1926, vol. 3: Prokofiev, Mosolov, Schoenberg, Toch

Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, like so many other great artists at the time, called Paris home in 1926.  The previous year had seen the premiere of his Second Symphony there under the baton of Koussevitzky, to an indifferent response from Parisian artistic circles. […] (Click here to continue reading a transcript of this podcast.)

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Shop for CD Recordings Recommended on This Episode:

Prokofiev, Le Pas d’Acier
Prokofiev, Le Pas d’Acier: Suite
Prokofiev, American Overture in B-flat op. 42
Mosolov, String Quartet no. 1
Mosolov, Two Nocturnes op. 15
Schoenberg, Drei Satiren für Gemischten Chor
Schoenberg, Septet Suite op. 29
Toch, Piano Concerto
Toch, Spiel for Wind Band

Listen Online to Music Featured on This Episode:

AYICM: 1926, vol. 3 — I. Prokofiev, Mosolov

AYICM: 1926, vol. 3 — II. Schoenberg, Toch

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2 Responses to 1926, vol. 3: Prokofiev, Mosolov, Schoenberg, Toch

  1. Comment by William Block made on November 28, 2011 at 3:23 am

    Brian – Really appreciate the music examples. You surely put in a lot of time on Podcast #3. Let me begin by quoting Garrison Keillor. “What artists need most is not freedom but discipline. The aim is not to outrage but to give courage and if possible, joy.” The Prokofiev works were some of the ones that earned him the epithet of “enfant terrible”. The way you described these works as “his experiment” sums it up. Fortunately his lasting fame was not earned during this year. His second and third piano concertos are GREAT, along with the second violin concerto. Interestingly, as serious composers of the early 20th century went off on their own tangents and experiments, this coincided with the rise of popular music which persisted in traditional tonality. The music of Schoenberg is nearly 100% cerebral and would appeal most to the cerebral listener. I am amazed at the abilities of the performers to execute these works. You gave a good and stimulating description of the works.

    • Brian Linnell Comment by Brian Linnell made on November 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      I think the argument against serialism and the radical Modernist experiments is a strong one — but the argument for them is strong as well. But very often the arguments on both sides are based not on the music but on the IDEA of the music, and that I think is a problem. Before there’s any conversation we ought first to actually listen to serialism and radical Modernism; and not listen just once or twice, but strive to develop an appreciation of these forms and styles with regular listening over a period of years. Of course it doesn’t have to be the ONLY thing we listen to during those years, but in Modernism as in any other kind of music we can only hear what we’ve learned to hear.

      In any event I don’t expect to solve this debate. Thanks for the comments William. I do believe I’ll devote a blog post to this.

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