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Prokofiev up to 1937 2014


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Prokofiev up to 1937 2014

  1. 1. Sergei Prokofiev l  A many sided composer. l  A man of both the west (Europe and America) and the east (Soviet Russia). l  Many strands to his compositional career – daring modernist – tame Socialist realist. l  Career went gradually downhill from a very promising start. l  Suffered real privation and difficulty after the war. l  Died on the same day as Stalin and was increasingly persecuted towards the end of his life.
  2. 2. Unclassifiable?l  ‘It is impossible to classify the personality of Sergei Prokofiev for he is neither the leader of a school, nor an innovator. It must surely be a difficult job for any critic to attempt to analyse him, or place him in any way in a period or a movement.’ l  Gian Francesco Malipiero.
  3. 3. Essay Question l  8. Contrast the music styles and personalities of Profokiev and Khachacurian. How did their experiences of living in the Soviet Union affect their musical development? Use a range of musical examples. l  10. What was ‘socialist realism’ and how did it translate in terms of musical styles. Take works by at least two composers of the Soviet era and show how socialist realism informed these works.
  4. 4. The Man
  5. 5. You all know some of his music!
  6. 6. Prokofiev l  Composer Pianist. l  Two careers – outside of Soviet Russia – inside. l  Range of styles – from neo-classical to avant-garde. l  Life of early success and then restriction and near persecution.
  7. 7. Output l  Operas (seldom performed) l  Films (nearest to Socialist realist) l  Ballets (best known works today) l  Symphonies (very varied from classical to avante garde) l  Concertos (still played and loved by soloists especially pianists) l  Soviet Works (in praise of Stalin and Socialist – ignored today) l  Piano works (played a lot – option for Grade VIII this year and last)
  8. 8. Today we are looking at l  Classical Symphony l  Romeo and Juliet – ballet and suite l  Piano Concerto no. 3 l  Alexander Nevsky – Film and Cantata l  Symphony no. 5
  9. 9. Early Life l  Pianist Prodigy. b.1891. Father a scientist – mother devoted to the piano. l  Composing at 6 with his mother. l  Taken to Moscow at 8 and the opera – wrote his own opera The Giant in response. l  Taught by Reinhold Gliere – who travelled out to teach him from 1902. Lots of chess. l  1903 first compositions Symphony in 4 mvts and The Orgy during the plague.
  10. 10. Conservatiore l  St Petersburg Conservatoire – 1904 – under Glazunov. Entrance exam. Hated hamony lessons but got on with Miaskovsky. Studied with Rimsky-Korskov. l  Sonata no.1 1909 l  Continued with lessons in conducting and piano. Continued to compose. First piano concerto 1912. Vehement rhythm.
  11. 11. Piano Works l  Lots of them – second concerto – the audience hated it and walked out – some booed. l  Played in Rubinstein competition. Prokofiev won and played his own concerto no. 1 – but Glazunov hated it and did not want to read out results.
  12. 12. Classical Symphony op.25 l  After winning the Rubinstein prize 1914 went to London to see Ballet Russe under Diaghilev – result was the Scythian suite. l  Meets Stravinsky – but they never got on – and Prokofiev never made the same impact. l  Ballet Chout (The Buffoon) for Diaghilev. Large orchestra without a soloist. First performed 1921. Overshadowed by Rite of Spring. l  Always fantastic themes and melodies – easy and memorable.
  13. 13. Opus 25
  14. 14. Mvt 2
  15. 15. Mvt 3
  16. 16. Mvt 4
  17. 17. 1917 l  Classical suite – composed without piano. Tried to compose with themes like Hadyn – but not as a pastiche. The sort of piece Haydn would have composed had he lived in the 20th century. Classical orchestra. l  Performed in Petrograd 1918. l  Opera – The Gambler 1918. l  Prokofiev left in 1918 for America.
  18. 18. America 1918-22 l  ‘Take one Schoenberg, two Ornsteins, a little Satie, mix with some Medtner, add a drop of Shumann, then a shade of Scriabin and Stravinsky, and you will have a cocktail resembling the music of Prokofiev’. l  Critic of Musical American. l  Made it as a concert pianist who played his own concertos (1 and 2). l  Opera – The Love of Three Oranges – own libretto in French – success in Chicago but not in New York.
  19. 19. Piano Concerto no.3 l  Sketched in 1916, worked on in America and finished in France. Neither neo-classical nor neo-romantic. l  Seen in America as a pianist not a composer. l  1922 moves to France - The Ballet Russe
  20. 20. start
  21. 21. Yaya Wong plays piano concerto no.3
  22. 22. Paris l  A success as a pianist/composer. l  Paris – Les Six – he got on with Poulenc. And was feted in 1923. A rigorous pianist – practised a great deal. l  Symphony no.2 – more avant gaude. l  Ballets – The Steel Trot and Le Pas d’Acier’ l  Toured a great deal as a pianist.
  23. 23. 1927 l  Russian Tour – lots of his works performed. l  Feted and made much of – but allowed to come and go freely. Writes his famous Russian Diary. Plays a great deal of chess. Got married – to a Spanish/Russian singer – Lina Llubera. l  Meets Oistrakh, Shostakovich and all Soviet musical personalities.
  24. 24. Soviet Diary 1927 l  P kept diaries and journals all his life. l  His diary of his visit in 1927 is one of the best insights into what it was like in Soviet Union before Stalin really took over. l  P and his new wife meet everyone who is important in the music spheres. He plays and conducts – but above all socialises with all.
  25. 25. Visiting the old conservatoire l  ‘we were quickly led to the director’s office, the very one at 13 I had my entrance examination. Several familiar professors were waiting for us and others kept arriving, Asafiev, Ossovsky, Niloaev, Malko, Chernov, Steinberg. l  Malko was already telling a story about how upset Glasunov gets when the portrait of Rubinstein hangs askew. A student once noticed that Glazunov always got up to straighten it; so now, whenever there is a meeting in the director’s office (nowadays student representatives take part in meetings), someone slightly tilts the portrait of Rubinstein beforehand, and everybody eagerly waits for the moment when Glazunov will get up and set it straight.
  26. 26. Returned to Paris l  1927-33 The Flaming Angel – Symphony no.3. Ballet the Prodigal Son (success) for Diaghilev 1928. l  Lots of big pieces – concertos and symphonies – (piano concerto for left hand). Has two sons with Lina.
  27. 27. 1937 l  Return to Russia for Celebrations surrounding Puskin’s death. Iron curtain fell in 1938 after last American Tour. l  ‘When one comes back to USSR from abroad, one has the feeling of something quite different. Here, there exists a need for theatrical creation and there can be no doubt as to the kind of subject which is to inspire it: it must be heroic and constructive, for these are the attributes which most clearly characterise the present time.