Hello Music Lovers Kerry Barnes here with a new edition of “Kerry’s Corner” 8th Edition, where I delve into the lives and works of the Great Composers. I know you’ll be reading this in 2021, so happy New Year to you all xxx
PROKOFIEV 1891 - 1953
This edition is all about Prokofiev!!
Now, I’m not gonna ramble on with this one because you really need to listen/watch the music at the end. Promise me you will.
Below, the great man himself!
Believe it or not, Prokofiev was and is, the most important man in my life!
Let me explain.
If it wasn’t for Prokofiev I could have ended up walking a very different path, than music.
When I was about 9 years old my primary school decided to put on a production of Prokofiev’s children’s masterpiece “Peter and the Wolf”…….mainly a musical story about a poor duck who got eaten alive!! ….(I’ve always felt slightly frightened of this work, and to this day, can’t work out if it has a happy ending or not!!.....ask the duck).
Anyhow, for some reason I got chosen to play the duck. I actually don’t remember much about it other than BEING COMPLETELY TRANSFIXED BY THE MUSIC... it had angular rhythms, ascerbic harmonies and unexpected modulations. I felt this music enter my body, send me to heaven and gently lower me back down again. I don’t remember the other children taking much notice of it really; I just thought there was something wrong with me. And so it was set, a love for Ukrainian classical arts.
Also known, was the fact that I would be involved in a musical existence of some kind, (incidentally, my mum stayed up all night sewing feathers to my costume…..forever grateful mum!).
“Peter and the Wolf” is a great way to introduce children (and adults) to the instruments of a symphony orchestra, as each character is assigned one. Peter the strings, Duck the oboe, Grandad the bassoon, The Birds the flute, the Cat the clarinet and the Hunters the drums. But Prokofiev set out to do much more than this. He was to take all children on an uncertain journey, feeling slightly apprehensive about things, not knowing what comes next. Surely the poor duck gets to live. In the story, Peter, the little boy is a bit of a mischief, grandad is always in a bit of a mood, the birds are incessantly noisy and skittish, the duck trembles with fear, the cat creeps about, the wolf who eats the duck is shrouded in a dark cloud, and finally the hunters stalking the very air we breathe. The story is in complete symbiosis with the fantastic music, beautifully orchestrated.
I won’t attempt to tell you the story, because you simply must listen to it!!!