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News - Prokofiev's Battlefield Oratorios and Counterparts

Nikolai Cherkasov as Alexander Nevsky in Sergei Eisenstein's film, Alexander Nevsky
Thursday, January 3, 2019

In 1938, Sergei Prokofiev composed the film score to Sergei Eisenstein's iconic Alexander Nevsky. In this pioneering collaboration, the musical composition often preceded that of the images, and the editing was often based on the pacing and rhythm of Prokofiev's score. The result, as Eisenstein writes, is an "audiovisual work", which narrates the victory of the Russians over the Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Lake Peipus (1242).

Fewer than six months after the premiere of the film, Prokofiev conducted the world premiere of his Alexander Nevsky cantata, Op. 78, which pieces together cues from the film into a standalone piece of concert music. As 2019 gets underway, we honor the 80th anniversary of this premiere with the following selections from Prokofiev's stunning catalog of works for chorus and orchestra, along with a few works by living composers that likewise depict heroism on the battlefields of history.

Sergei Prokofiev

Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78
Listen: Spotify
 
Ballad of an Unknown Boy, Op. 93
Listen: YouTube
 
Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116A
Listen: Spotify
 
On Guard for Peace, Op. 124
Listen: Spotify

Tan Dun

Heaven Earth Mankind (Symphony 1997)
Listen: Spotify

Gabriela Lena Frank

Conquest Requiem

John Harbison

Juste Judex
Listen: YouTube

Richard Danielpour

An American Requiem
Listen: Spotify

Aaron Jay Kernis

Remembering the Sea (Se Souvenant de la Mer)

Thea Musgrave

The Five Ages of Man

For more information, please contact Andrew Stein-Zeller


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