Tone, Style, and Form in Prokofieff's Soviet Operas

Richard Taruskin

in On Russian Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249790
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942806 | DOI:
Tone, Style, and Form in Prokofieff's Soviet Operas

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This chapter examines the operatic techniques and their modifications of world-famous composer and pianist, Sergey Prokofieff. In dealing with his Soviet period it is easy to fall into an accusing tone, to speak of coercion and capitulation. But most of the modifications Prokofieff's Soviet style displays are implicit in his earlier work, and ultimately it is possible to recognize the underlying continuity that links all phases of Prokofieff's career. When contemplating a masterpiece such as War and Peace, it is possible to see the modifications as introducing a new versatility into Prokofieff's operatic technique and therefore as constituting a legitimate enrichment of what had been a rather one-sided approach to musical drama. It would seem that Prokofieff discovered that there are dramatic possibilities afforded by music which the spoken drama cannot match, and there lies the special virtue, the raison d'être, of opera.

Keywords: Sergey Prokofieff; raison d'être; Prokofieff's operatic technique; War and Peace

Chapter.  10550 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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