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Sergey Prokofiev

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (; Russian: Серге́й Серге́евич Проко́фьев, tr. Sergej Sergejevič Prokofjev; 27 April [O.S. 15 April] 1891 – 5 March 1953) was a Russian Soviet composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous music genres, he is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His works include such widely heard pieces as the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet—from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken—and Peter and the Wolf. Of the established forms and genres in which he worked, he created – excluding juvenilia – seven completed operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a symphony-concerto for cello and orchestra, and nine completed piano sonatas.

A graduate of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev initially made his name as an iconoclastic composer-pianist, achieving notoriety with a series of ferociously dissonant and virtuosic works for his instrument, including his first two piano concertos. In 1915, Prokofiev made a decisive break from the standard composer-pianist category with his orchestral Scythian Suite, compiled from music originally composed for a ballet commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes. Diaghilev commissioned three further ballets from Prokofiev—Chout, Le pas d'acier and The Prodigal Son—which at the time of their original production all caused a sensation among both critics and colleagues. Prokofiev's greatest interest, however, was opera, and he composed several works in that genre, including The Gambler and The Fiery Angel. Prokofiev's one operatic success during his lifetime was The Love for Three Oranges, composed for the Chicago Opera and subsequently performed over the following decade in Europe and Russia.

After the Revolution of 1917, Prokofiev left Russia with the official blessing of the Soviet minister Anatoly Lunacharsky, and resided in the United States, then Germany, then Paris, making his living as a composer, pianist and conductor. During that time, he married a Spanish singer, Carolina (Lina) Codina, with whom he had two sons. In the early 1930s, the Great Depression diminished opportunities for Prokofiev's ballets and operas to be staged in America and western Europe. Prokofiev, who regarded himself as composer foremost, resented the time taken by touring as a pianist, and increasingly turned to the Soviet Union for commissions of new music; in 1936, he finally returned to his homeland with his family. He enjoyed some success there – notably with Lieutenant Kijé, Peter and the Wolf, Romeo and Juliet, and perhaps above all with Alexander Nevsky.

The Nazi invasion of the USSR spurred him to compose his most ambitious work, an operatic version of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. In 1948, Prokofiev was attacked for producing "anti-democratic formalism." Nevertheless, he enjoyed personal and artistic support from a new generation of Russian performers, notably Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovich: he wrote his ninth piano sonata for the former and his Symphony-Concerto for the latter.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 23rd, 1891 (Sontsivka), Died March 5th, 1953 (Moscow)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1929 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, piano

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BAVE-44679 10-in. Fall 1929 Obertura sobre temas judíos Orquesta Argentina Víctor de Salón Instrumental ensemble composer  
Victor BAVE-44680 10-in. Fall 1929 Obertura sobre temas judíos Orquesta Argentina Víctor de Salón Instrumental ensemble composer  
Victor CVE-48979 12-in. 4/22/1929 Classical symphony in D major Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-48980 12-in. 4/22/1929 Classical symphony in D major Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-48981 12-in. 4/22/1929 Classical symphony in D major Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CVE-48982 12-in. 4/22/1929 Scherzo and march Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor BS-83145 10-in. 5/14/1934 Love for three oranges : March Bruno Reibold ; Victor Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-03188 12-in. 12/30/1936 The love for three oranges—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014400 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014401 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014402 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014403 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014404 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014405 12-in. 12/20/1937 Concerto no. 2, in G minor Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Jascha Heifetz ; Serge Koussevitzky Violin solo and orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014425 12-in. 12/22/1937 Lieutenant Kije—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014426 12-in. 12/22/1937 Lieutenant Kije—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014427 12-in. 12/22/1937 Lieutenant Kije—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014428 12-in. 12/22/1937 Lieutenant Kije—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor CS-014429 12-in. 12/22/1937 Lieutenant Kije—Suite Boston Symphony Orchestra ; Serge Koussevitzky Orchestra composer  
Victor BS-068127 10-in. 10/28/1941 Peter and the wolf Harry Breuer ; Sam Praeger ; Lew White Organ solo, with xylophone and piano composer  
Victor BS-068128 10-in. 10/28/1941 Peter and the wolf Harry Breuer ; Sam Praeger ; Lew White Organ solo, with xylophone and piano composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Prokofiev, Sergey," accessed July 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102698.

Prokofiev, Sergey. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102698.

"Prokofiev, Sergey." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102698

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