Symphony No 7 was the last completed work by Prokofiev and his
last public appearance. In 1957, following a petition by Shostakovich,
Prokofiev was posthumously awarded the Lenin prize for the Seventh
Symphony, the Lenin Prize was of course the highest award in the
The Communist Party anti-formalist decree of 1948 devastated the
Russian music and actually put some composers, including Prokofiev,
on the verge of survival. Facing the accusations of formalism and
cosmopolitanism composers were forced to write with a deliberate
simplicity trying to obey hard ideological schemes. Prokofiev did
not escape this either as one can see in his The Meeting of the
Volga and the Don Festive Poem, On Guard for Peace Oratorio and
Winter Bonfire Suite. However Symphony No 7 became "a work
of high perfection, deep feeling and great talent" (Shostakovich'
letter of October 12, 1952).
The main theme of the Symphony became one of Prokofiev's most moving
elegies. It is a strict and almost dotted music that reflects a
deep quiet sadness and memory of Russia. A side theme is kind of
Memory of the Sun (the title of a romance that Prokofiev wrote on
Akhmatova's poem; it should be mentioned that Prokofiev called himself
sunny). But here we find the sunset of the star.
In its original version the symphony ended with the theme of the
clock. The passing time was a more than evident metaphor of parting
with life and very much counter to official optimism of party ideology.
Prokofiev was forced to write another, more formal and "true"
version of the finale using "the young pioneer" theme
of the final movement. It goes without saying that nowadays the
Symphony is everywhere performed in its original version.
Prokofiev' waltzes for symphony orchestra visibly connect him to
the traditions of the Russian symphonic music, commencing from Glinka.
Prokofiev once observed when describing his impression of the waltz
from Myaskovsky 16th Symphony that "Glinka's smile is seen
It is very true of Prokofiev's Waltzes from the opera War and Peace
and from the ballet Cinderella.
Two Pushkin Waltzes constitute only a part of Prokofiev's extensive
musical heritage on the themes of the great Russian poet.
The musical images of Prokofiev's theatrical works were so bright
that gave an excellent chance to use them beyond the context of
the plays. The Love for Three Oranges Symphony suite is not an exception
to this. The March in its center has become one of the brightest
pieces of Prokofiev's music, its "Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary" to the XX century music.
Recorded by Vista Vera in 2003.
Sound engineer Vladimir Koptsov.
Total time 67.09
Cover: photo by Alexei Egorov