Prokofiev (1891 - 1953)

Symphony No.6 e-flat minor op.111 (41')

Sergei Prokofiev was undoubtedly one of the most important figures of the early twentieth century. He was a prolific composer, writing fourteen operas (including several unfinished works), nine ballets, at least seven symphonies, six piano concertos, two violin concertos, and other numerous orchestral pieces of various types. Many are popular and frequently performed today. They include Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, Cinderella, Op. 87, Lieutenant Kijé, and Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67. His symphonies and concertos are also regularly taken up by major symphony orchestras of the world. In addition, his piano sonatas – he wrote altogether more than eleven such works counting the unfinished ones – are increasingly becoming an essential part of the piano literature.

Symphony No. 6 premiered on October 11, 1947. The Symphony consists of only three movements. For each of the movements the composer had left us the following comments: “The first movement is agitated, at times lyrical, at times austere; the second movement, Largo, is brighter and more tuneful; the finale, rapid and in a major key, is close in character to my Fifth Symphony, save for reminiscences of the austere passages from the first movement.” Despite these words the overall character of the symphony is somber. It has been suggested that Prokofiev wanted to reflect the difficult and painful times his fellow citizens experienced during the Second World War.

[Akira Ishii]