Sergei Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky

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New York, NY : Oxford University Press,, United States, p.x, 161 pages : (2017)



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Includes bibliographical references and index.Origins, advantages, anxieties -- Creating a blockbuster -- The Thirteenth century in sounds -- Nevsky goes to war -- From hot war to Cold war -- Nevsky after the USSR.Audiences have long enjoyed Sergei Prokofiev's musical score for Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film Alexander Nevsky. The historical epic cast a thirteenth-century Russian victory over invading Teutonic Knights as an allegory of contemporary Soviet strength in the face of Nazi warmongering. Prokofiev's and Eisenstenin's work proved an enormous success, both as a collaboration of two of the twentieth century's most prominent artists and as a means to bolster patriotism and national pride among Soviet audiences. Arranged as a cantata for concert performance, Prokofiev's music for Alexander Nevsky proved malleable, its meaning reconfigured to suit different circumstances and times. Author Kevin Bartig draws on previously unexamined archival materials to follow Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky from its inception through the present day. He considers the music's genesis as well as the suprisingly different ways it has engaged listeners over the past eighty years, from its beginnings as state propaganda in the 1930s, to showpiece for high-fidelity recording in the 1950s, to open-air concert favorite in the post-Soviet 1990s. -- from back cover.