César Franck's violin sonata (1886) and Sergei Prokofiev's first violin concerto (1917) are different in so many ways, but one reason I find them both so powerful is that they pivot on the idea of memory. In the Franck, memory is based less on the recollection of a fixed string of events than on an impression of a sensation-- the arc shape of the opening violin motive, its triadic flavor, or the shimmer of its texture. In the Prokofiev, texture and essence shift while the linear structure remains: the dreamy opening melody of the violin comes back, verbatim, in the voice of the flute at the end of the first movement, and in scintillating trills at the end of the third movement, but the fundamental experience is altered by its new setting. It is as if Prokofiev retells past events whose former sensations cannot be recalled, while Franck revels in the sensation of a memory that can't quite be placed.
Franck Violin Sonata (complete) Michiko Theurer, violin; Inesa Gegprifti, piano. Indiana University Recital Hall, March 14, 2014.
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1, Andantino Michiko Theurer, violin; Aleksey Artemyev, piano. Ford Recital Hall, November 11, 2013.