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Sergei Prokofiev. . Bio. Prokofiev was born in 1891 in Sontsovka , Ukraine Became very good at piano and chess from an early age Lived in St. Petersburg, Russia from 1904-1918 Left Communist Russia in 1918 to seek a more open-minded music environment

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Sergei Prokofiev

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  • Prokofiev was born in 1891 in Sontsovka, Ukraine
  • Became very good at piano and chess from an early age
  • Lived in St. Petersburg, Russia from 1904-1918
  • Left Communist Russia in 1918 to seek a more open-minded music environment
  • Experienced a successful touring Career in America
  • Experienced little success after touring and headed to paris.
  • Returned to Russia in 1936
  • Known for bad luck; the premier for his opera “love for Three Oranges” as cancelled due to death of the conductor, the premier for his opera “SemyonKotko” was postponed due to the conductor being executed, and he suffered a concussion that effected his ability to compose right after the premier of his acclaimed 5th symphony
  • Was inspired by hearing his mother practice the piano
  • Composed his first piece at 5, an “Indian Gallop” in the lydian mode.
  • Composed his first opera at 9
  • Studied composition under Reinhold Gliere
  • Entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory at age 13 in 1904
  • Studied under Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Finished education at St. Petersburg in 1914
  • Neo-Romantic/Neo-Classical
  • Dissonant
  • Mix of tonal and atonal elements
  • Playful feel despite dissonances
  • Marked by sharp contrasts between phrases
  • Unstable, “schizophrenic”
symphony no 1 classique vertical harmonic characteristics
Symphony No. 1 “Classique” – Vertical-Harmonic Characteristics
  • Less dissonances than we should expect from Prokofiev
  • Chords are used classically, with less use of sus. sixth, seventh, ninth chords etc. than would typically be seen of music of this era. (Many simple 1-3-5 chords)
  • Prokofiev, however, does use seventh and ninth chords in ways that classical composers wouldn’t
  • Harmonies do not stray from what would have been usable in the classical era (terniary)
harmonic characteristics horizontal
Harmonic characteristics - Horizontal
  • Frequent and rapid and modulations to unrelated keys; at rehearsal mark 1, for example, the piece modulates from D to C with no harmonic preparation (Unprepared modulation)
  • Use of more traditional ionian and aeolian modes
  • Use of hybrid modes; meas 50 of IV, Prokofiev uses C major chord and a Bb major chord successively (Video 10:53) creating an almost mixolydian feel. He then repeats this in the dominant key of g.
  • Traditional use of tonic-dominant axis, which is characteristic of traditional music
  • non-tonally-related chords juxtaposed against series of related chords
  • Mix of classical cadences (authentic, plagal) with more modern ones (deceptive (especially common), unprepared cadences, parallel chords)
  • The classical feel of the piece, from a harmonic perspective, is created through the use of diatonic aeolian and ionian melodies and frequent use of authentic cadences.