Prokofive's Symphony No. 5 Essay

Prokofive's Symphony No. 5 Essay

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Gestated on the heart of World War II, Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 is a representation of originality as well as pure expression, or in Prokofiev’s own words “a hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit.” This paper focuses on discussing the relevance of this symphonic work in regards of the contrasting events on its historical context, the connection with the personal life of the composer, and the combination of compositional devices used to create a tension and ambivalence throughout the work.
The compositional process of his Fifth Symphony came, as Prokofiev described, from a “pretty old” idea. He used sketched themes conceived two or three years prior to deciding their use in the symphony. “I set them down in my theme book and then put them aside. When the time came, I was ready to work very fast – I wrote the whole thing in a month, on a three-or four-line score. Then I stopped for a month or two and took the thing up again, and in another month I finished it,” says Prokofiev about the timing it took him to write such massive symphonic work. It seems like there is no place to doubt his remarkable brilliance and talent, as well as the indubitable confidence he must have had about the intention, impact, and goal that he wanted to achieve with the work. In the summer of 1944, Prokofiev had the chance to be very productive; he was kept safe at a haven run by the Soviet Union where time allowed him to complete his Eighth Piano Sonata, to compose some settings of his Twelve Russian Folk Songs, and to start “what was to be his most widely admired symphony – the Fifth.” The symphony was premiered on January 13th of 1945 and was Prokofiev’s last appearance as a conductor. Furthermore, two addition...


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...1997. Print.
Nissman, Barbara “The Many Faces of Prokofiev. Part 2.” The Sergei Prokofiev
Foundation (2001): 1. Accessed February 21, 2014. http://www.sprkfv.net/journal/three04/manyfaces2.html.
Prokofiev, Sergei. Symphony N. 5 in Bb Major, Op. 100. New York: E.F. Kalmus. 194-?.
Print.
Smith, Elwood L. “The Fifth Symphony of Sergei Prokofiev.” Master’s thesis, Eastman
School of Music, 1957. Accessed February 21, 2014. UR Research at The University of Rochester. PDF.
Sundram, Jason. “Program Notes: Symphony.” (2009) Accessed February 21, 2014.
http://jsundram.freeshell.org/ProgramNotes/Prokofiev_Symphony5.html.
Schwarz, Boris. Music and musical life in Soviet Russia, 1917-1970. University of
California: Barrie and Jenkinns. 1972. Print.
Whittall, Arnold. Musical composition in the twentieth century. New York: Oxford
University Press. 1999. Print.

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