Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
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1891-04-27
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/0e43fe9d-c472-4b62-be9e-55f971a023e1
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev

Biography

Sergey Prokofiev perhaps contributed more new music to the standard ‘classical’ repertory than any of his contemporaries. Yet he remains a difficult figure to pin down. Born and raised in Tsarist Russia, he established himself as a musical enfant terrible ...

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Biography

Sergey Prokofiev perhaps contributed more new music to the standard ‘classical’ repertory than any of his contemporaries. Yet he remains a difficult figure to pin down. Born and raised in Tsarist Russia, he established himself as a musical enfant terrible in the years before the Revolution, cultivating novel dissonances while still a student pianist-composer at the St Petersburg Conservatory.

Like Beethoven, he completed five concertos for his own instrument, losing interest once he was no longer primarily an executant himself. Despite political and economic turmoil, a burst of creativity around 1917 produced a large pile of scores, not least the First Violin Concerto and the ‘Classical’ Symphony, in which the composer’s lyrical vein is more strongly apparent alongside his keen sense of irony.

After 1918 he lived abroad, first in the USA, where his opera The Love for Three Oranges (1919) was staged, later mainly in Paris, where he became a peripheral member of the Diaghilev set. Several key compositions from this period have a tortured, Expressionistic character, notably the opera The Fiery Angel (1919–23, rev. 1926–7) and the related Third Symphony (1928).

The 1930s brought a surprising and, to some, inexplicable reconciliation with the new Soviet Russia. Prokofiev spent the last 17 years of his life in the USSR, stimulated as well as stifled by the cultural politics dictated by Stalin. The two men even died on the same night (5 March 1953).

Prokofiev’s return to Russia coincided with a state drive for greater directness of expression in the cultural sphere and, whatever the personal and professional setbacks, Prokofiev was encouraged to showcase his melodic gift in a series of major works that have proved to have enduring appeal. Notable among these are the ballets Romeo and Juliet (1935–6) and Cinderella (1940–44), the last three (of seven) symphonies, the last four (of nine) piano sonatas, the film music for Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1942–5), and the children’s fable Peter and the Wolf (1936). Acceptance of his magnum opus, the epic opera War and Peace (1941–3, rev. 1946–52), has been hindered by the lack of a definitive text and perceived ideological problems. But, for good or ill, he was an artist for hire, who prided himself on his professionalism.

As we come to know the composer’s personality through his music – in all its bracing humour, tender nostalgia and considerable tragic power – we can sense a uniquely positive response to difficult and dangerous times.

Profile by David Gutman © BBC

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev Audio & Video


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Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Le pas D’acier Op. 41- Closing Scene
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Le pas D’acier Op. 41- Closing Scene
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
4 Marches for military band (Op.69) , no.1; March for a Spartakiade
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4 Marches for military band (Op.69) , no.1; March for a Spartakiade
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Pushkin waltz for orchestra no. 1 (Op.120`1) in F major
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Pushkin waltz for orchestra no. 1 (Op.120`1) in F major
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Dance of the Knights from the ballet suite Romeo and Juliet arr. Borisovsky
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Dance of the Knights from the ballet suite Romeo and Juliet arr. Borisovsky
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Concerto for violin and orchestra no. 2 (Op.63)
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Concerto for violin and orchestra no. 2 (Op.63)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Suite: The Love for Three Oranges
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Suite: The Love for Three Oranges
David Bowie
Peter and the Wolf Op.67: Conclusion; The Hunters Arrive; Procession to the Zoo
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Peter and the Wolf Op.67: Conclusion; The Hunters Arrive; Procession to the Zoo
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Dance with Mandolins (Romeo and Juliet)
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Dance with Mandolins (Romeo and Juliet)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Dance of the Knights (Act 1, Romeo and Juliet)
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Dance of the Knights (Act 1, Romeo and Juliet)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Waltz suite for orchestra (Op.110), Since we met ['War and peace']
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Waltz suite for orchestra (Op.110), Since we met ['War and peace']
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Sonata in D major Op.94 for flute and piano - 2nd mvt
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Sonata in D major Op.94 for flute and piano - 2nd mvt
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Sinfonietta in A op.5/48 1st mvt: Allegro giocoso
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Sinfonietta in A op.5/48 1st mvt: Allegro giocoso
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Excerpts from 'Romeo and Juliet' suites no.1 Op.64a and no.2 Op.64b
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Excerpts from 'Romeo and Juliet' suites no.1 Op.64a and no.2 Op.64b
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Lieutenant Kijé op.60 - Symphonic Suite; 2. Romance
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Lieutenant Kijé op.60 - Symphonic Suite; 2. Romance
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Dance of the Five Couples (Romeo and Juliet)
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Dance of the Five Couples (Romeo and Juliet)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Violin Sonata No.2
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Violin Sonata No.2
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Piano Concerto No. 5 in G Op. 55 (ii. Moderato)
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Piano Concerto No. 5 in G Op. 55 (ii. Moderato)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Piano Sonata No.2 in D minor, Op.14
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Piano Sonata No.2 in D minor, Op.14
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Symphony no. 1 (Op.25) in D major "Classical": 1st movement; Allegro
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Symphony no. 1 (Op.25) in D major "Classical": 1st movement; Allegro
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Troika (Lieutenant Kije Symphonic Suite, Op.60)
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Troika (Lieutenant Kije Symphonic Suite, Op.60)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Cinderella's waltz from Zolushka [Cinderella] suite no.1 (Op.107)
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Cinderella's waltz from Zolushka [Cinderella] suite no.1 (Op.107)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Summer day - children's suite for small orch (Op.65a).., no.5; March
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Summer day - children's suite for small orch (Op.65a).., no.5; March
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Piano Concerto No.5 in G major (Proms 2015)
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Piano Concerto No.5 in G major (Proms 2015)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Piano Concerto No.4 in B flat major
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Piano Concerto No.4 in B flat major
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Piano Concerto No.1 in D flat major (Proms 2015)
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Piano Concerto No.1 in D flat major (Proms 2015)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Depature; Snow outside the window; Waltz on the ice (Winter Bonfire, Op.122)
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Depature; Snow outside the window; Waltz on the ice (Winter Bonfire, Op.122)
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
March - from 'The Love for Three Oranges' arr. for violin and piano
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March - from 'The Love for Three Oranges' arr. for violin and piano
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
The Love for three oranges Op.33b (Scherzo and March), arr. for accordian
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The Love for three oranges Op.33b (Scherzo and March), arr. for accordian
Add music you love and enjoy it
Playlists featuring Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
Essential Classics: Guest Choices
BBC 2014 FIFA World Cup
BBC 2014 FIFA World Cup
BBC Proms 2015: Katie Derham Curates
BBC Proms 2015: Katie Derham Curates


Biography

Sergey Prokofiev perhaps contributed more new music to the standard ‘classical’ repertory than any of his contemporaries. Yet he remains a difficult figure to pin down. Born and raised in Tsarist Russia, he established himself as a musical enfant terrible in the years before the Revolution, cultivating novel dissonances while still a student pianist-composer at the St Petersburg Conservatory.

Like Beethoven, he completed five concertos for his own instrument, losing interest once he was no longer primarily an executant himself. Despite political and economic turmoil, a burst of creativity around 1917 produced a large pile of scores, not least the First Violin Concerto and the ‘Classical’ Symphony, in which the composer’s lyrical vein is more strongly apparent alongside his keen sense of irony.

After 1918 he lived abroad, first in the USA, where his opera The Love for Three Oranges (1919) was staged, later mainly in Paris, where he became a peripheral member of the Diaghilev set. Several key compositions from this period have a tortured, Expressionistic character, notably the opera The Fiery Angel (1919–23, rev. 1926–7) and the related Third Symphony (1928).

The 1930s brought a surprising and, to some, inexplicable reconciliation with the new Soviet Russia. Prokofiev spent the last 17 years of his life in the USSR, stimulated as well as stifled by the cultural politics dictated by Stalin. The two men even died on the same night (5 March 1953).

Prokofiev’s return to Russia coincided with a state drive for greater directness of expression in the cultural sphere and, whatever the personal and professional setbacks, Prokofiev was encouraged to showcase his melodic gift in a series of major works that have proved to have enduring appeal. Notable among these are the ballets Romeo and Juliet (1935–6) and Cinderella (1940–44), the last three (of seven) symphonies, the last four (of nine) piano sonatas, the film music for Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1942–5), and the children’s fable Peter and the Wolf (1936). Acceptance of his magnum opus, the epic opera War and Peace (1941–3, rev. 1946–52), has been hindered by the lack of a definitive text and perceived ideological problems. But, for good or ill, he was an artist for hire, who prided himself on his professionalism.

As we come to know the composer’s personality through his music – in all its bracing humour, tender nostalgia and considerable tragic power – we can sense a uniquely positive response to difficult and dangerous times.

Profile by David Gutman © BBC

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