The violin sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev were written during the tumultuous years of 1938-1946. Prokofiev’s musical language in both sonatas was already fully developed.
He went back to a certain melodic simplicity which is often linked with the poetic language of Anna Akhmatova. Prokofiev himself said during this period: “I want nothing better, more flexible or more complete than the sonata form, which contains everything necessary for my structural purposes.”
Each of the four movements are a reflection of the impressions of the tumultuous Stalinist regime and war years which show many contrasting characters. Prokofiev said: “This music should sound so that people jump in their place and ask, ‘Are you out of your mind?”. Of parts of the first sonata he said: ‘it should sound like the wind on a grave’. Prokofiev had a tendency to shock with his music, especially when it came to first performances. Such a shock is hard to create now because audiences are familiar with his sound-idiom and know what to expect. Nevertheless, the power of the music is deep rooted and overwhelming and is present also in serene moments, of which Prokofiev was an absolute master.