William Sterling

Serge Prokofiev

Prokofiev and Shostakovich

The course examined how two Russian composers came to terms with the constraints of living and working under the Soviet regime. Unlike their contemporaries, Rachmaninov and Stravinsky, both Prokofiev and Shostakovich found ways to express their artistic integrity within the strict confines of Soviet Russia. They were both censored at times but still produced some of the century’s most memorable music.

I ran this course at  Crayford Manor (Bexley College) January-March 2000.

Prokofiev – Child Prodigy to Stalinist Puppet

Prokofiev had the misfortune to die on the same day as Stalin so his death was kept quiet for three days so as not to interrupt the official mourning for the beloved leader. Much of Prokofiev’s life had been dominated by politics but works like Peter and the Wolf, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, the Classical Symphony, Lieutenant Kijé and the Love for Three Oranges transcend politics and remain ever popular.

I gave this talk to the DfE Music Society in August 2003 and the HSE European Society in February 2004.