The Modern Age




twentieth century




(Classical Music Map)


 

I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
 
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz
 




Sergei Prokofiev



(1891-1953)





 

Prokofiev was born in Sosnovka in the Ukraine, the son of a well-to-do agricultural engineer. Encouraged by his pianist mother, he made rapid musical strides. He was a gifted pianist himself, and his earliest piano piece dates from his fifth year; by the age of 11 he had written two operas.

In 1904 he entered the St Petersburg Conservatoire, but the wilful and arrogant young Prokofiev found the lessons from Liadov and Rimsky-Korsakov dull and old-fiishioned: he gained more stimulation from his friendships with the composers Nikolai Myaskovsky and Boris Asafyev. Also important to his development were lessons with Anna Esipova, which increased the expressive range of his already strong and brilliant playing.

Recognition came steadily, and in 1911 Prokofiev saw his first works in print and his first public orchestral performance. Many critics of the time were bewildered by the unusual sonorities of his music, and the premiere of his First piano concerto, performed by the composer himself in 1912, caused a furore, giving rise to his reputation as the enfant terrible of Russian music - something hard to understand now when listening to this sparkling and attractive work.

On graduating from the Conservatoire in 1914, Prokofiev immediately travelled to London, where he met the Russian ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev and was greatly impressed by Stravinsky's ballets. The impact of The rite of spring is evident in the music Prokofiev intended for a ballet for Diaghilev, Ala and Lolli, but which found its way instead into the savage Scythian Suite. A second work, Chout, was also aimed at Diaghilev, but was not finally mounted until 1921 in Paris.

Returning to Russia, Prokofiev spent the greater part of the World War I period in St Petersburg. There an operatic commission, The gambler, foundered at the rehearsal stage, but his First violin concerto and the First symphony (the "Classical') had happier outcomes, and the latter — a conscious re-creation of the wit and clarity of Haydn's style — brought him international success.

In the turmoil that followed the Russian revolution in 1917, Prokofiev moved to the United States, where his vivid fantasy opera. The love for three oranges, was commissioned by the Chicago Opera. However, it was Pans that increasingly attracted Prokofiev, and he moved there in 1920 to revise his ballet Chout for Diaghilev. While living in France he also completed the superb Third piano concerto, a virtuoso work whose combination of glittering ebullience alongside wistful melancholy is totally characteristic of its composer.

Prokofiev's works of the next decade include the controversial machine-age Second symphony and two further ballets for Diaghilev - Le pas d'acier, about Soviet industrialization, and L'enfant prodigue.

In 1933 Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union, and in the next three years re-established links with his homeland. The Kirov Theatre in Leningrad commissioned the ballet Romeo and Juliet in 1934, and in 1936 Prokofiev, his wife — a Spanish singer — and their two sons took up residence in Moscow. Romeo and Juliet was not popular with the Soviet authorities, who at the same time condemned Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Prokofiev responded by turning his hand to utilitarian and patriotic music, including the score for Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky, re-arranged in 1939 as a cantata. His operas fared less well in Soviet Russia: Semyon Kotko was swiftly dropped; performance of the second. The duenna, was postponed for several years; and his third. War and peace, a project particularly dear to him, remained unperformed at his death.

During the 1940s Prokofiev's health underwent a gradual decline. His imposing Fifth symphony of 1945 struck a renewed note of heroic assurance, but continuing difficulties with the authorities culminated in bitter attacks on him in 1948 and the banning of many of his earlier works. His spirit was broken, and the works of his final years have the air of feeble sops to the dominant Soviet ideologies. He died in 1953. ironically on exactly the same day as his chief persecutor, Joseph Stalin.

 





Sergei Prokofiev



Prokofiev

 

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)



REPRESENTATIVE WORKS

 

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.2 in G minor Op.63
Wanda Wilkomirska
Allegro moderato
Andante assai
Finale: Allegro ben marcato
Piano Sonatas no.3 in A minor op.28 "from Old Notebooks
H. Sung
Allegro Tempesto
 

Piano Sonata n. 6 op. 82
Alberto Nose

Piano Sonatas no.7 in B-flat major op.83
Wui-Ming Gan
Allegro inquieto
Andante caloroso
Precipitato

Visions Fugitives, op.22
H. Struiwig
Lentamente
Animato
Inquieto
Poetico
Con una dolce lentezza

Piano Concerto no.1 - Op
Christopher Armstrong
Allegro brioso
Andante Assai
Allegro scherzando

"Peter and the Wolf"
D. Goodman (with J .McCreless)

Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 12
Capriccio
E. Helling

Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 75
S.Bisotti
The Montagues and Capulets
Romeo and Juliet before parting

Overture on Hebrew Themes
Michal Beit-Halachmi

Toccata in D minor Op.11
J.Hillmann

Four Pieces, Op. 4
E. Helling
Suggestion Diabolique


 


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Prokofiev

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Villa-Lobos

 

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