“I thought I had seen and heard everything.... that's until I met Prokofiev”
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was a Russian composer. He was notorious for having very thick lips.
Prokofiev was born in Russia to Russian parents. In consequence, he spent much his life being very Russian, except when he was being very un-Russian in a very Russian way.
When he was six months old, he played Mozartian melodies with his right hand and bashed out (col pugno in Italian) terrible random chords with his left hand. Hence he was named an enfant terrible (thunder lizard).
As a young man, Prokofiev was an angry young man. At the St. Petersburg Conservatory, he found his composition classes boring, which made him angry. He responded by writing pastiches of music popular at the time. Later he wrote music that was so original that it sounded like a pastiche.
His first popular compositions were the first two piano concertos, and his first symphony ("Haydn"). This popularity made him very angry, and he thought that, if the Russians liked his music, there must be something wrong with it or them. He moved to Paris, the most un-Russian place possible, where many Russian artists were creating very Russian art.
I hate Russia!
Despite his best efforts, people still enjoyed his music, which made him furious. He wrote a horrible opera about an angel that burned to death ("The Fiery Angel"), which was generally disliked, and Prokofiev realised he was onto something. Then he wrote a really terrible symphony (Symphony No. 2 "Accident in Buzzsaw Factory"), but this turned out to be very popular, and he realised he'd lost it again.
I love men!
In a rage he decamped to the United States of America (at this time, decamping was still popular among heterosexual men), and tried to infuriate the locals by writing his Overture on Hebrew Themes ("Ouverture vers Juif Dégoûtant") and an opera about fruit ("Convoitise pour Ménage à Trois avec Trois Oranges"). Despite his constant innuendo, he suffered no anti-Semitism or homophobia because his titles were in an unreadable dead language. He thought that surely something as effeminate as a ballet of Romeo & Juliet would get some sort of reaction. He was wrong.
I like Stalin!
By this time Russia was in a terrible state, as many of its citizens were increasingly unhappy at being starved or killed by the Social Democrats. Seeing his time had come, Prokofiev returned to Russia, spleen venting all the way. The new conditions were very much to his liking, as now, no matter what he composed, he could be sure it would either be hated by audiences, or else it would make Stalin want to kill him.
But by now Prokofiev had mellowed with age, and thought it was time to show his sensitive side. In this vein he wrote his nostalgic "Winter Bonfire" suite, the educational children's piece "Peter and the Wolf", and his most popular work, "Hail to Stalin".
Around this time he also wrote music for a number of long, scratchy, practically unwatchable Russian films, including "Alexander Nevsky", "Ivan the Terrible", and "How Greased was my Tractor".
A series of heart attacks put Prokofiev into a despond, but he was cheered up by the opening of hostilities with Nazi Germany, which he celebrated by turning Russia's longest novel, "War and Peace", into Russia's longest opera, "War and Peace". He was surprised and a little annoyed when Stalin complained about the word "peace" in the title. Actually, he thought Stalin was onto something, but, thinking practically, he realized that putting on a long, horrible opera called "War" during a long horrible war might cause some confusion, and some concert goers might accidentally go to the actual war and have a comparatively good time.
Prokofiev's upbeat mood was cut short when the premiere of his 5th Symphony ("Popular") received rave reviews, which caused him to fall over and hurt his head. He continued composing, but his style had changed: it was now slightly slower. He was somewhat cheered by the arrest and exile of his wife, but this did not last, and in despair he wrote his most enjoyable symphony since his first, Symphony No. 7 ("Haydn").
Around this time, the unpopular dictator Stalin died. Prokofiev, in a fit of jealousy, died too, but the reviews were poor. He would have been thrilled.
- Case Report on the Reproduction Mechanisms of Three Oranges
- Angel Burning to Death
- Whore and Piss
- War and Peace (epic, forty-seven-act opera plagiarized from Leo Tolstoy, which Prokofiev was too lazy to come up with a different, less suspicious name for)
- The Son who is 'confused' and has to run away
- Romeo (who is waiting to meet the right girl) and Juliet
- Cinderella, and Her Sisters Who Are All Actually Men in Drag
- Shitty Suit for huge orchestra
- Scythian Suite - Orchestral hallucinations after fainting during a performance of "The Rite Of Spring"
- Lieutenant Kije - Yet another god-awful suite
- Symphony No. 1 in Hadyn Major "Pastiche"
- Symphony No. 2 "The Symphony which can actually kill people"
- Symphony Nos. 3-6 in God Knows What Key "All pretty much the same"
- Symphony No. 7 "Symphony No. 1"
- Symphony-Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (written for famed cellist and schizophrenic Mstislavinovinoffovich Rostropovichyfrance)
- Peter and the Wolf - Instructional piece about tormenting protected wildlife
The Prokofiev Society
Members include: Cinderella, Romeo, Juliet, Peter, a wolf, and a prodigal son.
|Drunk Russian Composers|
|Modest Mussorgsky | Sergei Prokofiev | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Dmitri Shostakovich | Igor Stravinsky | Pyotr Tchaikovsky|
|Horrible Modern Composers|
|Igor Stravinsky | Paul Hindemith | Sergei Prokofiev | Anton Webern | Arnold Schoenberg | Béla Bartók | John Cage | Charles Ives | Philip Glass | Steve Reich|