Prokofiev - Back In The Ussr

Episodes

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01A Prodigal Son Returns20161219

Why Prokofiev chose to return to the USSR at the height of Stalin's Great Terror.

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's triumphant - and ultimately tragic - return to the USSR. Featuring a complete performance of the classic musical fable Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Prokofiev's first wife Lina.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

Donald Macleod begins the week with a perplexing question: why did Prokofiev choose to return to Russia at the height of Stalin's Great Terror: a time when artists, intellectuals and cultural figures (not least, Prokofiev's fellow composer Dmitri Shostakovich) lived in fear of their lives? Donald introduces a complete performance of Prokofiev's much-loved children's tale Peter and the Wolf (for which the composer wrote the story as well as music), narrated by Prokofiev's first wife Lina - herself a survivor of eight years in the Gulag.

Prokofiev: Troika (Lieutenant Kijé) (arr Chiu)

Frederick Chiu (piano)

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No 2 in G minor (II. Andante assai)

Janine Jansen, violin

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Vladimir Jurowski, conductor

Prokofiev, arr Rozhdestvensky: The Queen of Spades - Liza; Boris Godunov - Polonaise, Scene at the Fountain (Pushkiniana)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Dmitry Yablonsky, conductor

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

Lina Prokofiev, speaker

Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Järvi, conductor.

01A Prodigal Son Returns20161219

Why Prokofiev chose to return to the USSR at the height of Stalin's Great Terror.

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's triumphant - and ultimately tragic - return to the USSR. Featuring a complete performance of the classic musical fable Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Prokofiev's first wife Lina.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

Donald Macleod begins the week with a perplexing question: why did Prokofiev choose to return to Russia at the height of Stalin's Great Terror: a time when artists, intellectuals and cultural figures (not least, Prokofiev's fellow composer Dmitri Shostakovich) lived in fear of their lives? Donald introduces a complete performance of Prokofiev's much-loved children's tale Peter and the Wolf (for which the composer wrote the story as well as music), narrated by Prokofiev's first wife Lina - herself a survivor of eight years in the Gulag.

Prokofiev: Troika (Lieutenant Kijé) (arr Chiu)

Frederick Chiu (piano)

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No 2 in G minor (II. Andante assai)

Janine Jansen, violin

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Vladimir Jurowski, conductor

Prokofiev, arr Rozhdestvensky: The Queen of Spades - Liza; Boris Godunov - Polonaise, Scene at the Fountain (Pushkiniana)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Dmitry Yablonsky, conductor

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf

Lina Prokofiev, speaker

Scottish National Orchestra

Neeme Järvi, conductor.

02Romeo and Juliet20161220

Donald Macleod focuses on the genesis of Prokofiev's ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet.

Donald Macleod explores the genesis of Prokofiev's ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet - exploring the work with fresh ears in a host of dazzling and unusual arrangements.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

Today's episode is devoted entirely to Prokofiev's much-loved ballet Romeo and Juliet. Donald Macleod tells the story of the work's troubled genesis in the face of meddling from the cultural commissars, as the Prokofiev family prepared to make a permanent move back to the Soviet Union. He introduces a host of unusual and imaginative arrangements of highlights from the score - including for brass band, marimba and cello quartets, trombone, viola duo and jazz ensemble.

Prokofiev: Dance of the Knights (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Drabkin)

Rastrelli Cello Quartet

Prokofiev: The Death of Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Schonstädt)

german hornsound 8.1

Simon Rosler, percussion

Hannes Krämer, conductor

Prokofiev: The Young Juliet (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Lindberg)

Christian Lindberg, trombone

Roland Pöntinen, piano

Prokofiev: Masks (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Heifetz)

Gil Shaham, violin

Orli Shaham, piano

Prokofiev: Morning Serenade (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Borizovski)

Matthew Jones, Rivka Golani, violas

Michael Hampton, piano

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Before Parting (10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op 75)

Bernd Glemser, piano

Prokofiev: Dance of the Girls With Lilies (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Drabkin)

Rastrelli Cello Quartet

Prokofiev: Juliet's Death (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Tarkmann)

hr brass

Lutz Kohler, conductor

Prokofiev: Dance of The Knights (arr Yuri Markin)

Yuri Markin Jazz Quartet:

Yuri Markin, piano

Sergey Rezantzev, alto sax

Andrey Doudchenko, double bass

Peter Talalay, drums.

02Romeo And Juliet20161220

Donald Macleod focuses on the genesis of Prokofiev's ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet.

Donald Macleod explores the genesis of Prokofiev's ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet - exploring the work with fresh ears in a host of dazzling and unusual arrangements.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

Today's episode is devoted entirely to Prokofiev's much-loved ballet Romeo and Juliet. Donald Macleod tells the story of the work's troubled genesis in the face of meddling from the cultural commissars, as the Prokofiev family prepared to make a permanent move back to the Soviet Union. He introduces a host of unusual and imaginative arrangements of highlights from the score - including for brass band, marimba and cello quartets, trombone, viola duo and jazz ensemble.

Prokofiev: Dance of the Knights (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Drabkin)

Rastrelli Cello Quartet

Prokofiev: The Death of Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Schonstädt)

german hornsound 8.1

Simon Rosler, percussion

Hannes Krämer, conductor

Prokofiev: The Young Juliet (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Lindberg)

Christian Lindberg, trombone

Roland Pöntinen, piano

Prokofiev: Masks (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Heifetz)

Gil Shaham, violin

Orli Shaham, piano

Prokofiev: Morning Serenade (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Borizovski)

Matthew Jones, Rivka Golani, violas

Michael Hampton, piano

Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Before Parting (10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet, Op 75)

Bernd Glemser, piano

Prokofiev: Dance of the Girls With Lilies (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Drabkin)

Prokofiev: Juliet's Death (Romeo and Juliet) (arr Tarkmann)

hr brass

Lutz Kohler, conductor

Prokofiev: Dance of The Knights (arr Yuri Markin)

Yuri Markin Jazz Quartet:

Yuri Markin, piano

Sergey Rezantzev, alto sax

Andrey Doudchenko, double bass

Peter Talalay, drums.

03Alexander Nevsky20161221

Focusing on Prokofiev's first struggles with the brutal realities of state criticism.

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's first struggles with the brutal realities of state criticism. Featuring excerpts from his cantata Alexander Nevsky, drawn from his incidental music to Eisenstein's iconic film.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

After his passport was confiscated in the late 1930s it began to dawn on Prokofiev that the life of this "prodigal son" would never be the same again. Under immense pressure to write works that glorified the Soviet state, he made a series of missteps that put his life in peril: first composing a series of insipid agit-prop songs, then an enormous cantata to commemorate the October Revolution in which Lenin and Stalin's texts appeared chilling rather than glorious. As his personal life unravelled, he was saved from oblivion by his music to Sergei Eisenstein's iconic film Alexander Nevsky. Donald Macleod introduces excerpts from the cantata Prokofiev created from that incidental music, as well as his little-known Cello Concerto.

Prokofiev: Bravely Forward (Seven Songs, Op.79)

Konstantin Pluzhnikov, tenor

Yuri Serov, piano

Prokofiev: The Constitution (Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution)

Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Prokofiev: II. Allegro giusto (Cello Concerto in E Minor)

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Paavo Järvi, conductor

Prokofiev: Russia Under The Mongolian Yoke; Song About Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Nevsky)

Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish National Chorus

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Prokofiev: Arise Ye Russian People; The Battle on Ice; The Field Of The Dead (Alexander Nevsky)

Linda Finnie, contralto

Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish National Chorus

Neeme Järvi, conductor.

03Alexander Nevsky20161221

Focusing on Prokofiev's first struggles with the brutal realities of state criticism.

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's first struggles with the brutal realities of state criticism. Featuring excerpts from his cantata Alexander Nevsky, drawn from his incidental music to Eisenstein's iconic film.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

After his passport was confiscated in the late 1930s it began to dawn on Prokofiev that the life of this "prodigal son" would never be the same again. Under immense pressure to write works that glorified the Soviet state, he made a series of missteps that put his life in peril: first composing a series of insipid agit-prop songs, then an enormous cantata to commemorate the October Revolution in which Lenin and Stalin's texts appeared chilling rather than glorious. As his personal life unravelled, he was saved from oblivion by his music to Sergei Eisenstein's iconic film Alexander Nevsky. Donald Macleod introduces excerpts from the cantata Prokofiev created from that incidental music, as well as his little-known Cello Concerto.

Prokofiev: Bravely Forward (Seven Songs, Op.79)

Konstantin Pluzhnikov, tenor

Yuri Serov, piano

Prokofiev: The Constitution (Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution)

Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus

Neeme Järvi, conductor

Prokofiev: II. Allegro giusto (Cello Concerto in E Minor)

Steven Isserlis (cello)

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra

Paavo Järvi, conductor

Prokofiev: Russia Under The Mongolian Yoke; Song About Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Nevsky)

Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish National Chorus

Prokofiev: Arise Ye Russian People; The Battle on Ice; The Field Of The Dead (Alexander Nevsky)

Linda Finnie, contralto

04War And Piece20161222

Donald Macleod tells the troubled story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece War and Peace.

Donald Macleod tells the troubled story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece - his adaptation of a novel long considered impossible to adapt for the stage: Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

The story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece mirrors the epic drama and human tragedy of its source. War and Peace had long been considered impossible to adapt for the stage - but in the 1940s, as the USSR was drawn into the war by the German Operation Barbarossa, the composer decided to rouse national feeling with Tolstoy's sweeping tale. Donald Macleod explores the story of the work, written as the composer was evacuated to the Caucasus at the height of the fighting, and the personal and professional trials the composer suffered in bringing it to the stage.

Prokofiev: Mazurka (Cinderella Suite no 1, Op.107)

Orchestre de Paris

Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Prokofiev: II. Adagio (String Quartet no.2 "on Kabardinian Themes")

Pavel Haas Quartet

Prokofiev: When I was at Otradnoye in May... (War and Peace, Scene 2)

Roderick Williams, baritone (Andrei)

Russian State Symphonic Cappella

Spoleto Festival Orchestra

Richard Hickox, conductor

Prokofiev: She's wonderful and so beautiful (War and Peace, Scene 4)

Anna Netrebko, soprano (Natasha)

Zlata Bulycheva, mezzo

Dmitry Voropaez, tenor

Vladimir Moroz, bass-baritone

Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre

Valery Gergiev, conductor

Prokofiev: I. Moderato (Flute Sonata)

Emanuel Pahud, flute

Stephan Kovacevich, piano

Prokofiev: The wine is poured... (War and Peace, Scene 9)

Eduard Tumagian, bass-baritone (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Chorus and Orchestra of Radio France

Mstistlav Rostropovich, conductor.

04War and Piece20161222

Donald Macleod tells the troubled story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece War and Peace.

Donald Macleod tells the troubled story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece - his adaptation of a novel long considered impossible to adapt for the stage: Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

The story of Prokofiev's operatic masterpiece mirrors the epic drama and human tragedy of its source. War and Peace had long been considered impossible to adapt for the stage - but in the 1940s, as the USSR was drawn into the war by the German Operation Barbarossa, the composer decided to rouse national feeling with Tolstoy's sweeping tale. Donald Macleod explores the story of the work, written as the composer was evacuated to the Caucasus at the height of the fighting, and the personal and professional trials the composer suffered in bringing it to the stage.

Prokofiev: Mazurka (Cinderella Suite no 1, Op.107)

Orchestre de Paris

Semyon Bychkov, conductor

Prokofiev: II. Adagio (String Quartet no.2 "on Kabardinian Themes")

Pavel Haas Quartet

Prokofiev: When I was at Otradnoye in May... (War and Peace, Scene 2)

Roderick Williams, baritone (Andrei)

Russian State Symphonic Cappella

Spoleto Festival Orchestra

Richard Hickox, conductor

Prokofiev: She's wonderful and so beautiful (War and Peace, Scene 4)

Anna Netrebko, soprano (Natasha)

Zlata Bulycheva, mezzo

Dmitry Voropaez, tenor

Vladimir Moroz, bass-baritone

Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre

Valery Gergiev, conductor

Prokofiev: I. Moderato (Flute Sonata)

Emanuel Pahud, flute

Stephan Kovacevich, piano

Prokofiev: The wine is poured... (War and Peace, Scene 9)

Eduard Tumagian, bass-baritone (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Chorus and Orchestra of Radio France

Mstistlav Rostropovich, conductor.

05Denunciation And Decline20161223

Prokofiev's decline and death after his music was denounced by the state in the late 1940s

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's tragic decline and death after his music was denounced by the state at the end of the 1940s.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

With the war over, and two glittering Stalin Prizes under his belt, things at last seemed to be looking up for Prokofiev. But his world would come crashing down with his infamous denunciation by the state in 1948 - along with Shostakovich, Khachaturian and others - at the height of the USSR's post-war cultural purges. Donald Macleod explores how a devastated Prokofiev never really recovered - either musically or personally - as he set to writing a series of colourless state works that found favour with neither the critics or the authorities. Prokofiev would die in 1953, reportedly just an hour before Stalin.

Prokofiev: II. Andante sognando (Piano Sonata no 8)

Boris Giltburg, piano

Prokofiev: I. Allegro moderato (Symphony no 6)

Bergen Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Litton, conductor

Prokofiev: III. Andante; IV. Allegrissimo (Violin Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op 80)

Alina Ibragimova, violin

Steven Osborne, piano

Prokofiev: Dove of Peace (On Guard For Peace)

Boys Choir of Glinka College

St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Yuri Temirkanov, conductor

Prokofiev: Zdravitsa (Hail to Stalin)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valeri Polyansky, conductor.

05Denunciation and Decline20161223

Prokofiev's decline and death after his music was denounced by the state in the late 1940s

Donald Macleod explores Prokofiev's tragic decline and death after his music was denounced by the state at the end of the 1940s.

Sergei Prokofiev died the same day as Stalin; there were no flowers left for his funeral. It was the grimly ironic end to a return to his Russian motherland that had begun in triumph in the mid-1930s and descended terrifyingly quickly into a fight for his life, in the face of the state's purges of artists and intellectuals. This week, Donald Macleod explores a host of masterpieces - including Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky and the Sixth Symphony - leading to Prokofiev's final, devastating denunciation by the cultural commissars in 1948, a blow from which his music and health would never recover.

With the war over, and two glittering Stalin Prizes under his belt, things at last seemed to be looking up for Prokofiev. But his world would come crashing down with his infamous denunciation by the state in 1948 - along with Shostakovich, Khachaturian and others - at the height of the USSR's post-war cultural purges. Donald Macleod explores how a devastated Prokofiev never really recovered - either musically or personally - as he set to writing a series of colourless state works that found favour with neither the critics or the authorities. Prokofiev would die in 1953, reportedly just an hour before Stalin.

Prokofiev: II. Andante sognando (Piano Sonata no 8)

Boris Giltburg, piano

Prokofiev: I. Allegro moderato (Symphony no 6)

Bergen Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Litton, conductor

Prokofiev: III. Andante; IV. Allegrissimo (Violin Sonata No 1 in F minor, Op 80)

Alina Ibragimova, violin

Steven Osborne, piano

Prokofiev: Dove of Peace (On Guard For Peace)

Boys Choir of Glinka College

St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Yuri Temirkanov, conductor

Prokofiev: Zdravitsa (Hail to Stalin)

Russian State Symphony Orchestra

Valeri Polyansky, conductor.