St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Shostakovich. The Execution of Stepan Razin
Prokofiev. Alexander Nevsky

Yekaterina Sergeyeva (mezzo-soprano)
Andrei Serov (bass)

The Mariinsky Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Konstantin Rylov

Dmitry Shostakovich
The Execution of Stepan Razin, Op. 119

Sergei Prokofiev
Alexander Nevsky, cantata

The cantata Alexander Nevsky was composed on the basis of music for the eponymous film by Sergei Eisenstein which was released in 1938. The exceptional success that accompanied the film, comparable to that of Chapaev, allowed Prokofiev to create a work independent from the film music and take it to the stage of the concert hall, changing almost nothing in it apart from several details of the orchestration.
The “picture-like” and “visible” nature of the images is one of the typical features of Prokofiev’s music in general and of this work in particular. It is as if the audience “sees” what is happening onstage, even if behind the musical impressions there is no sense of watching a cinema film. In the structure of the cantata itself one can detect features of a symphonic poem in which the first movement is a prologue and the second and third are an exposition that embodies two opposing forces: that of the Russian heroes (represented by Alexander) and that of the Order of Livonian Knights. The fourth and fifth movements form a section in which the fifth movement – the battle scene on Lake Chudskoe – is the undoubted peak and central piece of the cantata as a whole. The sixth movement is an episode of lament for fallen warriors, the only solo section (for mezzo-soprano) in the entire work. And lastly there is the seventh movement – the finale, a reprise, the celebration and triumph of the Russian warriors who are victorious. Pavel Velikanov

Age category 6+

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