Sergei Prokoviev was a Russian Soviet composer, pianist and conductor and is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. Although he is probably best known for works such as “Peter and the Wolf” and ballets such as “Romeo and Juliet,” his Sonata in D Major for Flute and Piano remains one of the staples of college flute repertoire. The piece highlights his status as one of the leading Neoclassicists of the time and features a wide array of techniques and colors.

The Sonata was composed in the summer of 1943 was first performed in Moscow, Russia on December 7, 1943 by Nicolai Kharkovsky (flute) and Sviatoslav Richter (piano). It was later transcribed for violin in 1944. It consists of four movements: Moderato, Scherzo: Presto, Andante, andAllegro con brio. At the same time, Prokofiev was working on music for the film “Ivan the Terrible.”

This time period, of course, was during World War II, and Prokofiev had been permanently settled with his family in Moscow. However, during this time of unrest, he—along with a group of other artists—were temporarily placed in the Caucasus region, where they were thought to be safer. Thankfully, the restrictions that had previously been placed on the composer by the strict Soviet government and the demand that composers write in a ‘socialist realist’ style were slackened, and Prokofiev was generally able to compose in his own way.Today, Prokofiev may well be the most popular composer of 20th-century music. His orchestral music alone is played more frequently in the United States than that of any other composer of the last hundred years except for Richard Strauss,while his operas, ballets, chamber works, and piano music appear regularly throughout major concert halls worldwide.

Please enjoy this recording of Prokofiev’s Sonata in D Major for Flute and Piano, Op. 94, performed by the incomparable Jean-Pierre Rampal: