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Check out the Wikipedia article on Prokofiev and that cantata

Prokofiev's Op. 74 ("Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution") was written to celebrate the Russian Revolution and the gains of the proletariat consolidated under Stalin. Certainly the text would fall into our ideas of "fodder" (Prokofiev may have simply have considered it patriotic), but the music was considered too dangerous and dissonant for the commissars. At the preliminary audition at the Committee on Arts Affairs, Prokofiev was admonished by Kerzhentsev, "Just what do you think you're doing, Sergey Sergeyevich, taking texts that belong to the people and setting them to such incomprehensible music?" Prokofiev took the "hint" and withdrew the work before it was ever performed publicly. The first performance (not even of the whole work!) took place in 1966 - Prokofiev had been dead for 13 years. I think the recording shown in the OP of this thread was made not long afterwards.

This cantata is IMHO a masterpiece of musical imagination, truly an awesome work! The forces used in this work are in themselve staggering:

Quadruple woodwinds
Eight horns
Four trumpets
Four tombones
Two tubas
Accordion orchestra (bayan concertinas)
Military band (saxhorn family instruments, extra trumpets, French horns, tenor horns, euphonium, tubas, and snare drum)
Percussion ensemble (alarm bells, cannon shot, sirens)
Eight-part chorus
Speaker on megaphone (as the voice of Lenin)
Maxim Gun (I don't even know what a Maxim Gun is!)

(list from the Wikipedia article on this work)

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  • Check out the Wikipedia article on Prokofiev and that cantata - Chris from Lafayette 20:57:20 04/10/17 (0)


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