since. I really think it’s the most misunderstood work in the whole standard rep, and one day people will realize it.
Well, yes, but it’s not much to hear - and Pär has let me record his concerts since around that time under the condition that he’s in control of what happens with them. He’s suffered from a chronic inflammation in his hand for around a decade now (but which as I’ve understood it has just resolved now this year) which has severely limited his ability to practise, and with this Prok-2 where rehearsals were required the first rehearsal was where things really happened. At the second I attended he was in much worse condition, and at the actual concert he couldn’t do himself justice anymore.
I did record parts of the 1st rehearsal since I was so taken by what happened, but I had other duties there to prepare for the concert and just put the mics on a bench in the church, and later strapped them to the shirt of a janitor (or something) working there. But it’s just excerpts, and with several retakes etc, and my human microphone stand there in the 4th mvt also constantly walked around and sometimes talked etc. They’re useless as actual recordings, but they do give you a feel for what he did with it - and for me personally they’re treasured memories of an absolutely unforgettable night.
Note the unrelenting pendulum in the LH there in the 1st mvt. I think this along with the commanding yet flexible RH was what made the movement sound both so mighty and moving at the same time. A lament by a spirit strapped in chains, as it were. He kept it up in the cadenza, where the effect was absolutely terrifying. It was like an unstoppable machine which just grew and grew in intensity, right up until the climax where the orchestra enters (or organ in this case). And as you can hear the 4th mvt was really quite solemn. Mysterious and titanic, but also with moments of such beauty. It worked wonders, and after all torment in earlier movements finally sent Mr. Schmidthof off to the heavens.