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Topic: Hate Prokofiev?  (Read 4299 times)

mahavishnu

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Hate Prokofiev?
on: October 03, 2002, 02:11:58 AM
Ok group!  

I thought I'd heat things up a little bit.  I just (for the first time) listened to a complete set of Prokofiev's piano 'solo' music.  How does one listen to it?  It is so dissonant my ears hurt after listening..

I can't say I have had the opportunity to hear all of his piano concertos so I am discluding these from the discussion.  

I especially disliked his piano sonatas.  Would anyone attempt  to convince me otherwise or help me find Prokofiev 'anew'?  

Pat

Offline nilsjohan

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #1 on: October 03, 2002, 04:31:17 PM
Well, some of his Piano Sonatas are pretty dissonant, as for example number six. I think that Sonata is a great piece and the dissonant sounds are an important part of the strong expression. Prokofiev's intentions when composing it was ceratainly not the same as when Clayderman composed Ballade pour Adeline!
Does music always have to please your ears or reflect the light and nice sides of life? (Although the character doesn't usually rely on how dissonant it is.)

Also, a consonant chord as a major triad can have a so much stronger (or at least very different) expressive quality in itself than exactly the same chord in a Mozart Sonata, just because of the more dissonant context.

How did you listen to it? All in one sitting?! Recordings or a performance?
I am sure, if I had to listen to all of his piano music in one day, badly performed on a bad piano, my ears would also hurt.

Thoughtless and "earless" banging on a piano is of course never a good thing but if the music is very dissonant it can be really disturbing to listen to. Touch and voicing is maybe even more important in very dissonant music. Any thoughts about that?
Dissonances can also be beautiful if voiced well (but that's not always the piont, of course).

What did you think about for example the second Sonata? Is it really too dissonant? Doesn't it have some really beautiful parts with lovely melodic lines and lean harmonies balanced with some more (moderately) dissonant parts?
And how about the second Violin Sonata?

BTW, why not use the more positive words "rich" and "colorful" instead of the less immaginative "dissonant", (just to give you a more encouraging approach... :))

mahavishnu

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #2 on: October 03, 2002, 06:38:22 PM
:P Well it was a recording by Gyorgy Sandor (complete Prokofiev).  He is a superb pianist and it wasn't his playing that turned me off.  The only sonatas that I have 'leaned' towards is the first and second sonatas.   The other ones ....as 'colourful' as they may seem...I find it really hard for my ear to grasp them.   Perhaps, I am just an old romantic?   :P

I would like to listen to some more of his other music so that maybe I can get an appreciation for some of his works.  For me right now the early opus numbers are most appealing to me.  Perhaps, it is something I will grow into.  I will check out the violin sonata...

Pat

Offline nilsjohan

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #3 on: October 03, 2002, 07:57:06 PM
OK, it's certainly not Mr Sandor's fault you didn't like it!

Yes, it's probably a good idea so start with some of his earlier works. I must admit that the first time I heard the sixth Sonata I really disliked it too, probably by the same reasons as you! After playing some of his earlier music and hearing it again it was completely different.
I think that's quite typhical for those kind of works, they need to be listened to a few times over a period of time to be appreciated.

Maybe it's either not fair to the composer to listen to all of his music at once. I would get very bored if listening to all of Beethoven's piano music, especially if I had not heard it before. However, most of the pieces are real master works, but it doesn't help.

How do you think Prokofiev himself had reacted if he had the opportunity to hear all of his own music when he was young?

I look forward to hear what you think about the Violin Sonata! There is also a version (original, I think) for flute:-[ and piano.

But don't struggle to hard, it's nothing wrong with beeing "an old romantic"!

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #4 on: October 03, 2002, 09:48:06 PM
what else to say?

I wasn't quite comfortable with Prokofieff's piano music at first, too; I couldn't really cope with the dissonances that, at first, hit my ear a lil.
I should add that the same happened to me when listening to Schostakovitch, Hindemith etc. for the first time.

But things do change.
Since I personally prefer seeing and listening to someone playing the music flive which is rarely possible, I normally try to get the appropriate sheetmusic and reading through while listening to new pieces.
That was when Prokofieff got me. He uses such strong cords and partwirse unpredictable harmonic lines that I was impressed enough to start playing his piano music immediately; my alltime favourites are piano concerto Nr.2+3  and Sonata Nr.2.

Not to forget the violin sonata, which is an extremely pretty piece.

Nevertheless, you're right; starting with his early works and working through forward is a good idea; it'll make it easier for you to get into any composers music.

Besides - everyone would at some point dieslike a composer's music when listening to too much of it once at a time  ;)

Regards

Offline ned

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #5 on: October 03, 2002, 10:07:47 PM
Hi Prokofiev hater!

I first heard the Sixth Sonata played in a recital by Ashkenazy after Mozart K 311 and before the Chopin Etudes op 25.  Boston 1962. It worked well. I was really impressed and that started my interest in twentieth century music.

But I do hate the "Sarcasms."  A root canal without novocain!  I love his Second Sonata. In my opinion, the best. The others can get tiresome.

I feel that Prokofiev comes across better in small doses.  

Listen to the wonderful recording by Frederic Chiu of the piano version of Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet. Really beautiful. You may want to learn them.

If you really want to hear dissonance, listen to the Shostakovich First Sonata. Or don't, as you will.

Ned

mahavishnu

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #6 on: October 04, 2002, 12:24:32 AM
All right!

With all this enthusiasm over Prokofiev I gave him another try.  I dug up a cd my teacher lent me of Horowitz playing the sixth Sonata.  That was enough to convince me that Prokofiev wasn't all that bad.  

I didn't listen to it 'all' (all of his piano works) in one sitting.  Rather it was over one day.  I still hope to listen to to the Prokofiev concertos as I have a feeling that they may be approachable.  

I do appreciate your replies.  I guess I haven't really got into 20th century music yet.  Or at least i thought I did.  As I said..maybe it is 'growing' into them.  I am going to give a listen some more to the music.  Maybe in smaller doses though. :P lol

Pat

Offline Pianorak

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #7 on: October 04, 2002, 09:18:03 PM
<<Listen to the wonderful recording by Frederic Chiu of the piano version of Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet. >>

Hear, hear! Pure, unalloyed delight. And beautifully recorded! :D

Offline ludwig

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #8 on: October 05, 2002, 03:07:47 AM
Well, I must admit that at first I thought 20th century, especially serialists such as Berg and Webern seemed silly to me. Music was made very scientifically and mathematically by these composers but were not pleasing to the ears. However, there are more exotic sounds in 20thC music that I began to really like, an example of it is Prokofiev, Shostakovich etc... I found the "dissonances" resolved and prepared in an amusing way and began to "get used to" that sound. I am playing the Violin sonata by Prokofiev for several different people, I think its a great piece and I like playing it. I guess you don't have to like 20thC music, there are different tastes for different people, if you don't like it after you've given it a chance, then be it. But otherwise, it just takes a little getting use to.
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."▄▄▄

Offline martin_s

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?r
Reply #9 on: October 05, 2002, 09:47:26 PM
was that really Clayderman that composed Ballade pour Adeline??

Offline nilsjohan

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #10 on: October 05, 2002, 10:13:39 PM
Hmm... an important issue indeed!

This short note is from musicroom.com:
"Ballade Pour Adeline -
Romantic piano composition by Richard Clayderman, also the name of his debut album released in 1977."

However I think they are wrong because at the more trusted source, clayderman.co.uk, I found the following:

"Paul de Senneville is a very famous French composer and has worked with the top French artists such as Mireille Mathieu, Michel Polnareff, Dalida, Claude Franšois...  He composed Richard Clayderman's first success: "Ballade pour Adeline" (named after Paul's second daughter, Adeline).  Since then, by playing Paul's music, Richard Clayderman has become the French artist with the highest record sales in the world.  Actually, 100 millions albums have been sold in 57 different countries, representing 290 Gold records and 90 Platinums."

Sorry, I must have been sleeping during the music history classes...

mahavishnu

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #11 on: October 06, 2002, 05:44:04 AM
It's strange that I don't find his (Prokofiev) music appealing when I find Shostokovich very, very sastisfying.  Hmm..I love the trios and chamber music as well as his piano concertos.  Actually, the Shostokovich 2nd piano concerto is one of my favourites.  It is not characteristic of the 20th century style rather it is more romantic in style.  

I am going to go listen to the Prokofiev 3rd again (haven't heard it in forever) and see if my mind will be changed. :P

Pat

Offline Colette

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #12 on: October 07, 2002, 06:23:59 AM
you might want to listen to Martha Agerich's prokofiev sonatas. i've never heard a recording of the 7th sonata i've like more than her live performance of it. granted, it's extremely fast and a little erratic, but the rhythms are amazing, and she makes the piece accessible to any prokofiev hater....well, hopefully.

Offline Franz_Liszt

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #13 on: June 24, 2003, 02:43:03 AM
 Prokofiev is extremely chromatic and dissonant. You could barely convince a person that you are playing a learned piece by performing prokofiev.
If I miss a day of practice, I notice it
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  If I miss five days the public notices it
                                       -Franz Liszt

Offline Colette

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #14 on: June 24, 2003, 05:37:32 AM
what's wrong with chromaticism and dissonance? if those musical devices are used in a coherent, intelligent, ultimately musical fashion, they are, of course, legitimate and interesting. to say that prokofiev's compostions are not music is a silly assumption. people shouldn't make such broad judgements about modern music only because it doesn't always have an immediately noticeable melody or pattern. that's not always the point. the point of composing is to push forth the methods already learned and used and to introduce new ways of hearing music and thinking about music. if you listen closely to prokofiev's dissonances, they are not unpleasant to the ear nor are they meaningless. they are contextualized and complex, and like any good modern composition, they "work". prokofiev was actually more of a tonal, traditional composer despite his harmonic freedom, and his pieces are often lyrical and are closely tied to russian folk songs. i'd say listen widely and very carefully before denouncing prokofiev for his dissonances. and of course you could convince others as well as yourself that you are playing "learned" music when performing prokofiev.

Offline ned

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #15 on: June 24, 2003, 05:33:37 PM
Colette: Well said.  For my taste the Prokofiev 2d and 3d Piano Concertos are unsurpassed for beauty and excitement in the 20th century. Different of course from Rachmaninoff but every bit as solid. And he had loads of humor, which is refreshing.

I also would put his 2d piano sonata as the best, structurally speaking, since the great classicists, and a really exciting piece, with a beautiful slow movement.
Remember that Prokofiev's "favorite" composer was Haydn, according to Richter's statemet in that film.
Ned

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #16 on: June 26, 2003, 08:33:59 PM
I have not listened to all of Prokofeiv's piano music, but I do say that his 3rd concerto turned me toward modern music and I have been stuck ever since. My family hates it, but I can't get enough of it. I wish I could play Prokofeiv's 3rd one day.

BoliverAllmon

Offline eddie92099

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #17 on: August 03, 2003, 04:13:14 AM
Yes the 2nd Concerto is a great work - you must hear it! Argerich's 7th Sonata is electrifying though - I'm learning this piece at the moment so I know it quite well. How about listening to the 4th concerto? It is seldom mentioned but the second movement is extremely beautifull,
Ed

Offline la_carrenio2003

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #18 on: August 03, 2003, 07:50:30 AM
Try the Visions fugitives op. 22,mahavishnu, I'm sure you'll find something you'll like. The 4th and the 8th sonata -my beloved 20th century sonata for the moment- have sublime music.
"Soli Deo Gloria".
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Offline shoenberg3

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #19 on: September 20, 2003, 11:21:42 PM
I had practiced Prokofiev the third sonata for a competition. At first, I considered the dissonace and the unorthodox passages rather unagreeable.
However, after practicing for a month or so, I started to realize its profoundness. All the seemingly messy dissonance started to come together and made sense.
Then I realized Prokofiev's genius in his music.
Now, he is one of my favorite composer of all time
My tip: listen more to prokofiev than you might want, and you will someday recognize its beauty.

ps: I played this song on the winner's recital and the audience apparently loved it
Even though I was first place in junior category(I'm 14) it seemed as I got more applause than when the grand prize winner(The adult category) played.
generally working on:
Bach Toccata in g minor
Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto

Offline thracozaag

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Re: Hate Prokofiev?
Reply #20 on: September 21, 2003, 12:08:28 AM
Well, I must admit that at first I thought 20th century, especially serialists such as Berg and Webern seemed silly to me.

 Good lord.
"We have to reach a certain level before we realize how small we are."--Georges Cziffra
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