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Sonata By Nikolai Platonov


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Nikolai Ivanovich Platonov (1894-1967) was a noted flutist, pedagogue and composer. A friend of Georgy Orvid for nearly four decades, he and Orvid were classmates during their graduate studies at the Moscow Conservatory in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and both later became professors there.

Platonov wrote his Sonata for Trumpet and Piano in the early 1960s, published it in 1966, and dedicated it to Orvid. The concise three-movement work, with its sweeping melodies, carries a strong Romantic influence. Stylistically and melodically the first movement is reminiscent of the early works of Alexander Scriabin and Reinhold Glière. This invocation of Scriabin is perhaps why Alexander Rapoport, the famous Russian orchestral trumpet player, dubbed it a “Little Poem of Ecstasy” when he recommended it as a good orchestral audition piece. Platonov’s coloristic second movement, Adagio fantastico, has muted outer sections full of whimsical harmonies with a more cantabile middle section sandwiched in between. The third movement’s main theme is a typical heroic figure with a contrasting secondary theme in the form of a cantilena in triple meter. The work concludes with a reprise of the opening movement’s main theme. Throughout, the trumpet part requires a sensitive rubato style typical of the late Romantic tradition. A warm tone with sufficient air movement is crucial for executing the long sustained phrases even as wide leaps, a high tessitura, and extended passages without rests raise their own endurance issues. Platonov suggested using a lip trill at the end of the cadenza and provided an alternative fingering for it. The piano part also requires a high level of proficiency which is typical for the works of the Soviet-Russian composers, due undoubtedly, in part, because the majority of them were trained as pianists.

Take a look at sample pages of the solo and score provided to the left and then click above for a complete download of the music. Included in this download is the solo part, piano score, and MP3 recordings of the entire piece as played by Russian trumpeter Iskander Akhmadullin.

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