Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Episodes

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Do not stay too long20191009

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he tries to establish himself in America – with mixed results.

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.

After his first American commission, fate intervenes to put the composer in a very difficult position.

The Love for Three Oranges Symphonic Suite, Op 33bis (Marche)
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Neville Marriner, conductor

Four Pieces, Op 32 (selection)
Boris Berman, piano

Piano Concerto No 3 in C major, Op 26 (mvts 1 & 2)
Freddy Kempf, piano
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor

Five melodies for violin and piano, Op 35bis (selection)
Aylen Pritchen, violin
Yury Favorin, piano

The Fiery Angel, Op 37 (Act IV Scene 1)
Sergei Leiferkus, baritone (Ruprecht)
Galina Gorchakova, soprano (Renata)
Kirov Theatre Chorus and Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor

Sonata No 3 in A minor, Op 28
Martha Argerich, piano

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he tries to establish himself in America.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01To go to America20191007
01To go to America20191007

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev has he prepares to abandon his homeland and escape to America.

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.

As war and revolution ravage Russia and dramatically change the composer’s world, the opportunity of America is too much to resist.

Violin Concerto No 1 in D, Op 19 (3rd mvt)
Vilde Frang, violin
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Thomas Søndergård, conductor

Seven, They Are Seven, Op 30
Iouri Elnikov, Tenor
USSR State Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra
Gennady Rojdestvenski, conductor

Sonata for piano No 2, Op 14 (3rd & 4th Mvts)
Pascal Devoyon, piano

Visions Fugitives, Op 22 (selection)
Steven Osborne, piano

Symphony No 1 in D major, Op 25 (Classical)
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev has he prepares to abandon Russia.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02A good feeling20191008
02A good feeling20191008

Donald Macleod looks at Prokofiev’s first turbulent days in America – where he has to face down immigration officials and the American critics.

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.

The composer’s first encounters with the American cities he’d dreamed of would prove to be the first in a series of disappointments.

Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op 31
Matti Raekallio, piano

Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op 34
Berlin Soloists

Prelude from 10 pieces for piano, Op 12
Cyprien Katsaris, piano

Concerto No 1 for piano and orchestra in D flat major, Op 10 (excerpts)
Vladimir Krainev, piano
The Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Dmitri Kitayenko, conductor

Scythian Suite, Op 20
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at Prokofiev\u2019s first turbulent days in America.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Do not stay too long20191009

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he tries to establish himself in America – with mixed results.

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.

After his first American commission, fate intervenes to put the composer in a very difficult position.

The Love for Three Oranges Symphonic Suite, Op 33bis (Marche)
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Neville Marriner, conductor

Four Pieces, Op 32 (selection)
Boris Berman, piano

Piano Concerto No 3 in C major, Op 26 (mvts 1 & 2)
Freddy Kempf, piano
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor

Five melodies for violin and piano, Op 35bis (selection)
Aylen Pritchen, violin
Yury Favorin, piano

The Fiery Angel, Op 37 (Act IV Scene 1)
Sergei Leiferkus, baritone (Ruprecht)
Galina Gorchakova, soprano (Renata)
Kiev Chorus and Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor

Sonata No 3 in A minor, Op 28
Martha Argerich, piano

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod follows Prokofiev as he tried to establish himself in America.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04All my uncertainties20191010
04All my uncertainties20191010

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

Donald Macleod examines the most hectic year of Prokofiev\u2019s life.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05Too soon20191011
05Too soon20191011

Donald Macleod looks at how America influenced Prokofiev – and if the composer’s American dream ever died.

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.

In his later years, Prokofiev committed himself to a life in Russia but despite finally having a place to call home, he could never quite escape the pull of America.

American Overture, Op 42
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor

Peter and the Wolf (excerpt)
Sir John Gielgud, narrator
Academy of London
Richard Stamp, conductor

Five Poems, Op 36 (selection)
Claudia Barainsky, soprano
Axel Bauni, piano

The Love of Three Oranges Symphonic Suite, Op 33bis
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Neville Marriner, conductor

Romeo and Juliet, Op 64 (excerpts)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Yuri Simonov, conductor

Producer: Glyn Tansley for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod looks at how America influenced Prokofiev.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.