The Impact Of The Man From Votkinsk

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The Impact Of The Man From Votkinsk

Post by dulcinea » Thu May 18, 2017 11:50 am

My first Prokofiev was the Disney cartoon of PETER AND THE WOLF; my second was the CLASSICAL SYMPHONY, courtesy of TIME-LIFE LIBRARY OF MUSIC. At that time I could not judge whether SP had accurately imitated Haydn because all I knew of FJH was the SURPRISE SYMPHONY and the Trumpet Concerto. Now that I have listened to almost all the FJH symphonies and many others of his instrumental works, I can state with confidence that SP's first symphony does NOT sound anything like FJH, but rather like the Chaykovsky of the ballets. The second movement resembles SWAN LAKE, the third movement echoes SLEEPING BEAUTY, and the first and fourth movements are in the spirit of THE NUTCRACKER.
How do you account for this impact of the Man from Votkinsk in the music of so many Russians, including SP and Shostakovich, who have such distinctive styles?
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Re: The Impact Of The Man From Votkinsk

Post by John F » Thu May 18, 2017 3:02 pm

What makes Prokofiev's first symphony "classical" is not its resemblance (or not) to Haydn's style, though Prokofiev is known to have had that in mind, but its adoption in 1917, four years after "The Rite of Spring," of characteristic 18th century forms and functional harmony. Also the symphony's wit, quite different from Haydn's of course but every bit as amusing.

I can say with equal confidence that the perceptible influence of Tchaikovsky's music on that of Prokofiev and Shostakovich is so negligible as to be undetectable, to me anyway. I simply don't hear the resemblances you claim between Tchaikovsky's ballets and specific movements of the Classical Symphony.
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Re: The Impact Of The Man From Votkinsk

Post by diegobueno » Tue May 30, 2017 9:35 am

It would be more productive to note the impact of Tchaikovsky on Stravinsky, who composed all his life for the ballet.

Of course the place to start is the ballet La baiser de la fee in which he took material from Tchaikovsky's works, mostly minor piano pieces, and deconstructed them to fit his own personality, while still sounding recognizably Tchaikovskian.

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