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All my uncertainties

Donald Macleod examines the most hectic year of Prokofiev’s life, where he faced uncertainties about his family and his financial future.

Donald Macleod examines the most hectic year of Prokofiev’s life where he faced uncertainties about his family and his financial future.

After a series of revolutions in his native Russia, the young composer Sergei Prokofiev made the decision to leave his homeland and to head to United States in search of fame and fortune. His years in the United States would turn into some of the most tumultuous of his life. Across this week, Donald explores how those years in exile and how it would prove to be one of his most challenging periods professionally, financially and personally.

His life was set against the turbulent events of the first half of the twentieth century, and forces beyond his control so often intervened to scupper his grand ambitions.

Further delays in his American commission and being reunited with old friends in Europe leads to a difficult decision for the composer.

The Gambler: Four Portraits from the Opera, Op 49 (Portrait No 1; Alexis)
Scottish National Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 16 (mvts 1 & 2)
Freddy Kempf, piano
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor

Quintet in G minor, Op 39 (Selection)
Berlin Soloists

The Prodigal Son, Op 46 (Scene 2, excerpt)
Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor

Chout Suite, Op 21 (excerpts)
London Symphony Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

24 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Sergei Prokofiev

    The Gambler Op.49

    Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Conductor: Neeme Järvi.
    • CHANDOS CHAN8803.
    • Chandos.
    • 9.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Concerto No. 2 in G Minor Op.16 - 1st and 2nd Movements

    Performer: Freddy Kempf. Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Quintet in G Minor Op.39

    Ensemble: Berlin Soloists.
    • WARNER 0927496372.
    • WARNER.
    • 3.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    The Prodigal Son Op.46 - Scene Two extracts

    Orchestra: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Marin Alsop.
    • NAXOS 8572186.
    • NAXOS.
    • 9.
  • Sergei Prokofiev

    Chout - Suite Op.21a

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DECCA 4250272.
    • DECCA.
    • 10.

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