Prokofiev, Sergei (1891-1953)
Born in 1891, Sergei Prokofiev, the child prodigy was already composing at the age of five, and by twenty had five operas in his catalogue. Settling in the United States for many years, he was recognized as an important concert pianist and composer before returning permanently to Russia in 1938.
It is correct to affirm that the communist regime did put a brake to his innovative creative work. In fact, Prokofiev's music is classical in its form and structure and innovative in its harmony and orchestration.
Quartet n° 1, opus 50 (1930)
His first Quartet, opus 50 is a commission from the Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation of Washington. Of classical form, it is very typical of Prokofiev's writing.
Motoric rhythms, thematic outbursts, tonal and chromatic harmonies and the richness of the melodies make of this quartet a work without pretentiousness and filled with emotion. The first movement is of sonata form but with three themes and is of a somber character despite its rhythmic vitality. After a slow introduction, the second movement presents a flamboyant scherzo with folk-like impulses that frame two lyrical trios with pressing accom-paniments. The quartet closes with a beautiful Andante that Prokofiev later transcribed for piano and which is known as his opus 52.
Olga Ranzenhofer and Jean Portugais