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Sergei Prokofiev: Dove of peace, sounds of war

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Musical selections

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Sergei Prokofiev

From Some Reflections on Prokofiev’s Music
By Bruce Turlish

On Guard for Peace: This oratorio, based upon a text glorifying the ideal of peace in the world, is another example of first-rate Prokofiev. Again, the music sounds sincere, as if Prokofiev did genuinely believe in the ideals embodied in the work. In musical terms, this work is rich in melodic invention and compositional skill. Prokofiev’s use of a children’s chorus and boy soprano lends a great charm and poignancy, as in the sections “To Those Who are Ten Years Old,” “A Lesson in the Mother Tongue,” and “Dove of Peace.” The writing for adult chorus is extremely powerful, surpassing even “Alexander Nevsky” in terms of vigor and fertility of invention…It is possible that some listeners may be offended by the cheerful, perhaps fulsomely joyful tone of this work’s concluding sections, but I think Prokofiev can be forgiven for going overboard in this respect, given the positive intentions that the composition so obviously has. This work definitely deserves to be better known; be advised, however, that like much of Prokofiev’s output, it requires repeated hearings in order to gain a full appreciation of it.

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Symphony No. 2
End of Second Movement

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Symphony No. 3
Fourth Movement

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Symphony No. 5 (1944)
First Movement

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