Monday, June 18, 2007

The modern Prokofiev

Lately, I've been kind of obsessed with the music of Sergei Prokofiev, and I've been trying to explore his more modernist side.

A few weeks ago, I posted thusly at the message board of "I noticed reading one of the interviews on this site that many Prokofiev fanatics like the Second Symphony, and I also noticed that 'Rough Guide to Classical Music' referred to the "extreme dissonance" of the second. That sounded promising, so I downloaded a copy from Emusic (the Naxos one, with Theodore Kuchar conducting) and I loved it! I like a lot of the same stuff everyone else likes, such as 'Lt. Kije' and the third piano concerto, but can anyone suggest some other Prokofiev works that are 'modern' or 'out there'?

I got several responses, the most useful from a fellow who posts as morgold and signed his note "Andrew."

He wrote, "I'd say Prokofiev's most modernist works are: (in no particular order)

"Symphony #3; The Fiery Angel; The Gambler; Pas D'Acier; Seven, They Are Seven; Five Sarcasms, for piano; Scythian Suite; Tocatta, op. 11; The Buffoon, op. 21

"Prokofiev also has a number of 'moderately' modernist works, though not quite on the same level as the 2nd or 3rd Symphonies. These would include:

"Quintet, op. 39; Symphonic Song, op. 57; Piano Concertos #2 and #5; The Love for 3 Oranges (the complete opera, not the symphonic suite); Piano Sonatas #6 and #7; Symphony #6; Visions Fugitives, for piano.

"You may also like the Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution; though it is not dissonant like the 2nd Symphony, it is the loudest piece of music Prokofiev ever wrote. If you're interested in modern (though not strictly "modernist") music, you should also check out the opera Semyon Kotko (with Gergiev conducting) and the very dark First Violin Sonata, op. 80."

I've been using his handy list as a downloading guide.


Anonymous said...

missed the original post, but i would mention that symphony no. 3 pales in comparison to The Fiery Angel in its entirety. this is the real deal, the difficult, neglected work that is perhaps the composer's masterpiece. go the extra mile to find the gergiev recording. the jarvi is not good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.
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