By Kevin Bartig

ISBN-10: 0199967598

ISBN-13: 9780199967599

Sound movie captivated Sergey Prokofiev throughout the ultimate 20 years of his lifestyles: he thought of composing for almost dozen photos, finally project 8 of them, all Soviet productions. Hollywood luminaries similar to Gloria Swanson tempted him with commissions, and arguably extra humans heard his movie track than his efforts in all different genres mixed. motion pictures for which Prokofiev composed, specifically these of Sergey Eisenstein, are actually classics of worldwide cinema. Drawing on newly to be had resources, Composing for the purple Screen examines - for the 1st time - the entire quantity of this prodigious cinematic occupation.

Author Kevin Bartig examines how Prokofiev's movie track derived from a self-imposed problem: to compose "serious" track for a huge viewers. the image that emerges is of a composer looking a person film-music voice, shunning Hollywood types and objecting to his Soviet colleagues' ideologically expedient movie songs. taking a look at Prokofiev's movie track as a complete - with famous blockbusters like Alexander Nevsky thought of along extra vague or aborted initiatives - finds that there have been a number of options to the problem, every one with various levels of good fortune. Prokofiev conscientiously balanced his personal populist schedule, the perceived aesthetic calls for of the movies themselves, and, in a while, Soviet bureaucratic calls for for accessibility.

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Extra info for Composing for the Red Screen: Prokofiev and Soviet Film

Example text

The first disc nonetheless came out well except for the second clarinet playing wrong notes. We repeated it; the clarinet played correctly, but I played worse. Three hours thus passed. 82 Like most of the composers and performers who made recordings in the 1920s and 1930s, Prokofiev found the process unsettling and unforgiving. Following the session with the Third Piano Concerto, he bemoaned the challenge of playing with complete precision for four-minute stretches (the length of one side of a gramophone record).

7 This unhappy turn of events notwithstanding, Prokofiev left California with a newfound interest in music for sound films. 8 Prokofiev knew that cinema audiences were growing rapidly and that sound films had wide, frequently international distributions. Actors and directors received substantial fees, and, as Prokofiev assumed, so could composers. But the average cinemagoer had radically different aesthetic and stylistic expectations from those of the elite Parisian audiences to which Prokofiev was accustomed.

Dissonance’s supremacy has passed and is at death’s door. Jazz ekes out a pitiful existence and its irrelevance dooms it to death. 27 Dissonance and atonality were relatively obvious targets for Prokofiev. Jazz was likely a more oblique attack on Prokofiev’s Parisian contemporaries, the composers of Les Six. Members of the group frequently incorporated jazz into their audience-friendly concert works, perhaps most famously in Darius Milhaud’s Le boeuf sur le toit (1920). Prokofiev, by contrast, bristled at mixtures of symphonic and popular styles, particularly as a means of appealing to a wide public.

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Composing for the Red Screen: Prokofiev and Soviet Film by Kevin Bartig


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