VVCD - 00051
Sergei Prokofiev

Symphony No 7 in C sharp minor
Two Pushkin Waltzes
Waltz from the opera War and Peace
Waltz from the ballet Cinderella
The Love for Three Oranges, Symphony Suite

Moscow Symphony Orchestra Conductor Vladimir Ziva

DDD 67.09

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Symphony No 7 was the last completed work by Prokofiev and his last public appearance. In 1957, following a petition by Shostakovich, Prokofiev was posthumously awarded the Lenin prize for the Seventh Symphony, the Lenin Prize was of course the highest award in the USSR.
The Communist Party anti-formalist decree of 1948 devastated the Russian music and actually put some composers, including Prokofiev, on the verge of survival. Facing the accusations of formalism and cosmopolitanism composers were forced to write with a deliberate simplicity trying to obey hard ideological schemes. Prokofiev did not escape this either as one can see in his The Meeting of the Volga and the Don Festive Poem, On Guard for Peace Oratorio and Winter Bonfire Suite. However Symphony No 7 became "a work of high perfection, deep feeling and great talent" (Shostakovich' letter of October 12, 1952).
The main theme of the Symphony became one of Prokofiev's most moving elegies. It is a strict and almost dotted music that reflects a deep quiet sadness and memory of Russia. A side theme is kind of Memory of the Sun (the title of a romance that Prokofiev wrote on Akhmatova's poem; it should be mentioned that Prokofiev called himself sunny). But here we find the sunset of the star.
In its original version the symphony ended with the theme of the clock. The passing time was a more than evident metaphor of parting with life and very much counter to official optimism of party ideology. Prokofiev was forced to write another, more formal and "true" version of the finale using "the young pioneer" theme of the final movement. It goes without saying that nowadays the Symphony is everywhere performed in its original version.
Prokofiev' waltzes for symphony orchestra visibly connect him to the traditions of the Russian symphonic music, commencing from Glinka. Prokofiev once observed when describing his impression of the waltz from Myaskovsky 16th Symphony that "Glinka's smile is seen through it".
It is very true of Prokofiev's Waltzes from the opera War and Peace and from the ballet Cinderella.
Two Pushkin Waltzes constitute only a part of Prokofiev's extensive musical heritage on the themes of the great Russian poet.
The musical images of Prokofiev's theatrical works were so bright that gave an excellent chance to use them beyond the context of the plays. The Love for Three Oranges Symphony suite is not an exception to this. The March in its center has become one of the brightest pieces of Prokofiev's music, its "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" to the XX century music.
Mikhail Segelman

Recorded by Vista Vera in 2003.
Sound engineer Vladimir Koptsov.
Total time 67.09

Cover: photo by Alexei Egorov


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